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Last week was Circles Conference 2013, and just like last year, I left feeling charged, full, and energized for the creative journey ahead. My favorite talk, and most applicable right now, was Ben Jenkins from One Fast Buffalo. Six years ago he traded his overdone life for the bare essentials life of living in an RV. Kent and I got talk to him at the speakers dinner and pick his brain. The main takeaway from our conversation, was, “it’s all about togetherness.” We are 12 days into our journey on the road and that is for sure what I’m seeing. But, more about that later.

He talked about what is essential in life and what is not – and for our journey of simplicity right now, it resonated in a big way. I’m totally stealing this from his talk, but here it is.

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The way he sees it there are 24 hours in a day – 8 hours for work – 8 for play – and 8 for sleeping. His best work is done in solitude and he believes that every artist needs solitude ┬áplus participation (exploring, interacting with people, etc) for the best work to come. There definitely was a common theme through a lot of the talks about creating more with love and integrity and simplifying so you can experience more and focus on relationships. Lotta Nieminen talked about this when she realized she felt more like a factory than a designer, and she was just crossing projects off the list, not doing them with love.

Too tired and too busy is very American. Slow down. Slow is better. -Ben Jenkins

I also got to meet a designer I admire very much, Megan Gilger. Her talk was wonderful and her slides were just delicious. I love everything she creates, right down to the life that her and her husband lives.

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Photo from my Instagram feed

It was so fun to be with other creatives, but not just creatives who are ambitious and talented, but Circles attracts a very special crowd that seems to want more from creativity than just big name clients, money or building a big name. It might sound cliche, but there is definitely a commonality in wanting to use art and creativity for good and to bring change in the world. That is what I love about this conference. I walked away with a lot to process and a lot to build upon.