How We Create On The Move

Tips for Mobile Creating: The Gear and Process  |  The Fresh Exchange

As you know we head out on Wednesday for a 20 day trip to Spain and Portugal. While we are headed out on this trip for many personal reasons, we also still have the doors of Wild Measure open with completing projects, working with contractors, and of course blogging here. This means that we will be fitting our studio into 2 Everlane Snap Backpacks and that is all we need to create every day. If you had told me this was possible 3 years ago I would have shook my head no way, but truly it is. After traveling for 8 weeks in Europe, spending a week in Cape Town, and countless other smaller trips across the US we have learned that to to create beautiful things you need very little.

We have received a ton of emails about how we run our studio, travel, and blog on the go. So we have decided to show you exactly what we will pack in order to create on the move. We then will be using only what we are showing here this post to blog at least 12-18 days of our trip, being available to clients, as well as building our own brand as we travel through Spain and Portugal. We hope this post gives you insight into our creative process as well as lets you know that mobile creativity is by NO means out of reach.

Tips for Mobile Creating: The Gear and Process  |  The Fresh Exchange

Within our bags you will find the following items and here is why:

1. Both of us – Everlane Backpack: We really love this bag. It is reasonably priced, fits a 15 inch MacBook Pro, and is not too bulky. It is perfect for trips like this. Plus, it doesn’t scream I have a laptop steal me.

2. Megan – Bose headphones: I don’t use inner ear headphones as they really start to bug me after a while, but overear headphones help me get in the zone, are comfortable, and block out the crying baby two rows back.

3. Both of us – iPad Mini: Okay, this is a big one… no pun intended. We use this for a lot of different travel things and we each have one. This is where we run the Wild Measure Instagram and when in desperate need we even create type and blogposts on it. We have one (mine) that is 3G so that when we are in another country instead of getting an international plan, we get a data card in that country, fill it with a few gigs of data (we can blow 50 gigs in 10 days btw) and use it as our personal hotspot aka our cell service. We are literally a roaming hotspot when we leave the sharing function on while wearing it on our backs. We are then free to wander the city, upload instagrams on the go, and never have to worry about internet. It is worth it. We also will use this to capture ideas using Evernote and emails as well if we are away from our computers.

4. Both of us – Wireless Mouserechargeable batteries: I hate using a track pad when I design so I won’t leave home without this little guy and my mousepad.

5. Megan – MacBook Air: I recently switched over to the air and I wouldn’t look back. I run the whole creative suite on here, have twice as many dropbox folders open than Mike, I use Lightroom on here, and I never have felt a lag. This is my must for mobile creation. It is so light, solid state, and you honestly can get work done on an airplane on this thing. It is the only way to travel as a creative. Oh, and did I mention battery life? I can roll with this thing without being charged for nearly 8 hours. Yeah, that’s a flight to Europe! Crazy town guys!

6. Mike – MacBook Pro: Since Mike does more video editing, photo editing, and so on we made sure at least one of us had the new retina Macbook Pro. Though it is heavier it is our work horse and one that has to be in our bags when we plan to work and create while traveling.

7. Both of Us- iPhone: This may be an obvious one, but this little guy is more than just how I keep in touch with people, it is one of my favorite places to create when we travel. Remember our trip to New Orleans and how we only used our iPhones? Yeah, since then I have been pretty in love with the power it has. I immediately turn off my data and only use like an iPod by just using it with wi-fi and it becomes the best thing ever. I also use it to act as my mobile scanner for type when we are on the move. I connect it to my dropbox and within seconds of taking the photo it shows up on my computer. Done and done.

8. Megan – Pens, Pencils, and Erasers: I get picky about what I use, but basically it is a Prismacolor Pen, Sharpie Pen, and simple classic mechanical pencils. It ain’t fancy or colorful just black, white and gray. I like it this way to do my type as I get to enjoy the form more than anything else.

9. Megan – Fuji X100s: We splurged on this one, but I have a feeling we will be glad we did from everyone’s glowing reviews. Easy to carry, looks hip, and in terms of day travel this baby will be much easier to carry than the Canon Mark III (that thing can weigh a ton after a while). The photo quality is pretty darn awesome for the size and price and you can also do some other pretty amazing features as well as via wi-fi upload photos directly to your phone as well if you have an Eye-Fi Mobi SD Card. This is a total must, if you haven’t heard of these cards google them.

10. Megan – Canson Sketchbooks: Don’t leave without one. I don’t use them for notes, that what evernote on my ipad is for. This is where I draw out phrases and ideas. I love these books and have gone through about 5 of them now in the last few years.

11. Mike – Via shotsHere is the truth, even in Europe they don’t have as good of a cup of coffee as you might think. It can also be difficult upon arrival to know where to get a solid cup of coffee even in the airport. Anything is better than airplane coffee right?! And with boiled water so available its pretty easy to make a cup anywhere. So we keep these handy to help us while on the go. I honestly don’t really like Starbucks coffee all that much, I’d take a cup of Stumptown or our local fav Counter Culture any day over a Starbucks, but these Via shots are honestly the best cup of coffee they make. It will be consistent every time and all you need is hot water.

12. Mike – Mophie Charger: We experienced our first crush on the Mophie charger in Cape Town with Aaron Marshall of Over. Ever since then we have been hooked. This little box will charge your devices at least 3 times and some will even charge your computer as well. This is a must to keep yourself mobile and going. I won’t travel without it now that we have one.

13. Mike – Canon Mark III with 50mm 1.2f Lens: Maybe it seems funny to bring along 2 cameras, but we are giving it a try it this time. We don’t plan to take it with us all the time, but we plan to have it when we want it. We have leaned on this guy for a while now to create the content here, so we have a hard time leaving him at home to not enjoy the wild ride we are about to set out on. We try to choose just one prime lens for travel. This time we felt the 50mm would be the best option, we will see how we feel in 3 weeks.

Having the gear though, is only half of the creating while on the go. The other half is the process. We maintain our studio through emailing, skype, and collaborative software such as Evernote and Google Docs. We try to spend a few hours a day checking in, but we also heavily prep our clients before leaving the country, so they know we will be a little slower than normal and also make sure that all immediate needs are met as well. Thus, why we are knee deep in finishing deadlines and emails.

But maintaining our business is not everything while we travel, a big portion of creating on the go has to do right here on The Fresh Exchange. Through trial-by-fire we have discovered a process of creating that is best for us. We thought before leaving we would let you know how we will be doing this for the next 20 days.

Tips for Mobile Creating: The Gear and Process  |  The Fresh Exchange

So if this is the gear we have, how do we actually stay up to blogging each day about our trips and experiences? We have a process which we developed while in Paris. This is what happens when you take creative challenges, you discover a method and rhythm to creating. It forces you to dive in head first to make it happen. This is basically what happens:

1. We enjoy our day and along the way capture it all. We don’t hold back, but just watch for beauty and experience and capture it.

2. Usually before dinner or late evening depending on the day we will come back and settle down for a few hours. During this time Mike uploads the images. I begin to write the post.

3. Mike edits and I create type based on what he is editing. Then he exports to Dropbox or a hard drive depending on the wifi situation.

4. Mike reads my post and I pull all the images together in Photoshop.

5. Once he is done editing, I will drop the images in.

6. We hit publish and share.

This process at first a little lengthy, but now on a good day we can hammer out a post in about 2 hours. With the late eating schedule and siestas in Spain and Portugal it should leave us plenty of time to blog and share our experiences.

If you have questions, comments, or other insight into how you create on the go please feel free to put it all below in the comments. We love hearing from each of you and have no problem letting you in to how our process works and why we choose certain items.

 

Leave a comment

  1. Love this post! My hubby & I are sort of constantly traveling– he is working as a traveling medical professional, so we’re usually in a new spot every 3-6 months and everything we live with has to fit into the back of our small SUV– so I’m always looking for great tips on how to work in a pared down situation. BTW, the numbers seem to have gotten a bit jumbled between the graphic & the list. I noticed it when I tried to go back to find info on the cameras. 😉

  2. I am interested in learning more about how you create your type. You may have already posted on this before.

    Do you hand draw it on a tablet or paper? And do you take a photo or scan it…when on the go..I am assuming you still have to take it into photoshop to layer with images?
    Your style is beautiful. Thanks for the great post.

  3. such a great snapshot into your essentials + process. I’d love to see a little more into your lettering process on the go!

    (one thing: the numbers in your post are off from the numbers in the photo)

  4. This is really awesome, thank you for sharing, it not only gave me ideas for traveling, but also for day to day creation and blogging!

  5. ok, as if your trip wasn’t dreamy enough, there are these bag and their contents! SWOON i’m currently saving for a macbook and am debating between the pro and the air – if you could choose one? also, that fuji + eye-fi… adding those to the wish list now too. gah! too many goodies to lust over in thie here post. have fun creating on the go!

    http://www.currenttempo.com

  6. I say it all depends on what you want to do. Do you want to be more mobile or do you want something to haul through a TON of work. The screen size on the air only goes to 13 inch so that can be a deterant factor for most people who do a lot of photo and video editing or even multi-page designing. I love my air and work on it more than I do my iMac now.

  7. Do you ever worry about whether you’ll lose or misplace your tech? Foreigners are such easy targets for theft that I felt weary about bringing my iPhone to Colombia. I ended up bringing a “dummy” phone (aka – my trusty old Nokia) so I wouldn’t have to think much about it but still have the ability to call in case of emergency. Sure enough, I left my phone somewhere in Cartagena and never saw it again. 🙁 I suppose it’s all about being mindful of where you put things and not attracting too much attention.

  8. This is so awesome, thank you for posting! I love getting a peek behind the curtain–it demystifies a process that can usually seem overwhelming. A mobile office is such a cool concept and it looks like you guys have it all wrapped up for efficiency. Enjoy the vacation!

  9. Loved this post! I’m about to visit Sydney for a few days and although I’m not planning on blogging while I’m there, I am planning on taking lots of photographs for content when I return. Most of these are things I would pack myself when travelling and running my business so it’s great to know I’m on the right track.

  10. Hey Megan! This is awesome, I’m absolutely not surprised that you can get that much work done with just those items! Maybe because that’s pretty much all I use as a college student, haha! Anyway, I, too, have been thinking about the Air when I update my computer later this year! Do you do a lot of web design work or just type work on yours? I thought moving to a 15 Pro might be better for the bigger screen ( since I do blog + web designs ), but now I’m not sure!

  11. I think it is 100% possible. I don’t do as much of our web design as Mike does, but I think the important thing is being able to test the design on every size screen. Especially with responsive design. I don’t like doing hardcore design work on the air I do that on my 27″ mac…but I always test the size differences and so on my 13 inch to make sure the breaks in the design are good. Does that make sense?

  12. Totally get it! We place insurance on everything through our business in case of this. We also have it all backed up on Dropbox and don’t keep anything personal on the hard drive. We also keep passwords on every device for security reasons. I think that depending on where you are traveling this can be a major concern. I know Columbia is pretty known for gun point theft so I don’t think that is a bad decision. What I do know is that it is important to invest in safe, lockable spaces for your gear. Then when you are on the street wear bags and things that are hard to open and take off of your person. I bought a leather bag in paris that a lady told me was one of the best kinds of bags to carry while traveling because it was a buckle latch with a zipper inside. ALl things to keep in mind for sure!

  13. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and just had a freak out moment when I realized I know Mike’s brother. What a small world it is. Ryan went to school with my husband. anyway, I’m a huge fan!

  14. What a lovely insight into your travels and creative processes. Inspiring stuff. Your travel essentials are like my wish list and I need to get a wifi camera card right now!
    Can’t wait to follow your travels, have a fab time. Clare x

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is such a detailed post and I really appreciate it. I’m about to go on an extended trip where I need to work and access the internet sometimes so this is uber helpful. I have a couple questions for you.

    #3 really intrigued me and I was wondering if you could share a little more about what data card you get and how you use it? I’m new to that concept so I don’t even know what the “sharing function” is.

    Also, do you guys every consider underwater pictures or gadgets that are protected for more rugged use? For example the life proof iPhone case.

    Do you upload your dslr photos to your device via the eye-fi on-the-go or do you do it back at your hotel?

    Again, THANK YOU for sharing how you work on-the-go. As more and more of us move towards mobile work lives this is going to be a great resource.

  16. I am sort of jealous that you work together so well and get to spend your days creating beautiful things together! I am inspired by your work and I think it must be an amazing life to spend so much time together and spending it doing something you are both equally passionate about. Your hard work and dedication definitely shows on both your blog and business.

    Thank you for sharing!

  17. Lovely post!

    I’m thinking about buying a Macbook Air, I have a Cinema Display so the screen size wouldn’t bother me when designing, but I’m afraid it won’t be powerful enough. You say you never felt a lag when running the Creative Suite/dropbox/.., so I’m wondering which configuration did you go with?

  18. Thanks for this, it’s nice to get some insight on how other bloggers tackle being away 🙂 I’m about to be away for a few weeks and my kit is even more streamlined – I won’t have a laptop on me and I’m actually hoping to be able to edit straight from my iPad (with Photoshop for iPad which takes care of basic editing from RAW files.. that I load up with a cable straight from my 5D Mark II) Great tip on the data card btw!

  19. Another wonderful and handy article for those constantly on the go. I always find it extremely difficult to manage my website while travelling, as I feel I can not enjoy my day AND blog about it. I always find that I stay up so late that I’m exhausted the next day. Maybe I should teach my partner/photographer how to use Photoshop? 😉

    http://www.lioninthewild.com

  20. I have the 256 GB I went with the highest model and don’t regret it considering I can run as much if not more on it than Mike who has a Macbook Pro 🙂

  21. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, great written and include almost all important infos.
    I would like to see extra posts like this .

  22. I love hearing about your process while on the go. so much of my travel is with 3 kids in tow which adds another layer of course. working on finding the right flow and balance. thank you for your tips! now i have to go check out the fuji!