Boarding Pass – Travels of Adam

Adam Groffman is an American graphic designer who decided to quit his job a few years ago to travel the world and hasn’t gone back. He charts his adventures on Travels of Adam and these days he’s made Berlin home. While so many people believe that travel is this perfectly planned thing, I loved Adam’s response to how he prepared for his around the world trip was packing his bag an hour before departure. He has a few other atypical answers which further proves while I love running this column and seeing how everyone sees the world in their own way. Thanks, Adam! –Anne

home town:
Grew up in Grapevine, Texas but lived in Boston for quite a few years, too.

where you live now:
Berlin! Germany!

last trip taken:
I’ve been based in Berlin for a while now—exploring all the hipster things to do in Berlin and actually haven’t traveled much. Though now that I’ve found my travel inspiration again, I’ve got a lot planned for the summer. Last month I took a weekend trip to Brighton—which was my first time in an English-speaking country in a while. Brighton was a lot of fun and it was nice to be by the seaside again!
next trip on deck:
I need more sun and sand in my life (even if Berlin has riverside “beaches”) so I’m headed to Catalunya, Spain! Plan to hang out on the beaches of Barcelona and San Sebastian for a while

one place you would go back to again and again:
Oh, it’s Spain…. I fall in love with Spain every time I visit which is a quite a bit, actually. I haven’t seen much in Europe and yet whenever I decide to take a trip, it’s usually back to Spain!

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
My adopted hometown of Boston. Most foreigners who visit America skip Boston for the bigger cities, but really, Boston is a pretty cool town. It’s small, yes, but it’s got a lot of character and history. And it’s also home to my favorite burrito in the whole world.

preferred method of transportation:
I may be a bit out of the norm with this one, but I love everything about air travel—airports, airplanes, even getting stuck at airports! Airports are some of the most interestingly designed buildings in the world (an oddity, for sure). And I love airplanes—sitting in a metal tube flying through the air, trapped and usually cramped. It’s such a strangely bizarre but amazing experience every time! Of course, it’s less fun when you get stuck somewhere or end up waiting for hours and hours, but after the fact, those are usually some of my most interesting and favorite travel stories.

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
Italy has been a country I’ve wanted to visit for a long, long time. I only recently went but it was such a short trip, I missed the cities I really want to see: Florence and Rome.

place you’d never go back:
Well, there aren’t many places I’d avoid but Agra, India – home to the Taj Mahal is somewhere I’d be quite content to never see again. Though the Taj Mahal is beautiful, Agra itself is frustrating and miserable.
most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
I quit my job and traveled around the world in 15.5 months: North Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. Changed my life and was the most important (and memorable) trip of my life.

how do you prepare for a trip?
Usually frantically! I packed my backpack for my round-the-world trip about an hour before my flight left!

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Moleskine notebook all the way!

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
Usually the ground. I like seeing how people’s feet hit the ground, or the patterns in the sidewalk. But I also love typography and try to spot interesting words or designs.

on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
It varies. Sometimes I’m in a mood and just want to “experience” the trip rather than capture it.

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
Moleskine pocket notebook, always have a pen or pencil in my pocket and a scrap of paper in my wallet (in case I need to jot down an idea). I’ve gone through too many cameras in the past year and never keep them long enough, but it’ll either be my phone or a point-and-shoot. My Canon G10 was destroyed in India a few years ago and I just haven’t bothered to replace it yet.

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I edit photos on occasion, but mostly everything just goes up on my blog in some way or fashion. I’ve started sketching more now, so hope to share some of those eventually!

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I love postcard flyers—the types you find in bars and clubs advertising various things around town. I may never go back to a city, but I’ll have a whole stack of ads of cool things to do there should I ever return!

travel sites:,
on flickr
twitter: @travelsofadam

Boarding Pass is a weekly column exploring the creative ways people travel.


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