Here comes the answers of frequently asked questions.
However you can shoot any question you may want to hear about if the answer is not below.
Road, is the longing of people who could not find a place for himself in sedentariness. Especially the greatest journeys has appeared as a result of the great depressions. We see this most of the time when we look at the greatest travelers of the history. I remembered this when I read a newspaper wrote “a man can commit suicide or try this” about me. It was true. My life was a disaster. I was unhappy with everything in my life. If I could be just a bit more happy this trip would never happened. Since I was at the bottom I was fearless. I said to myself, “what could go any worse than now?” So I took all the risks and put myself on the road for a 3 years world trip.
There was many things to look for when I first started this trip. I was searching for new business possibilities, new works, new women, new lessons, new tastes, a brand new life. Absolute freedom. But I never thought that I will find a new me. I think it was the biggest surprise of my world trip. I was another man before my trip. Road changed me a lot and I think I have lived more than many 60 years old in my 30.
Designer on the road became much bigger and effected than I thought. Traveling with no money by working design agencies was the greatest system for me to develop myself. Imagine that you won the lottery and you are traveling around the world. Your communication with people will automatically go down. You don’t need to talk with people when you have money. Staying in 5 stars hotels will give you similar experiences all around the world. In the other hand, I have to talk with people. I work with them, I eat where they eat, I go where they go, we travel together, we become friends and we create together. This was the best part of the story but also it was the reason why it was very challenging. Beside working in the agencies I had to post my blog in two languages every day. Managing social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram was another thing. I had to travel a lot and take pictures, record videos. Then edit them. Publish them everywhere. Upload videos to Youtube and Vimeo. Writing articles for two design magazines per month and answering some interviews all the time. It was hard but I loved it more than my ex life. Sometimes I was sick of recording things and taking pictures. Sometimes I just wanted to live the moment. Just look with my own eyes. Not with a camera lens.
More to that my system of traveling required to adapt a new system every month. Starting a brand new life every single time. In the beginning it was super exciting. Sounds very cool too. But later on it became my nightmare. New friends, new clients, new agency, new language, new currency, a new pillow and many things to adapt to. I restart my life every single time over and over again. It wanted to talk more deep, know people better, I was bored answering the same questions about my trip, Bored of similar conversations with girls. Learning about them over and over again. It was like a curse. Leaving everybody behind and move on. It was like being immortal and have to live on without your loved ones every time.
I never knew where I was going to stay or how much money they were going to pay me. Didn’t ask a lot of questions to companies. I went to everywhere every agency that just told me to come. So there were times I was sleeping in super luxury hotels and there were times that I was sleeping in the subway station. In some places I was a rock star. I was popular and famous. In some countries I was nobody. No one gave a shit about me. I have been loved and I have been left. I got death threat and also wedding proposal. My journey took me to the top of life and take me down back like a theme park machine. Again and again I was always at the edges of life. And it was a big exam for my psychology. Gave me solid rock nerves.
I learned trusting people everywhere I go. Sometimes bad things happened. I got sick many times. Poisoned, had gastric bleed, wallet stolen, shoes lost in a temple, my items stolen by an airway company, lost 2800 dollars saved money from the trips, living broke, staying hungry for 2 days and an agency who changed it’s mind and left me alone in Dubai with no money.
But my good times were bright as the summer sun as well. Designed a logo while skydiving, I was a real game character, I was on the cover of magazines, newspapers and talk shows worldwide, scuba dived in Bali, Paraglided night in Medellin, gave a talk in TEDx and 27 different universities or platforms, were chosen the best living man on earth by a magazine and many other things like these. Experiencing all the local exotic adventures and activities with amazing people around the world. rising our glasses and cheers to the world’s magic. Meeting with super talented people and create with them.
Road makes life extreme and full of surprises. Gives you new things in all cases. It is not your comfort zone. That’s why it’s so special. Because comfort is boring. It comes with monotony. It’s your everyday life. The more your days become similar, it becomes harder to remember them and they become more comfortable. Meanwhile being on the road is freedom, doing whatever you want, when every you want. No one knows your past on the road. It gives you clean white pages to write on…
But this is exactly why it is not possible to live like this all life long. It’s not healthy mentally and physically.
Making a world trip with design power was one of my dreams. I think I succeed it and now I have to focus on other ones as well to not to miss life.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a goodbye message. It’s just a modification on Designer on the road’s journey. There are still many trips to make for me. schools to talk, events to participate, a book to write, an exhibition to plan, a design studio to launch and many other crazy new stuff…
In the beginning, nobody believed me to make Designer on the road project 3 years ago. The things I need were all about myself. Courage, risk, portfolio and self will. Now I need other people co-operation, money and right people for the things. Now they are much more bigger harder and complicated. but everybody has a belief on me now. So it’s interesting to have this pressure for me. The problem is I always fly so high and sometimes I am not even sure what is actually possible or not. Hope everything goes well.
We will see what will future brings together. While I was writing these words, Designer on the road Facebook page reached 21.378 followers from 128 countries of the world. It’s way too much than I imagined. I would like to thank you to be a part of my trips. Supporting me with likes, comments, or messages. They gave me strength and joy depending on my mood and helped me to stay on the road. Thanks for sharing the beauty of the world and friendship with me. More awesomeness on the road and let’s keep in touch.
There are many of them and most of them are didn’t even recorded since they were daily life things but I can show you these examples.
Yes of course. My clients can be anywhere in the world. No matter how small or big they are I always enjoy working on different projects.
Well it depends on what it is. Most important thing is health. As long as I am healthy I can face with anything. I had almost every possible thing for now. This trip is not all about pure fun and discoveries. Sometimes it is very stressful, challenging and dangerous.
I met with Sudhir in Istanbul Design week. We became friends quickly. He is such a kind and nice person. Then we didn’t lost contact. In one of the usual work days in Istanbul I sent him an e-mail which tells the basic idea of a world trip with design power. Actually I had the idea more than a year in my head but I was thinking that it’s an impossible and childish thing. That’s why I didn’t shared it nobody till that day. Sudhir quickly replied my e-mail. I was feeling his excitement from his answer. He was telling me that how amazing this idea is and inviting me to his agency to start over. That gave me a big courage to start things. Because It was the first time I was telling this idea to somebody and he just invited me to his company. I quit my job right away and locked myself at home to create my blog, and make plans for the routes. However things didn’t go as easy as Sudhir. It was really hard to convince agencies and people with an empty blog. Just to launch first route I sent 1408 e-mails… Some of them were agencies some of them were magazines and newspapers. I tried to do my best. And you know what? If you really do your best, there is nothing you can’t achieve.
I think Indian design is still developing and growing. For now maybe we can’t say that it’s a leader or trend setter country about design. But what I discovered there is something more important. In my country most of the agencies filled with expensive furnitures to create a cool atmosphere. But surprisingly these agencies don’t want to show same attention when it comes to people. They try to hire inexperienced people to pay less, they try to keep people in the office and work all the time, they don’t care about the happiness or motivation of staff. All they care is to make more money all the time. What I see in India is the opposite of this situation. Indians know the agencies without people is just walls and furnitures. And furnitures don’t do the works done. People do. So they care about people, they try to keep them happy and satisfied. Furnitures and how the agency looks like is not much important in India. When I was there Sudhir rejected a very big project just because of the deadline is a bit short. For me it was not short at all. I’m coming from a country where we do big campaigns in two days. But I think Indians acting more professional in terms of this kind of situations.
Every country and company gives me different experiences and things to learn. Cultures, design, the way of living and everything you can imagine is always changing. That’s a bit challenging but it’s also what makes this project so special after all.
Travel and design. Living the dreams.
Why not? Sharing is happiness. It makes me happier than anything else. Meeting with all these awesome people and doing things together. That’s the best thing in this life if you ask me.
There are a lot! But the biggest one is my own personal development I guess. When I started this journey I started it to look for many things. I wanted to change almost everything. New jobs, new friends, new cities, new money, new languages even a new girlfriend and everything new. I found them all for sure but I wasn’t expected to find myself. I don’t know why but I didn’t think that I am gonna change a lot as well and be a new me. The things I cared are changed, my vision and the way I think changed. The way I express myself has changed as well. I also learned new ways to create, different ways to work and think. The biggest game changers are people about this. They cause a lot of life lessons. You know, some people are more interesting then others and there are more things to learn from them. They slap your spirit and develop you, force you to learn new things and they make you think a lot. I love them a lot.
Almost anything. Usually I work in advertising agencies. So I need to adapt culture fast to create advertising campaigns there. I blend in. I go out, be with local people, try to live with them. I go wherever they go. I eat whatever they eat. I learn the words they use, try to understand the jokes, trends, politic problems or interesting facts. I listen people in public transportation. It’s really important to focus and learn about the target group of my advertising campaign or design work. I need to know what they talk about, how they speak and what words they use…
I would like to watch it as a well done road trip movie. Why not?
1) People are the most important thing. I have been in wonderful places but I bored a lot in some of them. In the other hand there were times like I was in a shit hole with wonderful people. And those times were the best memories of my life. Nice buildings or beautiful cities doesn’t effect our daily life as much as people does. So nice people is the best gift for a happy life.
2) Time is very important. If it is not too late, I think you can do anything in this life. World trip is a common thing but people just don’t do it because they afraid of the risks. Common thing is saying: I will do it in the future or when I retire. Maybe they can but I am sure they can’t have any experience like I am having. When you are old you can’t travel that hard and do the most exciting things all around the world. When you are old, you feel sick, you don’t need new friends, you don’t want to taste new food, you don’t want to learn new things. You just want whatever you get used to. So time! It’s really important. Much more than money.
3) Traveling is the best education. But travel as a traveler not as a tourist. If you go to Vietnam and eat Mc Donald’s you are doing something wrong.
4) There is no perfect country or city in the planet. Every place has it’s own kind of problems or good points. That’s why.
5) I can design a logo while skydiving. (I did in Cape Town and you can watch the documentary video from my blog) Till now I always defend that designers need time to do good design. I always hated short deadlines and I always think good design comes in time. I still think the same but sometimes limited time can be your biggest inspiration as well. I had only 40 seconds to draw a sketch during free fall. Luckily I had 4 extra minutes when we open up the parachute.
Yes, some places offered me long term jobs and some of them were quite good deals for me. But first of all I wanted to complete what I started. Probably we will think about the offers after my world trip.
I disappointed when I was going to Dubai, people in the company changed their mind to work with me when I was on the road but I already bought my tickets. I had nobody in Dubai, no money, no house, no job, just one way ticket and a backpack. It was a bit hardcore to survive there.
Mostly bad stuff. I don’t know why but everywhere I go people teach me the bad ones first. Then how to say “hi” and “thank you”. Basic things and it helps a lot to make people smile when you talk a bit local language. So I love it and I tried learning some local words everywhere I go.
I don’t. Companies does. I ask them how long they need me and they tell me that. But I try not to stay more than 4 weeks. Well I stayed in India 3 months but it was an exception.
There are a lot! But the biggest one is my own personal development I guess. When I started this journey I started it to look for many things. I wanted to change almost everything. New jobs, new friends, a new darling, new cities, new money, new languages and everything new. I found them all for sure but I wasn’t expected to find my self. I don’t know why but I didn’t think that I am gonna change a lot as well and be a new me.
Some things are always the same and international. But there are always some differences depending on the culture as well. For example in Korea, the industry is so competitive and all the designers are working to death. Seriously, every year some designers die in South Korea because of overdose working. One of my friends hospitalized 3 times. Meanwhile we were unplugging the phones in one of the agencies after 17:00 pm to not get any more revisions or briefs from the clients.
It’s hard to decide that because every place has it’s cons and pros… But I would like to live longer in Chiang Mai / Thailand, Cape Town /South Africa, Bali / Indonesia and Medellin / Colombia.
Most of them welcome me well since they are the ones who are inviting me to work with them. I don’t force anybody. But you know, some do it more willing, some just pay the money and don’t spend any time with me.
Basically I ask for accommodation and weekly salary for living expenses. I don’t ask them about the price. Usually I don’t even know how much they will pay me. Sometimes they ask me when we talk online and I say I don’t know. Just think me like a local average designer because I am not looking for luxury. All I need is to survive in this trip. I want to prove that a designer can survive a world trip without doing anything else. Because I think design is important and good design needed all around the world. Society don’t give the right value for the designers because even designers don’t give the right value to themselves. So I wanted to show that what we are doing is actually valuable and everybody should know this.
The list is big but I only count the places where I lived and worked for a while, understand and blend in the culture.
There are: India, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Ukraine, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Romania, Germany, Croatia, Bosnai and Albania. Visited around 50 cities in these countries.
Before I start, I sent e-mails to design studios and advertising companies to tell them about my project. I asked to work with them for 3-4 weeks depending on their needs. For the first 6 companies I sent 1408 e-mails and then I opened a world map, signed the 6 of them which they accepted having me in their agencies. I drew lines between them and it was how I planned my first route. Then things happened and many other companies invited me as well.
Usually I don’t easily afraid of things. Everywhere I go I try to find and do must crazy and dangerous activities of every place on purpose. I do it to get revenge of my ex working life. And I think I already lived any possible dark moment of a traveler many times in many different countries. The worst is being sick of course. Because when you are healthy, you have the energy to deal with everything. But if you are seriously sick and if you hardly move your body, it can be a big problem in the other side of the world all alone.
After graduation from Design University I started to work in several big advertising agencies as an art director.
I had many. Being on the road makes you living on the edges. Good things are super bright and the bad ones are extremely dark. It doesn’t put you on a standard level since it’s not your own comfort zone like home. I can tell you top 10 things though.
1) Poisoning from street food of Ho Chi Minh city and had gastric bleeding. Big painful days. I was all alone and didn’t have much money. Big big trouble when you vomit blood all over.
2) Mind changing or miss understood agencies. It happened twice. They said we didn’t know that we are going to pay you or handle your accommodation. Sorry. So they let me down but we figured it out at one of them.
3) Had to sleep on streets or subways a couple of times.
4) I lost my action camera when surfing in Bali. I was sad because it was my own fault. Then I moved to beach, get back to my bike and I saw somebody broke the lock out of it and stole my wallet.
5) I was earning quite well in Latin America. I didn’t tried to save money at all but I had 2800 dollars extra with me at the end of the trip. However all the money stolen from me in Bogota airport. I figured it out when I arrived Sao Paulo. Went to police but they said we can’t do anything for something happened in Colombia. So it was like a cliche adventure movie that you found the treasure, fight with difficulties, at the end you manage the get out from there but the treasure stays there forever. I started with no money and I ended with no money again.
6) I missed two flights in different countries because of miss direction. One of them was because of an injection issue. They wanted to see my yellow fever certificate. I had it since I got the injection before the trip. But I lost it and they didn’t let me in to the plane.
7) In Sri Lanka they took me to drink after work of the first day I arrived. I didn’t know where I will stay and we were very drunk at the end of the night. They hired a tuk tuk (rickshaw) and told the driver the address I will stay. Driver said ok and hit the road. After sometime he stopped, turned back at me and asked the way. I said I don’t know! And we were lost in Colombo, with no local gsm card, no battery, no body to call, wasted and tired.
8) I got typhus virus in Bali and I had 40+ fever. Luckily I had Patricia there. A local angel took care of me and I was back in business in one week.
9) My shoes stolen when I was visiting a temple in India, Pune. Probably some kids took them and disappear when I was in the temple. I got out and there were no shoes. Nothing. I walked bare foot kilometers away in the monsoon rains of India. It was an interesting experience.
10) Once I was totally broke for 2-3 days and I didn’t ate anything till I got myself to the airplane. I was waiting for the in flight food service but no! They were actually selling the food there as well! A bad, very bad surprise.
Yes. Burcu Erbaş composed it. She was one my followers from the early stages of my trip. Later on we became friends and she wanted to make a song for my journey. I said why not! Later on she worked on it but the early editions of the song was like a radio commercial sounds like I am a chocolate or something and she was trying to sell me. It was normal since she is also working in advertising industry and she made more than 300 radio spots till now. So I briefed her better. We worked and talked about it. I said think it like Designer on the road is becoming a movie and you are working on the soundtrack of it. Then I disappeared again in central America. She send me the new demo of the song when I was in El Salvador and it was amazing! Then we entered to studio and make it happen! Hope you like it as well. Here it is with the special video I edited on the road.
Sure, here comes an article from my blog I wrote in Medellin – Colombia. I was in the middle of my trip when I wrote this. For sure I have many other places I really love. It’s really hard to pick one and say it’s the best. But this one as an example:
Hello, my name is Çağrı Çankaya. People call me as “Cha Cha the best” here. I’m 29 years old, Turkish designer trying to make a world trip with my design skills. I’m writing this from beautiful city named Medellin located in Colombia. I came here after working 21 companies located at 18 different cities of 15 different countries. I came here with no expectations. I had no much idea about Colombia and I didn’t want to search much before I arrive. Because that’s how I am and this is how I want to do this thing. I don’t want to learn the things about cities I am going to visit. I want to see and learn them when I am there, all by myself and with my new local friends. I want to throw myself to part of the world without any information and knowledge. Because I believe it will improve me much more by this way. I want to live my own experiences about each city. I don’t need touristic informations and I don’t care what tourists does. I am a traveller with my own system of traveling.
I was hearing one good and one bad thing about this place from everybody when I told them that I am going to be in Colombia:
1) Why you are going there? That place is dangerous.
2) Woww You are going to have a big fun!
And the second was the right one. It happened exactly like that. I had huge huge hugeeee fun here. I came here with many personal problems as well. But I forgot them all here. People of Medellin and the city helped me to cover my scars. They gave me so much love and kindness before I gave them anything. They took all the tiredness of being on the road from me. Now I feel like I am just starting to a new world trip. I feel fresh, full of love and energy. All because of these people. The people from Medellin. My friends. My co- workers. They did it only in two weeks. They were acting me like they know me for 20 years. Everybody I met here was like my best friend here. What a friendly city is that. I am really surprised that there are still cities like this in this planet. The only risk here is want to stay.
People often ask me about which country or city is the best place. There is no answer for that. I mean it depends on what you are looking for. What kind of life you would like to live? You prefer big cities or laid back easy living places? But there is one important thing.People matters everywhere. You can be in a very well looking beautiful city but if the people are not so nice. You are screwed. People make your day, not the buildings. The percent of beautiful architectures or buildings effecting your life is so few when you compare it with the people’s effect on your life. You can be in a shit hole place but if you are with the right people, you can live the best days of your life there. And people of Medellin is the right people. Believe me. The people here is the main thing which makes this city so special. If you remove all these people from here, it’s still a nice city though. Maybe not the most beautiful place so far but with the people it becomes one of the world’s most amazing places to live.
Forget about what you know about humans no matter what your age is. People of Medellin are different than the rest of the world. They are helpful, friendly and nice all the time. It looks like there is no anger here. No stress or bad talk. Everybody loves everybody without any reason here. And if you give them 5 love, they will pay you back as 15 love. It’s very interesting that you always get 3 times more than what you give.
You know that writing long articles for cities are not my thing. I am doing more like a visual work. There are many photos and videos but less text in my blog. But I had to write something for Medellin. This city and its people, helped me too much in every aspect.
Thank you Medellin, and all the people inside of you. Goodbye to all my Colombian friends. You raised my happiness standards too much. It will be harder to be happy because of you guys. I know I have a house in Medellin and you also never forget your house in Istanbul. Come to your house anytime you want. Just remember to send me an e-mail to check me if I am in the house.
I already did. Here is the video of it. And I also gave a talk in more than 30 Universities around the world. Most of them were art and design schools. Here is a video of my earlier presentations I did in Malaysia. It’s a keynote named “Do it now not later” 7 design schools in one week. I was talking every single day on stage. Later on I made a new presentation named “Abnormal” and keep traveling schools to give lectures. Now I made a final and the best version out of it named “I have things to tell” I am still visiting schools as long as they invite me no matter where they are located in the world.
One sunny, hot day in El Salvador… Under the perfect blue sky I was out from agency at the lunch time with my friend Roberto Dominguez (a.k.a Chino). We went to a local pizza restaurant. Not one of that American franchise. A much simple 100% local, cheaper but really tasty place. We ate our pizzas with pleasure. We were chatting while eating. After the lunch he asked me a question: “Dude, how long you gonna live like this? Forever? I think you should do it forever! This is a dream life!” And I answered: “I can’t do this forever man, it’s not easy… I don’t have an exact date to finish this but I have other dreams to achieve which needs a more stable lifestyle. Traveling the world with no money was just one thing, i have others… ” At that moment the bill came after the pizza and Roberto asked again: “What are your other dreams that so important to you?” Then I asked for a pen from the waiter and start writing them on the back of our bill. I didn’t know Roberto kept it. Last night he send me a picture of the bill and he told me that he is gonna keep it forever. How nice eh… And yes I read it once more, liked it again. I wish I can achieve all of them and have awesome lifetime. You can see the picture of it in my instagram: http://instagram.com/cagricankaya
Internet and social media changed the way we work and communicate. It made things much faster, easier and kept us mobile and free. Designer on the road could be much harder without internet but the core of my design travel is courage because smartness is a matter of courage. What holds people back is fear. Saying a lot of “what if“ and over thinking are enemy of our dreams. You should think things for sure to see risks and possibilities. I don’t say do everything without ponder. But it’s important to be intrepid. Get in action before you get tired of the idea or lose your faith by thinking it too much. If you combine faith and courage with a great idea, there is nothing you can’t overcome.
Because of world seen as a global village as the Marshall McLuhan said. We all know each other, we all see everything and it’s really hard to surprise us. There are many alternatives of everything and everybody. So it makes us worthless more than ever. We should see and understand the new world order, the rules of the game and play it that way.
Everything was wrong with my life. I didn’t enjoy the work I do, The salary wan’t enough to motivate. Had no relationship and couldn’t see my friends much, not even my family since they were living in another city. After some years living like a cyborg just by working too much and sleeping a bit I was depressed enough to take all the risks to achive my dream. A world trip just by doing design. It was the perfect time for a great escape. I wasn’t looking after my family, I had no debts, no mortgage. So I said: “it’s now or never”
There are good and bad people everywhere no matter which country you are traveling. It’s not about races, nationalities or religions. It’s about how you raised, your family and personal education. However I can suggest everybody to have a friend from Medellin, Colombia before they die. They are the best friends of this planet. Seriously. Give them 3 percent of love and they will come back to you with 30. Go to Medellin and make some friends. They will fix your brain and body with kindness and love without any expectations.
Generation Y known as the creativity. They ask a lot of questions. That’s why they are called as “why generation” and I am also one of them. My advice could be changing the question as “Why not?” At least this was what I did for myself.
Design things which makes you happy and proud. Don’t sell your soul to big companies just for paying bills. Find your own unique way to do design and have fun at the same time.
Whops! That’s a big answer though. Need to write a book to answer this. But I can say: To be ok with every situation life brings.
World is an amazing place to discover and life is worth living, we are the ones as human beings who makes it messy and stupid. It’s also incredible how we manage to do these with our lives. It’s pathetic and sad. It’s very hard to explain these stuff in this small space but travel my friend. Life is short, so better to live it.
It’s the biggest thing of my entire life I guess. Basically it’s the story of a designer who is trying to make a world trip just by his design skills. He has no credit card and no saving. So he works in companies where he can work as a designer or illustrator to survive during his trip. No dish washing or anything. Just designing and enjoying the world. You can visit the facebook page or blog: www.designerontheroad.com
I’m Çağrı Çankaya a designer and illustrator from Turkey. I design ideas, concepts and graphics for different projects in different backgrounds. Can be a game character, an advertising campaign, a commercial identity or a web project.