“An E-interview with Alissa Walker of Gelatobaby”
Happy day everyone! I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Alissa Walker of Gelatobaby. If you haven’t heard of Gelatobaby, it’s the blog that follows the everyday adventures of Alissa and her walks through LA. The beautiful thing about this is that she is an extreme advocate of using public transportation, engaging her environment, and making a change one step at a time.
I had the honor of meeting her a few months ago at a design conference in Chicago, MoxieCon, where she encouraged me to email her pondering questions with the promise that I post them on my blog and share with everyone. Below are the questions and her lovely responses.
What truly made you start Gelatobaby?
I knew that I wanted to have a blog a very long time ago (like 10 years ago) but I was so concerned with having a topic that I couldn’t get myself to start writing. I also knew that I wanted to write for a living, but I was having a hard time letting go of my day job at a production studio because I was worried about money. Basically, I was an anxious mess! I saved up money and traveled to Europe by myself for the summer in 2004, where I spent weeks wandering all these Medieval cities, trying to figure out the next move in my career. When I got to Italy, all of a sudden the words started pouring out of me. I was writing little stories about what I saw, the food I ate, the things I touched… I realized that the kind of writing I really loved to do was this urban exploration and reporting on places that I walked. I knew I could do a version of this for the rest of my life, and somehow get paid for it. And the reason I named my blog Gelatobaby is in honor of all the gelato I was eating when I had this epiphany.
What keeps you motivated even after moments that stump you and you begin to doubt yourself?
Taking long walks always helps. I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be solved with a 20-minute stroll around the neighborhood. Sometimes I take my camera and snap photos of whatever catches my eye, then I come home and write a blog post just based on that short walk. That brings me back to the kind of writing I love to do, makes me feel like I have a mastery over my craft, and it gets me away from the computer and out into the fresh air, which is always a good thing!
How do you feel about 5-year plans? What was yours in your early twenties and did you stick with it?
Do you know about my whole thing about changing up your life every five years? I gave this Creative Mornings talk on it: http://www.gelatobaby.com/2011/01/10/my-creativemornings-talk/ That is why I took my trip to Europe, and five years before that, it’s why I decided to go into advertising. And around 2010, I started to change my life again, focusing specifically on Los Angeles in my writing. Obviously I’ve now had three careers, each of them completely different, I think that’s great. I think you have to change huge parts of your life every five years. If I didn’t I would be supremely bored.
What advice do you have for early-20 something creatives looking to break out and make a difference for others around them?
What are you waiting for? I guess that’s not really advice, but seriously: You have so many tools around you to get the word out about your cause, to inspire people to join you, to share your work with a wider audience. Find a cause that’s local, that’s in your neighborhood, that’s down the street, and ask those people what they need. Then build something beautiful that will inspire others to care about this cause, too.
How do you deal with negative people in your life? Those that do not agree with your passion and constantly put it down?
What does Milton Glaser call them? Toxic people? He gives this great talk that I’m sure you could find somewhere that talks about toxic people, and how you have to remove them from your life. Don’t try to sway them from their negativity. Don’t even give them the courtesy of a response. Just ignore them and banish them from your circle. There’s really no other answer.
If you can sum up how you feel about your life right now in one sentence, what would it be?
My life is pretty exceptional right now since I’m coming off one of the biggest professional journeys I’ve ever taken (the GOOD Ideas for Cities project) and about to enter one of the biggest personal journeys I’ve ever taken (getting married). So far it’s been one of the best years of my life!