Did you really think I'd return from Peru and never post about the fabulous colors I saw there? That's just crazy. Below, find some of my favorite photos.[a blue door in Cusco; hikers climbing to Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail; a porter and native of the Inca Trail; "te amo" or "i love you" carved in a cactus on the Inca Trail; rugs hanging in Aguas Calientes; a colorful café in Aguas Calientes; teens walking home from school on a Friday in Cusco]
As I mentioned last week, I recently returned from an amazing trip to Peru.My favorite part of the trip was dusting off my Spanish. It has always been a love of mine, so practicing it in real-life situations was such a treat. And in only nine days, my Spanish improved significantly.And that got me thinking. Design is very much a language too, isn't it? It is a way of communicating information, and just like any spoken language, the best way to improve upon it is to practice it.We could study design in a classroom for years. We could know every designer, color and typeface out there. But it's the physical act of designing that is going to make us good. So take on real-life projects. Solve real-life problems. Practice design like a language. Speak it often.Do you think design is a language?
I just hiked the Inca Trail. Destination Machu Picchu. That's four days with no computer. For a designer, that's potentially more challenging than acclimating to the 13,800 foot altitude.And with all that time in the open air, with no distractions, I was certain I'd return to work with more ideas than I knew what to do with.Turns out, I came back with absolutely nothing.Nothing... but a clear head.But to me, this was even better. I'll be the first to admit that I have trouble putting away my computer. And my work. But the rejuvenation (and sanity) I returned with from Peru was incredible. It made me realize the power of unplugging. Escaping. Just being. Sometimes our minds need to zone out in order to zone in.Below are photos of some of us zoning out on the Inca Trail. Taking it all in. Appreciating life. Something I plan to do a lot more.I'll leave you with a quote I read back in May in an article called "Don't Fall Asleep at the Wheel: Successful Entrepreneurs Have Lives."
My advice, then, is to understand that your business will not die and fall off a cliff if you take a break. It is okay to spend [time with] people you love. Don’t feel guilty about hanging out with friends. “Balance” is determined by your work style and your needs outside of work; don't fall into the trap of working 80 hours a week—whether out of compulsion or fear of failure—and ignoring life.
(No, that cliff pun was not intended. And yes, I need to listen to this advice more than anyone.)So tell me, what do you do to refresh your mind?