Traveling immerses us in the world, but sometimes in the less eventful moments in between destinations, we just need to escape. “The Layover” is a weekly roundup of books, music, podcasts, and other forms of entertainment brought to you by your favorite world travelers.
This week, we reached out to Frankie Ratford, the Australian designer, adventurer, and powerhouse behind The Design Kids (TDK) — a global graphic design organization that helps university students and recent graduates bridge the gap between study and work. Today, she discusses the entertainment she turns to during travel’s quieter moments.
“The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss
This book is my Bible in life. Seriously — my friends tease me about how much I love Tim Ferriss. A lot of people read his book and take things the wrong way, but personally, I like what he has to say about lifestyle design, efficiency, and planning your life out. What fun! I was a graphic designer that hated screens, clients, and sitting still, so I redesigned my life to help other graphics designers get into the industry — all while road-tripping around the globe for six years, interviewing top designers in each city, running portfolio workshops, and giving lectures at universities. (You can check out my Instagram page if you want to learn more!) So, this book really speaks to me and has served as an inspiration for much of my own career.
“Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown
I read this book recently on a trip across Africa, but had hesitated before buying it at the airport, on my way to Botswana. I’d read Brown’s stuff before and had not been so keen because I felt like her Ted talk covered everything she was trying to say in the book. However, I think most travelers will understand what she means when she talks about belonging both everywhere and nowhere at once. It’s beautiful, and it made me feel fearless and confident about carving my own path in the world again. So good.
“The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer is a boss. In fact, she and Jen Sincero (see below) are my heroes. “The Art of Asking” is about stepping outside your comfort zone and hustling — hard. Amanda started her career as a street performer and ended up becoming the first person on Kickstarter to hit $1 million! In this book, she hits on a lot of important topics but the main one is: don’t wait around for things to happen — you have to go out there and be uncomfortable.
“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau
If you weren’t made to read this at school, read it now. After stressing about modern life, Thoreau goes to live in a cabin in the woods for two years, two months, and two days at Walden Pond. His beautiful, seven-page description of the lake changing color made me want to buy a house on the water, and I ended up buying my little shack a few years later in Tasmania. Now I even run design residencies down there! It’s funny how books have the power to influence our lives.
“You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero
If you’re traveling and your career needs a kick up the bum, Jen is your girl. I’ve read this book, and her badass money book, multiple times, and she never fails to inspire and motivate me. Read both this and Tim Ferriss’s book, and you’ll be a winner. Jen is one of the funniest writers out there, and if you want self-help mixed with swearing and comedy, look no further! I read each of these books about five years ago, and used them to help me navigate quitting my “real” job and refining my lifestyle, my job, my impact in the world, and how I live my life.
To learn more about Frankie’s work and to hear all about her six-year road trip across the world, click here.