Paid Leave Issue 01

Principles of Modern Travel: Vicki Fulop

Blogs, magazines, guidebooks. You may often refer to these sources for inspiration and advice, but the truth is, there’s no “correct” way to travel. From departure to arrival, there are countless things to see and do. To discover what you need most from these experiences, question your intentions and evaluate why you’re traveling in the first place: Who are you traveling with? Where are you traveling to? How are you getting from one place to the other? What will you do when you arrive at your destination?

The purpose of this series is to gather insight from the creative and curious who regularly embark on new adventures. We’ve collected their best stories to create a list of principles that can guide you on your journeys—interpret them, learn from them, and use them to define what modern travel means to you.

Meet our second Principal of Modern Travel: Vicki Fulop. While traveling in 2012, she and her husband, Rich, fell in love with a set of high-end sheets at a hotel. Unable to find anything comparable (or affordable) back home, they spent the next two years traveling the world—developing partnerships with manufacturers, learning to code, testing hundreds of sheet prototypes—to discover how to deliver luxury bedding at a more accessible cost. In 2014, they founded Brooklinen and the two have since expanded the New York–based business to include a broader range of designer homewares. Much like their products are rooted in high-quality minimalism, Vicki’s approach to travel is rooted in authenticity. With this in mind, we asked her to share how she finds meaning in every new journey, and how she uses these experiences to bring inspiration back home:

What do you love most about living in New York?

Everything. I love summer days at the Rockaways, wandering into new exhibits on a random Sunday, how festive everything looks and feels during the holidays, the fact that you are always discovering something (a new favorite shop, show, restaurant), the feeling that anything is possible. New York can be maddening, but it’s also the most lively city.

If you had one piece of advice for travelers, what would it be?

Bring an eye mask, light blanket, earplugs and a snack for every flight—no matter how short. That way, if your two-hour journey ends up being delayed (or you wind up being stuck on the tarmac while air traffic control does its thing), at least you’ll be warm and not hangry.

Principle #1: Make a contingency plan.

There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous, but the truth is, traveling can be unpredictable. By reminding yourself that there’s room for error, these unforeseen experiences can be just as rewarding as the ones that do go according to plan.

Do you have any money-saving travel tips?

Read The Points Guy and subscribe to newsletters that alert you when airfare prices drop. You should also try HotelTonight—it lets you book in advance, but if you wait until the last minute, you can get a significant discount at a luxury hotel.

photo by photo by Sylvie Tittel

How do you make the most of your time at the airport? What’s the key to staying productive on a layover?

I hate layovers. I talk about this with Rich a lot because he’d rather have a break over a long flight whereas I want to go straight through whenever possible. Take a walk, get a snack, read the news, check email (wifi on planes is iffy), splash your face with cold water, re-apply moisturizer, and before you know it, it’s time to board.

We created a Lojel Playlist specifically for these in-between travel moments. Listen now.

How do you balance work/personal time while on paid leave?

I schedule a specific time for myself to check email and to finish any work I need to do. It allows me to have time that is fully free of responsibilities, but also makes sure anything urgent gets taken care of.

Principle #2: Block time in your calendar for work.

Paid leave presents us with a unique opportunity to explore new cities. To ensure you’re not bogged down by responsibilities, set aside time for focused work—without distractions, you can quickly check things off your to-do list and get back to what matters most.

What can you not live without while traveling?

Google Maps.

photo by photo by Preston Pownell

What’s the best way to explore a new city?

I’m a huge fan of boat tours and “best of” walking tours. You get a lay of the land, see the famous touristy stuff, and learn a little bit about the place you’re visiting in context of its architecture, history, food, etc. And then you can hone in on what interests you the most for the rest of your time there.

What items do you collect on your journeys?

I rarely buy souvenirs, but I do like to check out the shopping districts and small independent designers in a new city. If I find something in one of their shops, I’ll pick it up—but it tends to be a happenstance type of thing.

Principle #3: Search for items that bring meaning to your life.

If you really want to remember a destination, explore arts districts and creative hubs to source one-of-a-kind items that enrich your journey—and your life back home.

photo by photo by Preston Pownell

What’s the best way to experience a city’s design culture?

Book an art history/architecture tour and check out the local exhibits that are happening while you’re in town (or just walk through the neighborhoods that are known for their art/design community). Or, if a Design Week event is in the city, go to the districts with activations.

How do you remain creative while traveling?

There’s no “remaining” creative. I think traveling inspires one’s most creative periods—you’re getting away from your everyday and taking in new sights, sounds, colors, cultures, perspectives, landscapes. New environments and experiences can open up the brain to creative thinking in a way few other things can.

photo by photo by Jason Briscoe

Traveling presents us with an opportunity to learn about ourselves, our destinations, and our journey to get there. What can we do better? How can we make our experiences more enriching? One way is to learn from each other. That’s why, every month, we’ll be talking with seasoned nomads, collecting their best travel tips and tricks—use these Principles of Modern Travel to guide you, wherever you go next.

Written by Kristin Ramsey