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Meet Marina, traveling UX designer

When I visited Marina’s Under Travel blog for the first time, I was amazed by beautiful pictures from her trips. Then I realized that she works as a UX designer and she immediately appeared on my list of people I want to interview for this blog.

Could you please introduce yourself?

I am a freelance UX designer, originally from Riga, Latvia, and currently in the process of moving to San Francisco. Me and my husband have been digital nomads for more than 5 years living, traveling and working in Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, California, Southeast Asia and South America.

Tailana island, Indonesia. Tailana island, Indonesia.

I work remotely from wherever I may be located and my clients are mostly startups and product companies that choose to make UX a priority. I also work on my side projects, one of which is Dgrees.

From where do you work now?

Currently I work from Vilnius, Lithuania. We rent an apartment in almost a hundred years old house in the old town of Vilnius.

It has the right ambience for work, no noises coming from the outside and I’m a short distance from all the hip spots in the old town. We use Airbnb quite often as well.

What is your favorite place you have visited during your trips?

We loved our one year in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia and Cambodia, and we thoroughly enjoyed our 10 months long adventures in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile this year.

Sunset at Palawan, Philippines Sunset at Palawan, Philippines Atacama desert, Chile Atacama desert, Chile Diving in Columbia Diving in Columbia

 

What kind of hardware do you use during your ‘digital nomads’ travels?

I use a Macbook and iPad, headphones, a Nikon 3100 ( + wide 18-55mm and portrait 35mm lenses), nothing much really.

How do you manage your communication and tasks?

Communication mostly happens via emails, but I also use TeuxDeux for my personal to-do list, Notism for getting feedback on mockups and tools like Kippt for research. Clients usually have their own project management tools which I use if needed. For user testing we sometimes use Solidify and UserTesting. For hiring temporary contractors we use oDesk.

I also use Toggl for time tracking and Invoiceto.me for invoices.

What are your favorite mobile apps?

I don’t use that many apps myself. Gmail, Twitter, Flipboard, Kindle, Skyscanner, Yummly. I download way more than that though, but only to have a look at the interface.

Which tools do you use for designing?

Mostly Omnigraffle and paper & pencil, depending on the client – sometimes Balsamiq as well.

Do you have some special hack you want to share?

When you travel, pick a remote place to visit – the place should be drastically different from your normal environment. For me this could mean close to the nature, really remote, basic facilities and very basic comfort. It’s best to choose a place where you’re kind of stuck and don’t have much choices in terms of what to do, where to go, what to eat, etc. Conditions such as “no electricity” make a lot of choices for you automatically. Examples of my brain unclogging getaways were: yoga & eco community farm in Ecuador, uninhibited island in Indonesia, mountain getaway in Colombia, four days trip down the Amazon river on a cargo boat.

Minca, Colombia Minca, Colombia

Make it mandatory for yourself to stay in there for at least 5 days no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may seem. First couple of days you’ll miss your normal environment, but then you’re likely to experience a change. Our brain gets tired and clogged from all the choices that usually surround us and all the tiny decisions we have to make every day. These endless choices pollute our thought process. Left with only a few choices to make your mind quiets down and gives space to more meaningful and more creative thoughts. Try it 😉

2 comments

  1. Tyler says:

    Pretty phenomenal- this is precisely what I’m looking to do. I’m currently looking into UX training programs; hoping to completely re-shift my life to just this – travel while working.May I ask: how were you able to deal with no Wi-Fi or electricity and still work in these remote locations…?

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