BOARDING PASS: Christine Herrin

boarding-pass-christineWhen I launched this blog 9 years ago, little did I know all the doors it would unlock, or who has been sitting quietly on the other side of the screen. Then last spring I received an email from Christine Herrin asking me to be her mentor when she was selected for this year’s Adobe Creative Residency (which may just be the coolest gig in town—one year to pursue the project of her dreams!). While lots of people love travel, there is a smaller handful who see it in unique, creative ways. Christine is one of those people, and through the residency is pulling together her skill as a designer, scrapbooker and handletterer, with the goal to make documenting cool again by developing her stamp line (they’re clear! you can see where you’re stamping!!) and creating her own travel kits (trust me, she’s thought about every detail). After a few year hiatus, I’m thrilled to resurrect Boarding Pass to share a glimpse of how Christine travels.

010I’m rarely in my own travel photos, but I knew I needed to get my picture taken beside my initials. This was a mural in Shoreditch in London.

Last trip taken:
San Diego, CA for Adobe MAX! It was the big event we had all been long preparing for, and a really important one for many reasons. I got a chance to show and talk about my work to a bigger audience (and gave my first conference talk in front of 450 people!) and hang out with my mentors and fellow Creative Residents. Then Anne and I hit the road and drove back to San Francisco swinging by Palm Springs, Salvation Mountain, and Santa Barbara. Before that I went to Seattle, WA — locked myself up in an Airbnb to get stuff done, and I have to say, it worked! (Now I need to go back to Seattle to explore…)

christineherrineverydayexplorersEveryday Explorers Journal Kit I designed as part of my Creative Residency project.

Next trip on deck:
Manila, Philippines, for the holidays. Looking forward to all the food that comes with Christmas gatherings, and finally getting to recharge. Also can’t wait to see family and friends. A big international trip with Adobe is being planned for early next year, but it’s still a big mystery whether I’m being sent to Berlin or Tokyo!

Get a peek inside Christine’s dream Creative Residency.

One place you would go back to again and again:
London. Definitely my favo(u)rite city. Some of my best friends from college currently live there, and have successfully talked me into visiting every year since 2011… and if I could, I’d make it a yearly tradition forever! (Or maybe move there someday…)
08London is my favorite city. I was in town for the Queen’s Jubilee a few years ago, and like a true fangirl, camped out along the Mall to see Prince William and Kate Middleton wave from the balcony!

Place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Seoul, Korea. A perfect mix of good food, efficient public transportation, hipster coffee shops, and all. the. stationery.

06The design scene in Seoul is amazing. 

Preferred method of transportation:
Train for sure, but I try to walk as much as I can. But then again, I get most of my best ideas on long-haul flights too.

Place you’ve never been but dying to go:

Dying to do a few weeks in Scandinavia — I’ve only been to Copenhagen, but would love to go to Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, etc.

012My favorite thing to look out for when traveling? Local paper shops!

Place you’d never go back:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I went a few years ago as part of a Asian backpacking trip with college friends and we were super underwhelmed. Then again it was probably because it felt so much like Manila that we got pretty bored easily. ;)

Most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Three weeks: Switzerland, London, Mediterranean cruise (Greece/Italy/Turkey), Rome, Mexico. One carry on bag with a coat + boots, a bathing suit, and a formal gown to boot. :)

03More design work inspired by travel.

How do you prepare for a trip?
Most of my obsessing comes in booking flights (always looking for the cheapest deal) and figuring out where to stay. Almost always leave packing to the night before (panic!) and light research before the trip. I usually like to figure things out when I get there, as long as I have a general idea where I am and what I’d like to see.

How do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
I collect everything and anything. Usually at the end of each day I try my best to write in bullet points some highlights or the activities for the day so I don’t forget for my scrapbooks. Usually the amount of iPhone photos I have is enough to remind me, though!

011Another rare photo of myself — sometimes I feel like I need to take these as proof that I was there. In this case, “there” was Snaefellsnes in Iceland.

What is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
I love street signs and well-designed advertisements. Sometimes shop fronts with good type is fun too.

02A set of travel cards for scrapbooking that I designed with prompts I use — because it’s not just about what you see and do, but what you eat, too! ;)

On an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
Ooh, too many to count. Maybe 300, I’d say.

What’s in your “designer travel kit”?
I bring my Instax camera but am usually too shy to whip it out and take photos in a quiet cafe (especially when I’m alone). A blank sketchbook/notebook for sure, always. My phone is my main camera.


An example of what goes into my travel scrapbooks.

What do you do after a trip? How long after a trip does this happen?
In the past I’d gather the stuff I’ve collected and put them into a Project Life album — probably a few months after. Lately haven’t had the time to really collect nor write anything down (cry!).

05Another peek at my scrapbook — this one was from a trip to Melbourne I saved mostly restaurant business cards and the empty shell of the local SIM card I got.

Favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
Local magazines and publications, smaller art pieces (prints, postcards) from local designers/illustrators. I do pick up a lot of random paper things along the way — ephemera like maps, brochures, postcards, tickets, postcards, and flyers. I see it as getting a taste of the local design scene (and I hoard paper, in general.)

07A few things I saved from my last trip to Seoul. A favorite piece was the small instruction card that came with my meal on the flight, explaining how to eat the traditional dish they were serving.

What inspired your Everyday Explorers journal?
I love collecting a lot of bits and pieces when I travel with grand plans of turning them into finished pieces and scrapbooks when I get home. Buuuut, we all know how it goes: you get home exhausted, and all the stuff you’ve collected ends up in a big ziplock bag that you can’t throw away. This kit was born out of my desire to document on the go and give myself a place to put all the bits and pieces, whether or not I end up creating something with it or not.

09Collected pieces from a day (!) around Paris = design inspiration.

I actually got the idea for a portable box during a trip to Paris to see Anne, as we observed how we both loved to collect paper pieces and just needed a place to organize and put them all. A lot of the prompts [see image #3 above] included in the journal kit are things I used to notice on my own travels, and having them all in one place will hopefully make documenting and reflecting much easier while you’re in the moment!

sqsCustom box design for the Everyday Explorers Journal Kit.

What was the first trip that really got you excited about traveling?
I remember getting the chance to tag along with my parents to a trip to Beijing when I was 15. History was already my favorite subject then (I ended up becoming a history major later) and I had just learned about the Forbidden City in class. I found myself standing in front of the actual Forbidden City (and its size blew my mind and was larger than I had ever imagined) close to tears and so excited to see more, more, more.

Elsewhere on the web

Boarding Pass is a series that explores the creative ways people see the world.


  • I laughed a little when I saw how many papers and pamplets Christine had acquired during ONE day in Paris. Can totally relate to that. My suitcase weight goes up on the way home from all the random maps & papers I bring back from trips!! x

    • Haha! We’ll she was only here for a day and a half, so we were on a mission! … I have a giant drawer of paper I’ve collected in Paris over the years for inspiration :)

  • Ahhh, a girl after my own heart!! Paper-lover here (hand raised). ;)

    Glad to see Boarding Pass making a come-back, Anne. Looking forward to reading more of these … now that I’m back to reading blogs, too. =)

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