There is no right time. There is no left time either.
There are only time zones, but those we tame, one by one.
I was the first one to leave the owl's nest, 4 years ago, for what was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime sabbatical but eventually turned out to be only the first of a series of working remote annual sessions. Well what is all the fuss about this remote working trend you might (but shouldn't actually) ask? After over 500 days of doing it, I feel entitled to provide you with an accurate answer. Working remote is all about discovery.
Before leaving the obvious aside, yes, I discovered new air and brilliant lifestyles in exotic locations. Be it the Thai islands, the Balinese lush villages, the Cambodian ruins, the crazy Vietnamese cities or the dramatic Mexican coasts, they all left deep marks that time cannot erase and no one can ever take away. For longer or shorter periods of time my office has moved back and forth in between 3 continents, 8 islands, over a dozen of cities, a myriad of beaches and a few volcanos. And counting.
Quite worth it, to start with.
But there were other, less expected discoveries to be made.
First one is about innovation and communication. These are all about cultures and civilisation. Constantly adapting your eyes and mind to a new environment works wonders like nothing else. Being forced to live for a few weeks or months in the middle of a totally different culture, stimulates all of your interaction skills and challenges your communication know-how in the most natural and effective manner.
Then, its about good design. And this means both freedom and inspiration. And I can tell you now, that the mindset differences between the visionary Bangkok designers and the conservatives ones from nearby Saigon are somehow bigger than the ones in between the Khmer temples of Angkor and the Aztec ones of Theotihuacan.
Then its about great teamwork. Adapting to different time zones, embracing real qualities in new colleagues and accepting real flaws the old ones turned our team into what any team should be. A group of close friends that support each other despite time and space. We got our own personal feelings, ambitions and dreams as a common playground. And our clients and projects as a main goal and challenge.
The next big discovery is about how little you actually need in order to both work and be happy. And how much you need in order to live. I’m talking about:
- a good laptop (thats going to become your office, meeting room, entertainment zone and sometimes dinner table)
- a smartphone (a safety communication backup that becomes more useful with every day passing by)
- two credit cards (yes, it’s international language and yes, there is always a problem with one of them)
- a Kindle reader (that prevents you from leaving a trail of heavy books behind)
- a camera (for the illusion of capturing times and colors)
- your Moleskine (obviously!)
- a pair of flip-flops (for travel velocity)
- an ocean (for everything else that matters)
Looks more than enough, but trust me, my European brain sometimes thinks different.
Last but not least, the most important finding of them all: that a creation studio should...create, support and make all kinds of dreams and visions take shape. And nothing less.
This is why now, four years later, it is Lucian's turn to spread his wings. Living on an island, somewhere in SE Asia is not quite simple, for everything he ever learned to be true is about to be challenged. Taking care of the Asian branch of Argo that we have been working on for the past two years should be easier, since we already have the connections, a small but promising Asian client base and a big but true group of friends that don't share unimportant things such as nationality or language. They share vision. And that, my friend, actually matters more than anything.
So here we are now, 5 people separated only by 12 timezones and some 20.000 kilometers. That means, that at any given time, somewhere in the world at least one pair of owl eyes is wide open upon one of our ongoing pojects.
Lulu, of course I still remember the day you joined the nest, five years ago. And I will never forget it. All the great logos and all the great laughs, all those long hours and all those short nights, all the open eyes and all the closed fists, all your unsuccessful attempts to give up smoking and all my successful ones of reconverting you, all the parties and all the parties, all the presentations that thrilled and all the brilliant things that never got accepted, all the small victories and all the big defeats brought us to this point. And I would not change a thing, even if I could, for it is a glorious one and an amazing journey, still raging on.
So spread your wings my friend and keep those island sunsets wide for us! It is important.
Chok dee! ☺
Ioan Dan, senior creative
Isla Mujeres, Mexico, February 26th 2015