Tim Geoghegan travels all around the world as a freelance Creative Director. He used to work for some of the most respected advertising agencies in the world, firms like Crispin Porter + Bogusky or Bartle Bogle Hegarty. In this interview he talks a bit about how intense his life is and what’s “home” for him. Another figure of Contemporary Residential Transience.
Where have you been lately?
In the last 60 days I’ve been to Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Bangkok, Saigon, Indonesia, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington DC. Ha, so I guess that’s slowing down for me…
So it’s easy to have a mental representation about where you have been.
Yes, I think so. Taking lots of pics also helps. I sometimes go through them all and it’s like a diary, reminding me of things. And it’s amazing how much more you can fit into a year when you’re moving around vs. when you’re in one place. One way to extend our ‘lives’ so to speak, is to move more and do more vs. repeat the same rabbit runs we’re used to.
In an interview for W Magazine, George Clooney said: “Home is where my friends and family are… I spend 8 months a year in a one bedroom hotel in a city I probably wouldn’t vacation in… But no city… no space… fails to be home if your family or friends can find the time to visit… I get desperately, depressingly homesick if I can’t find a way to be near the people that bring joy wherever they go… Spend a night with my parents battling over who was the rottenest child… (my sister of me.)… Or my friends pointing out how badly I destroyed a certain bat franchise… Home is humor… and love and responsibility… And I get homesick when the people who know that best… and I… can’t find time to be together.” In your opinion, what makes a certain place your home?
Touregs and other nomadic people have carried their homes with them for centuries. I think you can carry your home with you. People tend to have way too much ‘stuff’ today. One thing all this nomadism has made me do is downsize. And with that, I’ve realized it’s all about the value we scribe to things. When you reduce your ‘belongings’, they seem to go up in personal value. I think if you were on a deserted island and the only item you had was a random marble, that marble would be very special to you. But if you had crates of other random things, the value would diminish. But there’s something very true about the adage ‘home is where the heart is.’ Because really, home is where you’re surrounded by that which makes you comfortable. That’s a mix of friends and family who love you, a familiarity and access to things you rely on – and that feeling that, if you never could leave this one place again – this is the one place you should be.
Like with Jack Nicholson’s character in Antonioni’s movie “The Passenger”, do you ever feel like one?
Yes, it’s exhilarating to travel so much. But it’s also exhausting. Lots of new information, constant looking forward, less just stopping and looking around and being in the “now”. The now is a constant move forward. Maybe that’s why every nomadic culture still does “settle down” even for short periods of time.
Are there things that help you transform a specific place where you stay in a place that is more comfortable, or is that not important at all?
I have a friend who will do things like buy flowers or room deco items that they’ll later return when they stay long term at a place. Me, I feel like I just need a comfortable place. I can keep everything I need in my bag, and things that make me feel comfortable in there. Sometimes, I don’t want a ‘home’ or that ‘settled’ feeling to find me though, as that tends to make me feel stale, as if I’m not going anywhere.
Would you agree with architect Rem Koolhaas when he says that “People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it. Of course, that’s both liberating and alarming”?
I agree, though surroundings and aesthetics and a ‘story’ of any given place have a profound affect, in my experience. I’d be willing to take cuts in other compensation in return for the right environment. Architects should design for what people may need or want, in any specific space.
In the end, what role plays your home in your professional life?
Right now, I look at my ‘home’ as a temp office-meets storage unit with a bed and a view…and most importantly, a mailing address. So in terms of business, it’s where I can focus on things for a bit longer than a short stint.
One thing you realize traveling, especially on such short notice as I was initially, is how much the world and universe doesn’t ‘want’ people moving. It’s as if everyone wants you in one place…to at least have the bills find you.
As they say, a rolling stone gathers no moss. But it also takes a long time to forward all the mail to that stone as well.