A fresh perspective about life, independence and leading her own way — this is what senior art director, Casey Walsh, sought when she chose to travel, by herself, to Spain.
Twice each year, Brighton CEO Tina VonderHaar invites Brightonians to submit an essay outlining how they would put $1,500 and an extra week of vacation to use to become a better employee.
“I am eager to embark on a journey, all on my own, to see what I discover about myself along the way,” wrote Casey in her sabbatical essay. “I’ll take a leap around every bend and capture all the life that I can — and I’ll undoubtedly return with a fresh perspective, independence and leading my own way.”
Casey’s journey took her to Spain, a destination she describes as “the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”
Her wanderlust led her to Barcelona, from where she migrated south to Granada, then even further south to Torrox to see the Mediterranean and, finally back up to Madrid.
“I particularly loved Granada for its amazing fusion of medieval, Christian Renaissance and Islamic art and architecture,” Casey recalls. “The bright, mosaic detailing of walls and buildings and open-air markets with aromatic spices in the air made me feel like I was in Morocco.”
Spain’s perfect weather, mountains, castles, flowers, rivers, wine and food also inspired her. “Barcelona had a captivating energy, with bustling promenades, romantic tapas bars and history around every corner,” she shares. “My trip ended with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, which I was happy to toss myself into — [seeing] the white-washed hillsides and mountains is an image I’ll never forget.”
Casey isn’t apt to forget any details of her sabbatical, as she developed her photography skills and took lots of pictures along the way — images she looks forward to framing to serve as constant reminders of her “transformative” experience.
True to her word, Casey did return to her job reenergized and with a few new design skills, too. “I realized how fun it is to work with ornate, geometric shapes in the digital medium, inspired by Spain’s bold patterns and textures,” she says.
But most important of all, Casey surprised herself. “It was very empowering to take on a huge adventure and be completely blown away by it,” she says. “My Brighton sabbatical inspired me on a personal level. It showed me that I am capable of going anywhere and doing anything!”