Boarding Pass – Lauren O’Neill

The more I run these Boarding Pass features, the smaller world it becomes. Designer Lauren O’Neill and I first crossed paths on Twitter, only to discover that one of my friends from high school was one of her professors in design school. Petit monde, non? Anyway, I love Lauren’s design work, so it only seemed natural to see how travel fits into it all. And now, thanks to this post, I can’t wait to check out the London Transport Museum next time I hop the chunnel. Thanks, Lauren!

{Lauren’s logo + Lauren in Florence}

last trip taken:
Boston, MA for a social entrepreneurship workshop at MIT.


next trip on deck:
Nicaragua & a weekend in NYC. Heading to Matagalpa, Nicaragua for product testing. We’ve been working on a project to bring low-cost surgical equipment to NGOs & organizations in underdeveloped countries. Think IKEA of healthcare—affordable + portable equipment. Lots of fun and super rewarding!

I also try to make it to New York a few times a year. I love seeing the latest at the museums, picnicking at the Park, and getting my fill of Veselka‘s challah french toast. Yum!

I’m dying to pursue a cross-country road trip, too, so maybe sometime in the summer!

{Victoria Street, Edinburgh}

{Waverly Station, Edinburgh}
{Atop Arthur’s Seat looking towards the castle | Edinburgh}

one place you would go back to again and again:
London. Living in Edinburgh for a semester, we traveled to London a time or two. Simply put, there is just so much to see + do, plus the design community there keeps you on your toes. I’d love to live + work there at some point in my life.

{Design Museum + Phone Booth – London}

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Florence. We had the most wonderful time traveling in Italy, but Florence was one of my favorite spots. Gorgeous art and architecture + friendly people and amazing food. (Please! The cappuccinos were to die for!) I highly recommend seeing the city by Vespa… A word of caution: watch out for those ZTL signs! Eighteen months later we were slammed with tickets totaling €400+ for driving in restricted zones!



preferred method of transportation:
Metro, when in the city. I have a thing for public transportation—the maps, the signage, the whole thing—I love comparing systems between cities and have started keeping a tally. If you happen to be in London, check out the Transport for London Museum, which provides a fun look into the Tube’s history + design.

Journeying from city-to-city across Europe + the UK, I love taking the train. It’s a great chance to see the countryside, sketch, and jot notes along the way.

{Tram: Dublin}

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
New Zealand + Australia. I love being on the water and eating great food. Australia has some of the best markets, and the people are genuinely laid-back and friendly.


place you’d never go back:
Sorrento. Too touristy and a bit one note; I feel like I saw everything on my first visit.

{National Print Museum, Dublin}

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Before studying abroad, my boyfriend and I had the chance to travel across Italy, France, and the UK for about a month—what a fun + memorable time! Wind in your hair, good friends, delicious food, new experiences, colorful eye candy, and moments (both good + disastrous) to laugh about.


how do you prepare for a trip?
Generally my boyfriend tackles the logistics of getting from to a place & where we’re going to stay. I focus on what to do. Depending on the destination, we’ll load up our phones/iPods with a Google map of ideal spots, apps for transportation + weather in locality + translation, and contact information + directions for hotels.

Good music is also essential. I have a close friend who always puts together the perfect playlists. Listening to those songs later always brings me back to that time + place.


how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I carry my sketchbook with me everywhere I go, ready to record any inspiring finds—interesting people, conversations, memories, or colors. While traveling, I enjoy taking photos and collecting ephemera—everything from maps, tickets, wrappers, and packaging.


what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
I love documenting signage, identity marks, road markings, plus any bold uses of color, interesting textures, and distinct architectural details.


on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
About 400 or so. Recently, I’ve gotten into film cameras, thanks to Kate Headley, and I look forward to traveling with those soon.

{5kg of Nutella – Naples}
{Paris: crepes}

what’s in your “designer travel kit”?
Hardbound, spiral sketchbook—I like being able to fold back the pages and also insert collected materials. I keep a few glassine envelopes handy for holding any ephemera. For jotting notes, ideas, & observations, a Uni-ball Vision Exact pen. In the way of cameras, a Canon Rebel XSi, my dad’s old 35 mm, and the newest addition—a Holga.
what do you do after a trip?
I usually send out film and archive my photos on Flickr + an external hard drive. I enjoy formatting my favorites for backgrounds or screen savers. In Florence, I shot some video and enjoyed editing that together as well. I’d love to blog a road trip, if I happen to go this summer.


how long after a trip does this happen?
After jet lag has subsided, and I get the travel bug again—about a week or two.

{Marks & Spencer colorful packaging, London}

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
Metro maps. I’ve started a little collection: Rome, Athens, Madrid, Boston, NYC, San Francisco, DC, and London so far! I also love bringing back favorite snacks. We’ve had a time tracking down Jaffa Cakes and Irn-Bru, but it’s an instant reminder of our good friends & good times in Edinburgh!


twitter: @laurenoneill


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