BOARDING PASS – Andrew Schapiro

I first met Andrew Schapiro 5 years ago when we were in an Advanced Typography continuing education class at MICA together. Our mutual love of design and travel made us destined to be friends. After Baltimore, Andrew went on to be a design fellow at Chronicle Books (a former dream of my own), and was later hired as a full-time designer. (He co-authored Designer’s Notebook, where I’m lucky enough to be mentioned in the acknowledgements). With lots of experience under his belt, this week marks the start of a new adventure for Andrew who will be starting his new job as senior designer for airbnb. Best of luck, Andrew! –Anne

Surveying the scene from my favorite Airbnb listing, the 100 year-old tugboat in Sausalito, California.

last trip taken:
I traveled to Belem, Brazil on a design research trip for Tomorrow Partners last month. Our client, Imazon, is a non-profit that works to put an end to deforestation. Though my week at Imazon was packed with interviews, I did find a few days to explore the city of Belem and nearby beach town of Salinas. Many of the Brazilian cities I visited in the past balance a glamorous facade with a seedy undertone. With hardly any tourist traffic, Belem is a city of two million people that comes across as a teenager that grew up too quickly for its own good.
I can’t resist photographing typography when I travel. This sign says, ‘Do not throw garbage here’ in an alley in Belem, Brazil.

next trip on deck:
I head to Palm Springs, California for Coachella music festival. It will be my first time traveling to a music festival, and I will be indulging in great music and classic Palm Springs leisure with a group of my closest friends. We’re staying at the rumored love nest of Sonny and Cher.
This fellow carries a heavy load around Cappadocia, Turkey.

one place you would go back to again and again:
Bermuda’s pink beaches and coconut ice cream are nostalgic for me.

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Barcelona. It encompasses old European sophistication, Gaudi’s whimsical architecture, and more modern energy around food and design.
Danny the Beetle trucked me and two British friends around South Africa for a week.

preferred method of transportation:
When I’m in a foreign country, I like to travel however the locals travel. In Capetown that meant shared minibuses and in southern Thailand, it meant wooden long-tail boats across the Malacca Strait. But to go long distances, I still find merit in air travel. The general lack of Internet access plus my Bose noise-cancelling headphones creates the perfect atmosphere for diving into a good book.
Cherry blossoms explode like fireworks in Kyoto, Japan.

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
When I was a little kid, I planned to take my grandmother to Madagascar for her 80th birthday. The trip never happened, but Madagascar is still at the top of my must-see list, if only for its crazy Baobab trees. I also hope to make it to Peru, Belize, Egypt, Bali and Morocco some time soon.
Mevlevi dervishes whirl in an 18th century performance hall in Istanbul.

place you’d never go back:
Turkey. Despite its incomparable relics, I had a few experiences that left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve seen the wonders Turkey has to offer but prefer to travel places where locals welcome me with open, honest arms.
Frying noodles at night in Jaipur, India.

most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
After I graduated from college, I cashed in all of my frequent flier miles for an around-the-world plane ticket. It simply doesn’t get any better than seven months of backpacking in developing countries.
Vero-o-peso market in Belem, Brazil, at the mouth of the Amazon River.

how do you prepare for a trip?
I usually pack the night before with whatever is on hand. But the logistics start well before then and my planning typically relies on some combination of personal knowledge, online resources, guidebooks (still in print form!), and recommendations. As much as I like to have things mapped out, I always leave room for spontaneity.
Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia. Watching this sheet of ice calve is mesmerizing.

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
In the past I’ve kept diaries. These days, I don’t record them as regularly.
Huts on the rugged South African coast near Coffee Bay.

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
I’m drawn to color and form: Juxtapositions of color, fields of color, bright colors, and compositions of form in particular.
Ever since designing The Doorbells of Florence for Chronicle Books, I’ve paid closer attention to doors while traveling. This knocker is in Cordoba, Spain.

on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
Anywhere from five to five hundred, depending on the length and purpose of the trip. I take fewer and fewer photos these days. I was so turned off by a couple of Russian tourists at the Taj Mahal, who didn’t see the monument but through their camera lenses, that I’ve resigned to experiencing things more than capturing them in megapixels.
At the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
That said, I do carry my camera with me almost always when traveling. I bought a Panasonic Lumix camera last year that fits stealthily into my pockets and takes excellent photos. I typically buy sketchbooks and pencils or pens in my destination to save weight in my bags, and I always look for the ones I couldn’t find back home.
Stacked sake barrels in Kyoto.

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
Hardly anything. I guess I view my travels as more personal and less something that I feel compelled to share with others. On occasion I sort through photos with friends but usually I keep things stored away for when I want to relive my travels.
Natural medicinal potions at Vero-o-peso market in Belem, Brazil.

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I tend to pick up things that catch my eye, that will last, and that are particular to that place. I’m an impulse buyer when I travel and yet I love to bargain. In the south of India, I negotiated the price of a stunning blanket down to nearly nothing, but the price still wasn’t as low as I thought I could get it. I walked away and returned to the dealer minutes later to find that the blanket had sold to someone else. It was a bit devastating but a great lesson to strike while the iron is hot.

Designer’s Notebook

BOARDING PASS is a weekly feature exploring the creative ways people travel.

1 Comment

  • Hello I live in Morocco right now and it is a place that is full of wonder I try to follow your example and try to travel the path less taken here. thank you for this blog and the pictures it help me take a little vacation everytime

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