I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Both my lease and my internship were ending, I had a decision to make: find another place to stay in Houston, get my first “adult” job and starting using this extremely hard-earned degree? Or, go back “home” to Toronto, the place where I technically “grew up” and see if maybe a new environment would be beneficial?
By the end of June I still wasn’t sure what to do, so I stopped thinking about it. I really had to leave the apartment but had no place to put all my stuff, so I gave it all away, and took up a friend’s offer to crash on her couch until I had a better idea of what to do.
The almost month of sleeping on a friend's couch - seeing her work, maintain a personal life, juggle a million things and still find time to do things that were important to her - made me realize that I really didn’t want to start a job right away. Going through school was rough (didn’t sleep for 2 years while working 2 jobs rough) so a break sounded very appealing. If I didn’t know what I wanted to do, why should I rush myself to make a decision?
I packed whatever was left into Sylvester - my faithful car that I used to sleep in when I had no time to go home between school, schoolwork, a job and an internship - and started driving to Toronto. Instead of going there directly, it became an adventure; week of wandering through the US.
Ah, it was so nice. Time for myself, by myself. No worrying about obligations, what to wear, what to think, how to present myself. Just driving through amazing landscapes for 20 hours at a time, listening to music and letting myself dream fantastical dreams.
It seemed that summer was a pause for a lot of people. Friends back from school, or trying to decide what to study next, applying for jobs, all of us trying to figure out what to do with our lives. In the meanwhile, we spent almost every day together, enjoying the sunshine, slightly stressed, but feeling well enough in each other’s company to believe that things would figure themselves out. I have the fondest memories of this time. It was crucial, Summer ‘16, a time that we looked forward to our lives and felt supported by the idea that no matter what we do, things would work out. The sun would shine, we would get together in the park and laugh and things would be okay.
Rest of 2016 - April 2017
A lot of effort and energy spent trying to find some ground that I felt good standing on. So many interesting opportunities: photographer at a photo studio, designer at an architecture firm, designer at a makeup company, part of an exhibition.
And then, what appeared to be the “perfect” job appeared: A position as a designer at a marketing firm where rather than working from a studio, I would be working from the client's office. This would mean that I would go into the clients’ office, work closely with their marketing and tech team to design their app as well any other materials they needed. Monday-Thursday, 9-3 and the rest of the time I could work from home! Amazing!
The job was in Houston, so I went back to Houston.
April 2017 - July 2018
The situation was a good one: I had a beautiful studio apartment in downtown Houston, I was paid well, part of my job was remote, an overall good situation. Everything that I had thought I wanted when I graduated and “started my life”.
But then, I started thinking that this was would be my life for the next x-amount of years and that did not sit well. Tied to a schedule that dictated when I woke up, when I could take a lunch break and if I worked remotely, I had to make sure I was logged in during business hours.
I thought, if I need to log in and work specific times, what does it matter where I do it from? Wouldn’t it better for me as a person to expose myself to different environments, places, mentalities that will help me be a better “creative”? So, I pitched the idea to my boss and luckily, they agreed! We would do a test run, I would go to Toronto, work from there a little while and see how it went.
July 2018 - Now (August 2019)
Working from my parents kitchen (which has a view of a ravine!) I did the same work that I had been doing in Houston but now I was an hour ahead of Houston so I got an extra hour of sleep every morning!
Since the mini test was successful, I pitched the idea that I go even further, to Europe and work from there. Again (extremely lucky), it was approved! As long as the work they sent me got done, I logged in 9 am CT to check in for an update, I could work from anywhere.
A dream come true! My contract was terminated and I became a Nomadic Freelance Graphic Designer :)