Travel The World With Herb Lester Associates

The absence of travel has been one of the hardest aspects of the last year for me. Between trade shows, other work travel and trips with the family I usually average about one trip a month. Gaining inspiration from other cities, shops and cultures is critical to my work. I also always get a renewed appreciation for my hometown of Columbus,OH whenever I am away, and my family on the rare occasion we aren’t traveling together. One of the perks of our business is that it’s relatively easy for us to bring our kids along on work trips.


Herb Lester Associates. They make, among other well designed ephemera, gorgeous city guides. Some of them are really specific, like the Small Shops Of Paris or Paris En Famille, while others are for a broader audience. They’re all beautiful and guaranteed to introduce you to some stops you might have overlooked. Or they’ll just look amazing in a frame or on your shelf and that’s okay too. 


Living in anticipation of a trip can be almost as great as the trip itself.  You’ll enjoy sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and one of these guides either reminiscing about the time you visited or planning ahead for when you will. 

Face it, if you’re heading somewhere new you’re going to look like a tourist either way. Why does everyone make such a thing about that? You know the prize you get for “not wanting to look like a tourist?” Being lost and missing out on cool stuff locals would have recommended otherwise. 

Embrace being a tourist but do it the right way. You don’t have to wear an “I’m not from here” cap or an “I am from here” costume. Pull out one of these great looking maps and use it to strike up a conversation with someone at a coffee shop. Let them write recommendations on it. It will transform it into an even better memento of the trip. 

I am optimistic the world will begin reopening soon and we’ll all once again be able to post those pictures of ourselves doing cool stuff around the country and world without the requisite “THIS WAS TAKEN BEFORE!” For now, I’m enjoying getting lost in daydreams of future trips and these maps and guides are a wonderful aide on those journeys. 


As an addendum I’d like to say, I know people have experienced immeasurable loss because of COVID. Any time a tragedy on a mass scale occurs, it’s in our nature to assess our impacts against others’ to decide if we have a right to be upset. This shows great empathy and compassion to others but very little to ourselves. 

We perpetuate this as a culture by passing judgements on whether or not another’s misfortune is worthy of pity on the grading curve of misery. We unnecessarily pit our troubles against one another as if who is worthy of compassion at any given time is a competition. 

I believe we can hold space for all of it. “I’ve got it bad but they’ve got it worse” can certainly be a mechanism to temporarily feel better about your problems but it too often prevents you from dealing with them. Instead we can acknowledge that our problems are different but they still impact our lives. If I lose my arm I can still acknowledge your pain in losing your finger. 

So much of what we’ve had to sacrifice over the past year is the mundane. It’s going to the grocery store on a whim and taking your time. It’s running into a friend on the sidewalk and giving them a hug. It’s the passing conversations at the office. It’s grabbing takeout and not being nervous about the line. It’s the mundane, not the big moments, that really define our lives. 

Any one of those singular events taken away is no great loss, but the dozens of those moments, that you maybe don’t even take stock of because they are so routine, that happen any given week on an ongoing basis are. You can and should be there for those around you that have lost loved ones or have had their lives turned upside down. But you can and should also be there for yourself without guilt or reservation even if you haven’t.



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