Being brave with Nicole LaRue

Last month I was exploring encouraging curiosity in a post about why unpredictability should be a feature of your next project.  It was a subject that caused lots of interesting discussion at the London Stationery Show at the end of April, where we created a display inspired by the ‘Out of The Ordinary’ trend from our Autumn/Winter 2018/19 trend report.  Together with visitors we discussed ways in which unexpected outcomes, chance discoveries and satisfying a customer’s desire for adventure have significance in product design, services, marketing and our lives in general as Big Business and the Media seek to steer, distract and control.

One of the items on the Trend Hub display and Trend Tours that attracted interest and resonated with visitors was a guided journal called ‘Find Your Adventure’ by Nicole LaRue that invites you to change the way you expect the world to be.

Nicole uses the journal format to encourage you to undertake activities that are different from your usual way of living, thinking and being – not so much a holiday from yourself as being a revelatory reacquainting with oneself.

Full of tasks and prompts, this is a book about letting go, collecting moments, taking time to reflect, being adventurous and exercising your curiosity.

Yes it’s fun, but it’s also really thought-provoking and timely … more than simply getting you out of the rut of your routine, it frees you to design your own life and feel less restricted, as well as giving permission to shed your insecurities and inhibitions in order to be a truer version of yourself.

At a time when conforming and the pressures of fitting in can be limiting, and the undercurrent of uncertainty and fear causes many people to play it safe, Nicole invites us to tear up the rule book and step out into the world with a complete openness that is truly liberating.

ABOVE: Enthusing about Nicole LaRue’s book on the Abrams&Chronicle Books stand on a Trend Tour at the Stationery Show London and pages from ‘Find Your Adventure‘ by Nicole LaRue

I contacted Nicole LaRue to ask her about the major themes and activities in her book and she shares her thoughts with us today:

VICTORIA: Do you feel the essence of the activities and themes in your book can be applied to and improve our work lives? … I’m thinking particularly about small business owners.


I like this question! To our work lives? Definitely. As a full-time freelance designer & illustrator, I tend to find myself sticking to what I know unless I consciously make an effort. And when I do make some kind of spontaneous effort to change things up, I’m always quite thrilled with the result! And it’s the little things. Listening to a podcast while I work rather than music is awesomely inspiring. Or finding inspiration outside of my computer by going downtown and pilfering through some local shops or co-ops can be just the coolness I need to spark some new idea. It’s easily changed stuff that can give us a new perspective and kind of propel us forward (& maybe in a direction we’d not ever thought of before)!

VICTORIA: Your guided journal advocates changing our normal routines to experience life from different perspectives.  What do you feel are some of the benefits of doing this?

NICOLEI think changing up routines just makes folks generally happier. We see more, experience more and have more to share with others when it’s not just the same thing every day. And I think it’s a brilliant way to introduce ourselves to crazy situations and awesome ideas we may not have the opportunity to experience otherwise! 

VICTORIA: Themes relating to curiosity and bravery are at the core of the journal.  Why did you feel they were important to encourage?

NICOLE:  Curiosity and bravery are sort of at the heart of being yourself without excuses and its taken me 38 years to figure this out. If we’re okay being curious, we don’t care what others think about what we’re doing and if we’re brave, we’re free to be honest about who we are without worry. In combination it makes for a really, really cool person!

VICTORIA: What made you create a book at this particular time that helps people create their own moments of fun and joy?

NICOLEWhen I started this book, I’d spent the previous 4 years living in both South Korea and Japan and truly had to learn (painstakingly) how to let go of all of my expectations and preconceived notions and sort of just let all of the silly and embarrassing and uncomfortable things that might happen, happen. Because of this, I have had some of the greatest most authentic stories and adventures. And I think these ideas are seriously worth spreading!

HUGE thanks to Nicole for taking time to answer my questions and for sharing her thoughts with us.

Nicole’s book can be purchased from Amazon.

Oh by the way, after returning from the ‘Stationery Show London’ I bought Nicole’s book and I’ve been working my way through the activities, skipping about to different sections in no particular order as a purposeful effort to address my insane need for order!

Here is a sneak peek of how I’m getting on with my current activity – a photo adventure …

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