The Maldives, Tai Chi, and Deep Sea Explorations
Google UXers share their dream digital escapes and the virtual treats they're bringing with them
Multidisciplinary Googlers share itineraries that take us around the world. UX Program Manager Esther Rosenberg scrolls real estate Twitter on the ocean floor, Creative Lead Errol King performs tai chi on Mount Kilimanjaro, and Senior Content Strategist Roxanne Pinto seeks creativity in the Maldives. Read on for their adventures.
Esther Rosenberg UX Program Manager
Choose your destination. Where would you like to go? On a deep sea exhibition to explore the depths of our majestic and mysterious ocean. It’s a totally different universe down there, but it’s also the life force of our incredible planet, and there is so much to learn and discover by exploring Earth's hydrosphere. I’d go via a deep-submergence vehicle.
You need to plan your trip. Where do you start? I’d Google it! I’d surf the internet and see where my search takes me—and because I’m a producer at heart, I’d probably put together some gigantic trix [spreadsheet] with lots of tabs and links to map out every tiny detail from end to end.
You can take one person with you. Who do you choose and why? I’d bring oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Alice Earle, as my world-class tour guide. She’s a National Geographic explorer-in-residence and the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She’d make for great company while helping me make sense of uncharted territories.
What piece of the internet do you love so much you couldn't leave it behind? While we navigate any patches of complete darkness, I’d quickly check in with @everylotnyc—a Twitter account that posts a new New York City property address every 20 minutes—to remind me of home.
You take a shortcut but encounter a problem on your way. How do you get out of it? Start with the 4-7-8 breathing technique—breathe in for four seconds, hold it for seven, then exhale for eight—to stay calm and collected. Then I’d refer back to my contingency plan (found in my mega trix) and collaborate with my exploration partner and new friend, Sylvia.
Errol King Creative Lead, Creative Lab
Choose your destination. Where would you like to go? I’ve always wanted to go to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It has immense natural beauty, and a range of microclimates and ecosystems.
You need to plan your trip. Where do you start? It all begins with a rabbit hole. My tools are a combination of Google Docs, Googling, and YouTube to gather inspiration, concepts, and—most importantly—questions. Through the research, I’d let my imagination run wild, and maybe make a phone call or two.
You can take one person with you. Who do you choose and why? My wife. She often sees what I don’t, and vice versa. Sometimes our beliefs are fundamentally orthogonal to each other; however, there's always trust and magic that allows us to make awesome stuff together. I now see that our differences are our greatest asset.
What piece of the internet do you love so much you couldn't leave it behind? In the early morning, I like to listen to author and counter-culture icon Alan Watts on YouTube—with one earbud in. It gets me ready for the day.
You take a shortcut but encounter a problem on your way. How do you get out of it? I have to first own and understand my role in relation to the problem and embrace the problem itself. What do the sources of the problem naturally want to do? What actions are possible, and what are their implications? I’d go for a walk, talk it out, get aligned, and take action.
You pause for a rest. How do you spend your downtime? I’ll perform some tai chi on the side of the mountain. In between (and during) hikes, I’ll photograph and try to identify local animals and plants. My goal is to find the connections between them all; nature is the greatest UX designer we know.
Finally, you arrive. What’s next? A barbecue with a small circle of friends and loved ones. And since this is hypothetical—with no social distancing involved.
Roxanne Pinto Senior Content Strategist, Google AI Strategy & Research
Choose your destination. Where would you like to go? I've always wanted to go to South Asia. I love the color of the three-feet-deep water, which I’ve found at beaches in Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Miami, the Bahamas, Greece—so the Maldives is next!
You need to plan your trip. Where do you start? I actually worked on the UX team for google.com/travel, so I would start there. I’d research flights, places to stay, and things to do, as well as save itineraries, and explore what the islands are known for.
You can take one person with you. Who do you choose and why? I would bring my partner with me. He's incredibly level-headed, and a really thorough and thoughtful investigator. He's also tall, and I am not, so it will be nice to have an extra set of eyes with a different vantage point. A different perspective both physically and mentally is super valuable!
What piece of the internet do you love so much you couldn't leave it behind? I absolutely adore the Tumblr (and book!) Animals Talking In All Caps by Justin Valmassoi. I once wrote him an email, basically saying: "You're great, this is great, never stop." He actually replied, which might have been the high point of my interactions on the internet.
You take a shortcut but encounter a problem on your way. How do you get out of it? First, we’d have some chocolate; that usually makes things better. Then we could start to think about the advantages of where we ended up, so that it becomes a lesson. Maybe, we’d just focus on meeting people and making friends.
You pause for a rest. How do you spend your downtime? I would seek some interesting jewelry, art, or clothing. I'm super interested in fashion, and I'm a painter and pattern designer, so if there are other people around getting weird with shapes and colors—I want to see it.
Finally, you arrive. What’s next? Time to make dinner reservations and go down for a nice swim at the beach. I think taking time to savor life outside of the journey is really important. A little boredom goes a long way towards restoration.