Boarding Pass – Kate Lydon

There are people in the world that it seems like you’ve known forever, but haven’t ever met. Kate Lydon is one of those. I think our online communication and connection all started when I first contacted her about a “sneak peek” into her lovely home for Design*Sponge, and just grew from there. Kate keeps busy as a designer at IDEO (with a background in graphics and architecture – maybe we bond that way too), and is principal at Civil Twilight, a collective of wonderfully creative projects, and Saturate, her own card line – yet still has time to travel! I’ve been hearing about – rather than seeing – her travels, so I’m so excited to have this brand new BOARDING PASS to share with you today! Thanks, Kate!

{Kate in India}

home town:
Hard to say—my family lived around India for much of my childhood, and then settled in Berkeley by way of Washington, DC


current residence:
Oakland, CA


last trip taken:
Portugal. My boyfriend Anton and I spent a leisurely ramble in Lisbon with family and then road tripped through the Alentejo, which was magical.


next trip on deck:
Oaxaca! I’m excited, I’ve never been to Mexico.


one place you would go back to again and again:
I always love visiting my extended family in the Irish countryside—the area is beautiful and my family always has a ton of projects going on!


place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Japan. Tokyo and beyond… I think this is because I really want to explore more of Japan myself!


preferred method of transportation:
I love the train, for staring out the window and daydreaming and sketching. Also, walking. I like the pace of day-long wanders around cities—spotting beautifully-lit courtyards, looking at cool signage, peering into doorways. Anton is also an architect so of course we love just checking out buildings and urban fabric in different places. I had a professor, Paul Groth, at Berkeley, who taught walking tours about the cultural geography of areas—I always think of him while roaming around getting to know cities. I also love walking around forests.

{Eames House}

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
Angkor Wat, Cartagena.

{Jaipur, India}

place you’d never go back:
New Delhi. Just too much sensory overload for me all at once. It was overwhelming.

{Marvao, Portugal}

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
So hard to pick! I think I have a few—Portugal, since we just got back, is so fresh in my mind—we went from mountaintop castle town to mountaintop castle town—many times you could see one from the next—Castelo de Vide from Marvao, etc., and the Alentejo was full of beautiful fields of olive and cork trees. Ten years ago I hiked to Machu Pichu—it was my first long hiking trip, full of foggy jungles and beautiful snowy mountain views. Arriving at the city high up in the mountains was more amazing that I could have imagined. A surfari in Australia with friends was also pretty great.

{Alentejo, Portugal}

how do you prepare for a trip?
I look around online; I love the NYT travel section. I check Design*Sponge for city guides and shops and good neighborhood recommendations. We download Lonely Planet chapters to read on the plane.

{Merci – Paris}

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Photos and sketches. I like travel sketching because its helps me see things in a different way, and often, more carefully. And, it is fun to sketch in the beautiful sketchbooks that my mom makes for me. I also feel like there’s less pressure to sketch nicely, its more just quick notes.
what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
I can’t get enough of signage, piles of produce at markets, and peculiar building details. And random small vernacular bits here and there, like lunch tiffins and lunch baskets in India.


on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
I don’t know. A couple hundreds? Not thousands.

{Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen}

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
An old Canon digital camera that’s somewhere in between a point and shoot and an SLR, iPhone camera, beautiful sketchbooks my mom makes for me. Muji .38 black pens! Best pens ever for drawing; I stock up every single time I’m at Muji. A good travel bag that adds style to wearing the same travel clothes every day. Right now it’s a dotted Orla Kiely tote.

{Jaipur, India – Copenhagen}

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I add to my sketchbook if I haven’t kept it up well during the trip (often!), download photos and pull out the scraps and bits of ephemera that have made their way into my pockets and bags. Sift and throw away most of it and keep the rest and add them into my sketchbook.
favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
Packaging! Orange-wrapping papers from Spain. Labels in the perfect Deyrolle blue-green from Paris.


what was your most unexpectedly wonderful trip?

Anton and I went camping in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City—and I had no idea it would be so gorgeous—we hiked between mountain lakes large and small, interspersed with tiny wildflowers and waterfalls.


Find more from the archives of BOARDING PASS here, or listed on the column on the right!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *