Be Careful What You Wish For

How many blog posts out there start with “It’s been a while…”?

Well, it has been a while. And with good reason. A dramatic amount of stuff has changed in my life this year, and with so much change, I haven’t known where to start. So I’ll start with the changes themselves…

In January I was working with Cochlear in Sydney Australia as their head of UX – exciting work in the amazing field of hearing implants, with wonderful people. However love and a desire for change drove me to develop a plan: take a prolonged break, travel around Europe for a few months, and eventually settle in London.

In February I left Sydney, and spent some very exciting months travelling in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Ukraine and England. But I had wished for change, and I got plenty of it; hence the title of this post. The love that had motivated me to make such a huge move dissolved, and with it my London plans. When the dust settled, I found myself living here in a small city in Bavaria. Yeah, I know, I also ask myself what the hell I was thinking leaving Sydney’s sun and beaches for below zero and meter deep snow. None-the-less, even if it’s not Sydney, it’s exceptionally beautiful here.

Alpsee in Allgäu, what a beautiful setting for UX design.

And now? Remote UX design..

Now I’m attempting something a bit tricky, but exciting. By temperament I love being a freelancer and the independence and variety that comes with it. I love making things people love, so UX design is an extremely satisfying field to work in. And I’m enjoying living here and the somewhat slower pace of life in the middle of so much natural beauty. But rural Bavaria isn’t exactly a UX design hotspot.

In order to continue living in this beautiful place and also pay the rent, I’m working as a freelance remote UX designer. This means my clients get all the advantages of an experienced UX designer, without the hassle of having to actually see me every day. But seriously, back when I worked in agency land, we called our remote workers in other timezones the “magic elves”. We’d send a briefing in the afternoon, and like magic, they’d get it done while we slept. As a first test of this style of remote work, I’ve just finished work on a pretty cool iPhone app for a client in Indonesia, which is six hours ahead of here, so I know it works, and works well. It’s not for every client – some require physical presence – but some are ready to let go of industrial age processes and embrace a freer definition of work, and those are the folks I hope to work with.

So with the new year upon us, and what looks like an exciting year starting, I hope your 2013 was just as enjoyable and at most only half as turbulent as mine, and wish us all an exciting, satisfying and successful new year!


  1. Thomas Jacob says:

    I very much enjoyed reading about your 2013. It’s not the kind of life I’d feel comfortable with, but I love reading what you do, and that it suits you well. Cheers!

  2. mb says:

    Thanks Thomas. I can’t say I’ve been overjoyed with all of it, but overall it’s been exciting, and now that things are settling down, I’m pretty happy where I’m at and excited about what’s coming. 🙂