Travel Calendars

behind the scenes, Digital Nomad, Fun, Real life, Travel, Uncategorized

I am a digital nomad. This means I travel alot. Before my very first big overseas, multi-destination trip, my parents asked me to make them a calendar they could use as the background on their tablet devices. As a graphic designer, this task is super easy. So I made some backgrounds in Illustrator. I figured they need to know city and flight/bus details. I thought I would throw in the visual reference of flags.


The desktop size of my laptop is much greater and I really liked these calendars as a way of knowing where I was now, and what was coming up. I used the additional widescreen area to put some key photos (found on Google) that inspired me about visiting these locations.


This year when going on another long-extended multi-destination trip, I did the same travel calendars for friends and family. I was super glad to have made it easy to work with as I went through adding the new flags and locations. This time the trip was a lot slower so there is lots of duplication. (I walked 500km on the Camino de Santiago).

desktop wallpaper travel holiday calendar infographic design by lakazdi freelance graphic designer specialising in books and documents

But at  the end of this trip, I had no home base to go back to and so many choices of my next adventure, I wasn’t sure how to express this. So I used fades and question marks.


The artboard in my Illustrator document has all the various goodies or elements to drag around as I need them. Super easy.

The desktop size of my laptop is much greater and I really liked these calendars as a way of knowing where I was now, and what was coming up. I used the additional widescreen area to put some key photos (found on Google) that inspired me about visiting these locations.

If you want something similar, contact me and we can discuss your specifics.

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It’s all Greek to me.


This is a very well known phrase now. I’m traveling in Greece and while I might not be able to read words spelt with math symbols, all the visual clues are there to help me make sense of the world around me. No spoken language or reading required.


Even though this has Φ (phi) in the name, since the word feta comes from Greek it is easy enough to read. The type of packaging gives it away as well as the photo of the product.


Even when it comes to instant coffee, the packaging and images gives it away instantly. It doesn’t matter that I can’t read the Greek. All the instant coffee containers have to keep the product dry and have room in the lid for a spoon to fit in. They are usually glass, and we can actually see the product to see how dark roasted and finely powdered this exact product is. However, in Greece they have something entirely different to this as their usual coffee they make at home.

Even at a coffee shop you might see italian words and think you know what you are buying and be wrong. The common in Greece Cappuccino Freddo is more of a direct translation from the Italian (coffee with milk, cold) than what we are used to in Australia.


Image source:


The milk, despite not being able to read anything was also easy to spot. This time it was product context. It was in a fridge at the supermarket. There are lots of similar looking bottles and tetra paks, where possible, you can see that the product is white and liquid. The packaging has Arabic numerals with 1% or 3.5% so if you know what these numbers mean in this context you know if it is full cream or light milk. The almond, soy and coconut milks, available in the same fridge, has pictures of the ingredients.


Now when box is not see through and nothing is recognisable… context. This package is cardboard. The opening is a semi-circle on the side of the package at the very top, spout like. It has sparkles and drops/bubbles/movement. It was found at the supermarket with laundry powder, liquids, bleach etc and was next to Tide a very famous and recognisable product. We have laundry powder.


Washing machines are very hard to deal with in a foreign language. I used Google translate to work out the text written for the settings. When the machine didn’t work, the product manual, also in Greek, was not helpful. But again, despite not reading the language it is fairly easy to get a washing machine to do what it needs to do.


While looking at toys, puzzles,  books and games (a few of my favourite things) I noticed most board games use the English name. Up Words however went for a Greek name. Familiarity with the game and this packaging helps me to know what this is and even guess what the name might translate to. I don’t think I’ll be able to play the game though, those Greek math symbols look too tricky to write words with.


My favourite instantly recognisable Greek alternative was the Mr Men books. It is always fun to see translated copies of wonderful books! And even though I’ve seen these translated into many languages, I’m always happy to see that they always look the same (same pictures, margins, fonts, spacing, size etc).

Time zones


I love worldtimebuddy for those moments when I need to quickly see where everyone is in the world — to help me prioritise which client work I will start on next. When someone has finished for the day and gone to sleep, I can start on that work a little later in my day. But when a client is a couple hours in front and about to finish there work day it is better to start with their work so it can be finished before their work day. In a couple more hours, someone else might wake up.



Visually moving pages


One of my favourite and simple InDesign tips or tricks involves visually moving pages around in a big document without the need to remember page numbers. I put a coloured box on the page I am moving. And a coloured box on the page before where I am re-positioning.


Then in the pages view, I can easily see the two pages and move them. Put the red boxed page after the green boxed page. Simple.

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Remove the two boxes on the page itself and I am done.

If you are moving a page to the start or the end of the document or if you can remember the page number, it is quicker to use the standard “Move Pages” dialogue box.

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Freelancing websites


There are so many options of places to go to in order to get freelancers these days. I have signed up to many of these in the past and browsed the many, many postings for experts at minimum wage. Not that my goal is to make hundreds of dollars per hour but I don’t want the world to think that professional graphic designers with decades of experience should have to work for only a few dollars per hour. So I leave before getting a single job.

The platforms that actually do have some good jobs for good clients had me working at minimum wage just to compete with the low end of the barrel. As I am a good, honest worker who loves, and is great at what I do, it didn’t take long to get all the accolades such as Top Rated on these platforms.

The downside with any business, having all your eggs in one basket is never good. What happens if your best client leaves? What happens when that great freelancing website collapses?

To try and mitigate any lose in work when the inevitable happens, I have decided to branch out and today I signed up to TopTal who are another player in this big pond. This website says they are different because they get the very top freelancers. It even has a screening process which does sound promising.