Going personal with you

So my story... Well, it's a weird one 😃 Before 3 months ago I never thought about opening an Etsy shop or to sell stickers and printables for travel journals. The idea of digital travel journal is also new for me. But hey, it's even more fun in that way, isn't it?

In other posts I'll dig deeper into the whole concept of digital journals and notebooks, will share things I discovered for myself and what I love about it. In this post, however, I wanted to introduce myself and be personal with you, guys. So I'll start from the begging...

Me working :)

I never had any design or art education. The drawing classes were my favorite at school, but since my parents didn't see any rising art talents in me, they decided to put me at the music school. 😃 I struggled through 7 years of fortepiano, chorus and solfeggio classes and was extremely happy when I finished the music school.

When I was considered old enough to actually decide for myself, I choose the Manager of Tourism major at the university. The idea of traveling the world was always there, even if I din't realize it at the time. During my 5 years of learning how to organize tours, Further Mathematics (what's up with that btw? Who needs an advanced mathematics to be a manager of tourism?), I lost myself in the world of Photography and Photoshop instead. I also read and learned a lot about other countries and taught myself English through reading books (English is not my native language). But learning and reading about other countries wasn't enough, I wanted to actually visit those countries.

Of course, to travel, I needed to figure out how to earn money to do so. Starting from first years of uni, I had part-time jobs. The first serious summer job I had, was in the printing office. There, I learned how pro printers work and how to make mockups for print, etc. Before I got that job, I was already efficient in Photoshop and got into photo manipulations and photography. It was 11 years ago when I first started my "creative" journey.

I taught myself how to take photos professionally, learned Photoshop, bought my first Canon 450D camera (it was the last SLR camera model at that time). I was hooked up to that world immediately.

I've tried myself in corporate tourism world tho. Summer practice in tour firm was mandatory for my tourism major. But after a couple of weeks, it was absolutely clear that there is no way I fit in that world. I learned that even if you work in tourism, it doesn't mean you'll actually travel a lot 😃 I spent my days reading about hotels, their facilities and tour packages. It was not the dream come true.

So after uni I found the job in the design firm and worked as graphic designer for a while. It was much more interesting for me, but still, it seemed that I just couldn't fit in that 9 to 5 box. And, I still wanted to travel more than 4 weeks a year.

Then I started my freelance journey. With the help and support of my boyfriend at that time, husband now, I quit my job and began to work from home. First, as a photo retoucher. Because I already had some experience in that area, it was an obvious choice for me, plus I loved to manipulate photos. I also often organized my own creative photoshoots (with my brand new Canon Mark II camera).

Creative photo shoot I organized

I was looking for a challenge and started to learn 3d in Cinema 4d program. It was fun because I could create things from scratch. As I had no drawing skills 5 years ago, I loved 3d. I got into advertising field, where visuals I did was in demand. During that time, I had wonderful opportunities to work with ad agencies and commercial photographers. Me and my husband got to travel a lot at that time. It was amazing, I was closer to my goal, I was able to travel more than 4 weeks a year 😃

3d visual made in Cinema 4D and Phoroshop

The problem was, and who have done remote creative work for clients will understand me, not always constructive feedbacks and as result misunderstanding, stressful deadlines, and pressure. And then, of course, when traveling, you don't always have an opportunity to work needed hours. Either you simply have weak wifi, don't have comfortable table and chair (most common practice in hotels), or you are commuting. I felt stressed all the time and couldn't stop and simply enjoy the views and surroundings.

I also ached to draw, 5 years ago I fell in love with watercolors, with sketching, with the idea of creating art from scratch. In a couple of years, I became more confident in my drawing skills, so I found a couple of clients and created illustrations combined with 3d for them. But in my spare time, I loved to fill out my travel journal, create photo albums and document our adventures. I felt alive and relaxed when I did it.

Cyprus, 2016

The more I thought about it, the more I understood two things I absolutely love to do - travel and draw 😃 (I'm not a professional artist of course, and don't have any extraordinary drawing skills. I taught myself to draw from zero experience in it and trying to push myself every day to become better). That's how the idea of TravelJournalSticker shop was born. At the time of writing this post, it's my 10th month of full-time travel through South East Asia. It was a tremendous experience, I wouldn't trade for anything. I still worked with clients for 6 months during our travels, but somewhere in Bali, I decided that I want a full-time commitment to the things I loved to do. So I opened my first ever Etsy shop. For most people, it might be not a big deal, but for the person with no e-commerce background and basically no marketing skills it's huge. 😃

I learn so much during this journey. It's hard and it's challenging, but also satisfying at the same time. At the end of the day, I'm happy that I've made this decision and committed myself fully. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the things I need to do, but at the same time, it feels right, if you know what I mean.

So this is my life story so far 😃 Just wanted to give you some understanding of who I am and where I came from. In other posts, I'll talk more about digital travel journals and journals altogether. I'm hoping to inspire you to start your travel journal journey (even if you don't travel a lot, journal - is something you can use every day to be more organized and creative at the same time.)

2018 Bucket list

Thanks for reading this far 😃 I'd love to know more about you. Do you like to travel, what countries you've been to, what's on your bucket list, do you have a travel journal? Please reply in comments, ask questions or just say hi 😃

Talk to you soon,