Linda Dieschbourg shares about her journey of living as a digital nomad in business with her partner, Dave, kicking the corporate world for an inspired life on the road, and keeping creativity alive always!
My purpose in life is to thrive in creativity, to explore different versions of what happiness can mean and to give back and/or to have somebody to share this with. Luckily, I already have the perfect person to do this with: my husband, partner and soulmate David which I have known through 8 years of evolving together as human beings.
What is your Soul+Work?
David and I have a little baby called Kinlake (haha!). It is our creative business but also our journey as two united creative humans in constant evolution. It allows us to explore ourselves creatively, to ask ourselves questions and to tailor a lifestyle that is abundant with inspiration.
We are graphic designers who are specialized in brand styling, but we never wanted to have to fit our creativity in some sort of box. With this in mind, we are also very active in illustration, photography, videography and everything else that makes us curious and that our clients trust us to do. We love the people that we work with, as they are generally very-like minded and they are entrepreneurs, adventurers, creative minds just like us! That’s a huge part of our job which we love and that definitely fuels our creativity.
However, for us it’s also very important to also make time for our personal creative experiments. Our blog for example, is a place where we love to share personal creative endeavors: illustrations, unused photographs, compositions… But also thoughts, advice and content that like-minded people can connect to. Our blog and our activity on social media is like our voice. It has allowed us to connect with so many inspiring beings outside of our own network!
"Everybody around me voted against it, but I gave up my job after 3 months only and I survived. In fact, this really allowed me to finally turn my “side-hustle” into my business. "
Through that, our minds have opened up. We started asking ourselves questions. From exploring creativity, we expanded to exploring LIFE in general and thinking about how we want to live it. One of the things we realized these past months is that travel is a huge source of creative inspiration for us, and that we are the most creative when we absorbing the vibe of completely new environments. So we are transitioning into a more and more nomadic lifestyle. We are currently simplifying life, removing the clutter and embracing the joys of working and living remotely.
So we know you love the creative vibes, but more than that, why do you do what you do?
I guess I always wanted to do something creative with my life. It’s been in me since I was an introverted little kid who loved hiding under the kitchen table to draw. When I was a teenager, I was creating some very dark collages and I was in a complete trance while doing those, as they allowed me to express so many more things that I could even talk about. I thought I would end up a painter or a comic artist but then I found out about graphic design and decided to study that, as it would allow me a deeper understanding of how composition and aesthetics really work. Funnily, David was a graphic designer at the time and so he helped me tremendously during my school projects. Back then however we did NOT think of ever working together but when I think about it now, I’m pretty sure that it was the start of how our creative energies started fusioning together.
As I was finishing my studies, I started freelancing. This was a little unexpected as I had no specific idea of what I wanted to do, but one project led to another and there I was, being my own boss. But I wasn’t quite ready to embrace it. It did scare me, so I went ahead and looked for a job, a “legitimate” one as any old-school mind would say. I landed one at an advertising agency where I was just another graphic designer at the bottom of the chain, doing creative things that were not really creative - just plain executive. It was frustrating, especially after having tasted the joys of freelance life but I thought I would suck it in and stay there for at least a few months. So that I could go to a bank and claim my ultimate “prize to adulthood”: get a mortgage to buy a HOUSE with David. Because that’s what people do.
During this time, I had not given up on my projects as a freelancer and was doing them on the side. However, little by little, they started taking a lot of my time. So much that I had to really think about whether or not to quit my job and just be on my own again.
Everybody around me voted against it, but I gave up my job after 3 months only and I survived. In fact, this really allowed me to finally turn my “side-hustle” into my business. I started working with really lovely people who trusted me, who gave me huge responsibilities over their projects and who allowed me to make a living out of my creativity. None of my days were alike: one day I would be at home on my laptop designing someone’s logo and then another one I would be off drawing a massive illustration in someone’s living room.
During this time, David was still in his own job as a graphic designer in a small studio but he was getting a little fed up of it. He was looking for a way to get out and maybe find a new path in his life. The freelance life seemed like a intimidating possibility, but after I personally took the plunge, he was intrigued by it and decided to try it out himself.
"... our original creative hideout is located on the island of Crete, in the middle of nowhere. My family has a house that’s in the mountains which is truly a magical place. It’s THE place where we’ve actually realized many things in our lives... This is where we decided to live with less - that buying a huge house was not a necessary pursuit. This is where we were when we decided to try the freelance life. This is where we realized we could work from anywhere. …And this is where David proposed to me on top of a mountain in the middle of the night. Some places are magical, and if you don’t travel, you might miss that!"
However, this landed us in an awkward place. We suddenly found ourselves living together, doing exactly the same thing but separately and “each to their own”. This actually created a lot of tension between us. He had his clients, I had mine. He had his minimal style, I had my playful one. Our egos clashed and we became each other’s concurrence. Then one day we went to our accountant (as we had the same one) and he said: “well, why don’t you create a business together?”. That question was the start of everything. After thousands of other questions and frying our brains trying to figure it out, we decided to go for it. We gave up our fiery egos and our individuality to join forces and create a humbling fusion of our creative capacities. That’s when Kinlake was born, and it was the best decision that we have ever made.
Tell us about your work and your favorite moments working together.
The cool thing about our work is that it allows us to connect with people. These people are usually “our tribe” as they are also entrepreneurial and adventurous minds. People who decide to quit their longterm jobs and to live their adventure, or to provide something new for a community. It’s an honor to be asked to be a part of this, and to give a look to their dreams. There’s so much inspiration in all this. It doesn’t only allow us to be super creative with these kinds of projects but to also sustain awesome relationships. Those clients often become our friends. The best part is when our brainstorming sessions together often turn into brunches… and those formal emails get more and more casual, even silly - filled with funny gifs, smiley or cat videos in between all the business talk (hey, everybody needs a cat video once in a while) :)
Share with us an inspiring experience.
We love to travel to any place which drives our curiosity! We are currently in South East Asia (Chiang Mai, Thailand) living like true digital nomads, getting our work done from really lovely coffeeshops. It’s awesome! We highly recommend it.
"In order to make creativity a centerpiece of our lives, we realized we needed to put our lifestyle first."
However, our original creative hideout is located on the island of Crete, in the middle of nowhere. My family has a house that’s in the mountains which is truly a magical place. It’s THE place where we’ve actually realized many things in our lives at many different times we were there. And where we took some eye-opening decisions. This is where we decided to live with less - that buying a huge house was not a necessary pursuit. This is where we were when we decided to try the freelance life. This is where we realized we could work from anywhere. …And this is where David proposed to me on top of a mountain in the middle of the night. Some places are magical, and if you don’t travel, you might miss that!
What are your daily practices for mindful business and your daily practices for soulful living?
We question ourselves and embrace change. Being stuck or stagnating is something that we try to avoid as much as possible. It’s not because business works that we won’t try to keep doing things differently. And it’s not because life is comfortable that we won’t embrace our curiosity and try living a different lifestyle. Challenging yourself, at least once in a while is a very important thing for your self-growth. Taking the time to truly reflect on how your lifestyle feeds you and analyzing things is crucial, and it can help you evolve even faster as a human being.
We try to stay as true as possible to ourselves throughout anything we do, and when it comes to business, we are not in it for the money but for the love of it. If a potential project or a collaboration doesn’t seem appealing, we prefer not to take it at all rather than to pursue it for the financial security. Creativity thrives when you feel inspired by something, so we really try to define what this is for us and to do everything we can to get connected with the people that feel right to us. We also pay a lot of attention to feeding our creativity outside of client work and to make time for things that drive our curiosity and our wellbeing. In order to make creativity a centerpiece of our lives, we realized we needed to put our lifestyle first.
What helps you be a soul+worker?
One book that is like our bible: Essentialism by Greg Mc Keown ;)
When it comes to apps, tools & products we love - we are often sharing them on our blog, as we keep discovering new things (it’s pretty exciting). Check out this article we posted recently: http://kinlake.com/getting-shit-done-6-apps-online-tools-love/ :)
We might also do a little post about our favorite blogs, magazines and social accounts for inspiration, so make sure to keep an eye on our website!
What’s one thing you’ve learned recently that you think will help our readers in their entrepreneurial efforts?
Learning to think like an essentialist is one of the best skills that you can master. Yep, here I am, taking Essentialism as a reference again. This is an amazing book…seriously, there aren’t many that changed our lives as much - and no, we are not being paid to mention it (haha, sadly!). This “essentialist” way of thinking is exactly what has allowed us to finally ask ourselves the right questions, to define what is important, to take bold steps to live the lifestyle we’ve always dreamed about, to achieve the things we’ve always wanted to, while removing all the noise and all the bullshit. It teaches you to quit feeling overwhelmed and trying to do everything at the same time, to prioritize and to aim for wellness, which is something that goes completely against the glorification of “busy” and the obsession of “more”. Everybody should try the essentialist mindset, at least once in their lives. It really helps for just about anything in life!
Words to live by?
Thrive and be bold.
We even created an illustration freebie around this one: http://kinlake.com/illustration-freebie-thrive-bold/
or… in an even more complete sense that truly represents us: Create, Thrive and Be Bold :)
Linda Dieschbourg is a mediterranean wild spirit. People are her primary inspiration and shape her creative world. She likes to experiment with illustration, hand lettering, and custom-made ideas that don’t always involve a computer and is striving to create unique imagery. She’s in love with all things natural, real and meaningful. Half-Luxembourgish and half-greek, she swears by Cretan mountain tea from her homeland to keep her fueled during busy days, and is an avid fan of Wes Anderson movies.