Using project management to take the sweat out of travel planning

by Wendy Riches

Recently I published an online class called “Your Dream Vacation: a planning class for making it happen!”.

travel planning classI so often hear people complain that they never go anywhere. So my goal in creating this class was to combine my 20+ years of project management experience with my love of travel and pass those learnings on!


Key reasons people don’t realize their travel dreams:

  • It’s overwhelming knowing where to start.
  • They don’t think they can afford it.
  • Travel planning can be time consuming, frustrating and stressful.
  • They’d rather be spontaneous.

So here are the four ways the class will help you overcome these and get you traveling sooner and with less stress:

  1. Get past the overwhelm and just get started.
  2. Create a budget that works for you so you have the freedom to move forward.
  3. Build a basic itinerary, then fill in the other details as they become available – and reduce the stress.
  4. Get organized with all the info at your fingertips so you CAN be spontaneous during your trip.

I’ve learned a lot through this six-week process and, among other things, taught myself video editing! There were many outtakes, and I realize I work much better from a script than off the top of my head!

You can find my class on Skillshare, and online learning community offering thousands of classes on everything from business to fashion. Some of the content is free, and Skillshare offers new members their first month free, with which you can access all their classes.

Here’s a short clip from my intro video. I hope you’ll find the class helpful and fun. I look forward to your feedback!

Cheers, Wendy

Produce….and reduce

We produce some cool stuff in our daily dealings here at MDC. But because we’re about more than just producing – we’re pretty minimalistic, so we’re also into reducing. Reducing, reusing and recycling that is.

Reuse (and let go)

Our back alley has proven to be the best example of this over the past year. Put anything of any value out there and it’s gone within a day. Put anything returnable out there, and it’s gone in 10 minutes. No joke.

Just last week, we needed to get rid of a desk, and on its way to the back alley, our tenant had a glint in his eye and decided he wanted it. So the tenant’s desk got taken to the alley. And later that night, we heard some scuffling out back, as a guy was expounding on the merits of this “amazing desk that would fit perfectly in their space”. This warms our hearts and happens regularly. In fact, within two weeks of setting the intention of wanting a new office chair, our friend decides he doesn’t want his amazing office chair anymore, and boom, ours goes out to the alley to be snapped up within 12 hours.

Reduce, then recycle:

OK, recycling is good too, but ultimately, we want to reduce our use of “stuff” in the first place. So, while we are trying to reduce our use of Ziploc bags for kids’ lunches to 2 per day, we need to find a place to put these things once they’re used. Enter those blue plastic recycling bins at Safeway or London Drugs, among other places. You can recycle your ziplocs (and other clean plastic bags) in there. Now if only they’d start charging (a lot) for plastic bags, we’d be even happier. Five cents ain’t gonna change behaviour.

Let us know your favourite 3-R’s example from your life, or your business.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Well how about that! MacDonald Creative, or MDC as we call ourselves now, has just turned 5! Who’d have thought that from our humble beginnings, Rod and I would be working together 18 years later!

I met Rod in 1994 when I showed up as a fresh-out-of-school keener for an “info interview” at Robertson Pick Advertising, where he was working as the copywriter. Don’t laugh, but this photo pretty much says it all. Black suit, black sports car (brand-new-to-me Turbo Eagle Talon, oh yeah baby!), degree in hand. Apparently Rod liked me right away, so as soon as a junior position became available, he vouched for me, and low and behold, I had my first real job.

Years went by, I left to work in other companies and other industries, and Rod stayed on, working his way up internally to Creative Director until I showed up again in 2004 as Production Manager after the birth of my first child.

Rod and I always knew we’d work together again, so another child and another job later, we were both exploring new opportunities, so we met over Fish & Chips at Granville Island and sealed the deal to start our own creative services firm. Two days later, we had a registered business name. Two weeks later, we had work! Two months later, we had a recession (oh ya, Sept. 2008…great time to start a business!). Thankfully, we were engaged by a few clients who weren’t affected as badly by the recession and we made it through our first year.

Over the past five years, we’ve worked with many of Vancouver’s top real estate developers (Polygon, Delta Land, Concord Pacific, Led Mac, to name a few), with some other industries thrown in for variety.

It’s been a great partnership. Our costs remain low because we’re both minimalists and hire the best suppliers for each job and nothing more. We don’t have anything to fight about, because our skill sets aren’t duplicated, so we respect each other’s work and opinions.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this past 5 years has flown by. Thanks to our clients, all our great supplier friends, and of course to you, Rod. We look forward to continuing to provide “Marketing, Design and Creative” for years to come!

Attention to detail

Although it hasn’t opened yet, we thought we’d share some snapshots of our team at work installing displays for Polygon’s Lakeside neighbourhood within their Sunstone community in North Delta.

We’re pleased to work with Polygon, BC’s most successful multi-family home builder, and to have the opportunity to show you the kind of attention to detail we bring to every one of our projects.

MDC sometimes gets pigeon holed – oh they’re the ad guys, they just do brochures, or they just do web – when in fact we cover the full creative services spectrum, including signage and presentation centre displays like this one.

We’ve been in the business for 20+ years and in that time we’ve learned how to keep projects on time and on budget, and looking good too 😉