Catching Up With the New Nomads

Creatives Talk Life On the Move

Live to work or work to live? With every work-related email fired off from the back of an Uber, the question gets harder to answer. A new tribe of creative workers is embracing the always-plugged-in lifestyle for the crucial reason that it gives them the freedom to work from anywhere. For these new nomads, travel isn’t just a perk; it’s practically a requirement. We asked a few particularly well-traveled creatives to tell us about their lifestyle: how and where they work, what they pack, and why it’s important to get out of town.

FIRST STEPS

Thomas Welch's luggage

Andre Saraiva [Artist/DJ]: I never really saw my trips like business trips. They are more like adventures.

Thomas Welch [Photographer/Editor, Highsnobiety]: My first real business trip was the coolest shit ever. Bangkok, Thailand. It was the furthest I had ever traveled up to that point. I basically didn’t sleep the entire trip due to jet lag (mostly extreme excitement). My best memory was taking 15 minutes to turn my camera off and chill out in a temple. Beautiful.

Joe La Puma [Director of Content Strategy, Complex Media]: One of the trips that stands out was the launch of the Jordan XX3 in Chicago. I was fairly new in my career, and two people from Complex couldn’t make the trip so I went. We had our own lockers in the Bulls locker room, they announced every journalist on the trip like they do before every home game, and at the end Michael Jordan ran out and greeted all of us. Pretty surreal. Still one of the best trips I’ve been on.

Mélodie Hadjadj [Digital Marketing Manager, Maison Kitsuné]: My first "overnight" trip would be my most memorable. I went to London with Kitsuné's A&R to meet a few partners. Needless to say that I overpacked, arrived with a carry-on suitcase when she only carried a backpack. Felt like a tourist rolling my suitcase around to our first right-off-the-train meetings. Not very “cool.”

FREQUENT FLIERS

L.A. as seen by Andre Saraiva

Joe La Puma

TW: I’m not sure I would identify as completely nomadic, but I’ve had months where it feels like it.

JLP: I’ve been lucky to travel with my friends thanks to Ronnie Fieg and Kith doing pop-up shops around the world. To experience Tokyo, Paris, and Brazil with some of your closest friends is something I’m really thankful for. I also host “Sneaker Shopping,” where I take celebrities to sneaker stores and have a conversation with them. It’s a very run-and-gun operation. If a celebrity has a couple hours on their promo tour, we fly to them and get the episode shot.

AS: I don’t know if it’s part of my working career – it’s more about being curious. I always liked different cultures, cities and places. I’m like a gypsy. I don’t belong to one place.

Aurore Leblanc [Digital Marketing Manager, Kenzo]: I travel with Kenzo following the brand's communication initiatives around the world. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the international influencers that we usually only get to see in Paris during fashion weeks, and to get to know better the brand's community abroad.

MH: Traveling makes you realize even more that you represent only a tiny portion of the people you are targeting when working for a global brand. You see how other cultures interact with brands, how they show love and engagement, and you can adapt your message.

BALANCE

JLP: People are lying to you if they say work trips are as busy as being in the office. It’s not possible. It’s tougher to work remotely, as I’m a big fan of walking around and discussing things with my team in the office, but generally on work trips you do get a bit more downtime.

MH: Most times you have to pack your days in order to make the most of it. So it's rarely chill. When you have time to grab a juice or sneak in a bit of shopping, it feels like Christmas. But in a way, it represents my generation. The work/play separation is more and more vague. You wake up and check your office emails, answer a few; then at work you check Facebook and your personal emails... and so on and so forth until bed.

TW: When I travel for a story or photoshoot, the number of tasks can be daunting. Balancing the story at hand with email, social media, and publishing becomes a challenge.

AL: It can sometimes be difficult to keep up with a tight schedule in a busy city you're not familiar with. One evening in Shanghai, as I was running super late for an event with no taxi available at the worst rush hour, I ended up getting a surprise ride on a stranger's motorcycle who drove me across town, wearing a party dress and no helmet, carrying a huge bag of samples. He was driving on sidewalks to avoid traffic and miraculously got me right on time. I would still be stuck in a cab if it weren't for this kind man.

GETTING IT DONE

MH: When I'm away, I work mostly from my iPhone. It's a lot easier to take notes on your phone in a coffee meeting than to pull out your big MacBook.

TW: For perspective, I’m answering these questions on my laptop in an Uber on the way home. Shoutout to mobile hotspots and Uber drivers with iPhone 6 cables.

JLP: I FaceTimed my social squad from the middle of the Grand Canal in Venice when I was in Italy a few months ago.

PACKING IT UP

 Thomas Welch's essentials

TW: I always overpack. At least half of my suitcase is still perfectly folded by the time I get back home. Having said that, my suitcase is always organized as fuck. Thanks mom.

AS: Two pairs of socks, one pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, one sweater, and that’s it. Plus a book and my passport.

AL: Pack a limited number of excellent pieces that make for unlimited options. All black, denim, white.

MH: It might sound obvious but I never fail to check the weather. There is nothing more annoying than not being at ease with the temperature.

JLP: My best packing secret is to buy a magazine from the newsstand in the airport and ask for the biggest bag possible. After you get it, fill it up with any stuff that you over-packed from your two carry-ons. The big plastic bag can low-key be a third bag.

FREEDOM

MH: Being free of movement is something I wouldn't trade for the world. Somebody said to me once that I was an "international citizen with Parisian standards," and I think it's pretty accurate.

AS: Every new city I've discovered, the first thing I did when I arrived was I used to spend the night getting lost and discovering the city at night. Walking around with my spray can and looking to the individuality of each city fed my imagination. The street signs, neons, the shape of a building, the billboards – they all find a place in one of my drawings or installations.

TW: Am I more creative because I travel? I don't think so. I think that's a trope many use when you could get wildly creative basically anywhere. I'm kind of amped up sitting backseat in a semi-decent Toyota. I do think traveling makes you a more interesting and open-minded person.

AL: It’s non-negotiable. I have been traveling a lot since a very young age and I will keep on exploring the world as much as my health, means, and time will allow.