Ring ring! Who’s this? It’s Jessica Parmenter – architect, designer, visual story-teller, dedicated advocate of greater diversity among story-telling and member of Girls Who Travel.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from travel that you’d like to pass on?
Quite often, my most valued experiences have been the result of a happy accident. Though it’s in my nature to diligently plan everything, I’m always pleasantly surprised by that which I discover along the way to planned destination points. Whether it’s a coffee shop, street market, or monument, it’s an opportunity to more fully immerse myself into that culture. Similarly, as a designer, I’m always in search of design inspiration. Stepping off the beaten path encourages me to think outside the box – whether I’m strictly observing human interaction and the spaces within which those interactions take place OR I’m opening my eyes to new styles and construction for the first time.
What is your travel style? How would you describe it?
I’m a planner – Part of the thrill of traveling, for me, is the research and planning stages. Because I’m not able to travel as often as I’d like, I’m invested financially and emotionally in getting the most out of my trip. However, I’ve learned to not get too attached to an itinerary (though I always have one), and to let my journey happen naturally. If I want to take a break, grab a drink or snack, and sketch or people-watch, then I will! If I’m feeling ambitious and want to combine a few sites/attractions/experiences into a single day, then I’ll do that too. Having flexibility is just as important as having a plan.
What do you credit most to your success?
Perseverance – Getting the pleasure of calling yourself an architect is no small feat, especially as a woman. Not only must you endure the long road that is education, experience, and examination; you must endure harsh criticism, demand respect, and work harder than your male counterparts just to be acknowledged. It’s mentally and emotionally draining, often times you feel very alone, and the inclination to give up and quit is ever-present. In this day and age, it’s frustrating coming to terms with the fact that women continually face a steeper mountain to climb in order to be successful; BUT…if you want something, you must fight for it – always stay motivated and always press on.
Thanks for sharing Jessica! When we build our GWT HQ will you design it? Hang out with Jessica and over 10,000 women around the world in Girls Who Travel.