The first time I arrived in London, I knew I would make my home here: Founder Amanda Kasper
Born in Hawaii and having grown up in various cities across the United States, Amanda Kasper is the intrepid founder of Alpha Kilo Creative. She talks to Aerostorie about celebrating Thanksgiving in London, managing a global business and forming routines while on the road.
“As someone who is bedouin by nature, one of the huge benefits of running a global business is that I get to work all around the world. Our work with Airbnb co-founder, Joe Gebbia, has brought me to incredible locations from the Nara District of Japan to Cape Town, South Africa. My holidays now are usually at home (in London or South Carolina) as my work feeds the explorer in me.
Technology today has eased many of the challenges faced in running a global business; through Skype, Slack and the phone, I feel like I can be in the same room with colleagues across the globe. However, with clients in Singapore, Europe, Brazil, New York, and San Francisco, time zones can prove very tricky for scheduling.
Formulating a consistent routine that works when I’m travelling has proved to be quite a challenge. I do wake up each morning with a peruse of Instagram, followed by a quick review my work emails to see what the day has in store for me. I always make my bed, even in hotels. I used to think this was a rather odd habit until I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that many believe it’s the key to success. Who knew?
From there, I don’t really have much of a routine as each day unfolds rather differently. In my business, there are rare days that are spent in one place between briefings, meetings and events. I do make sure to get time outside, even if it’s walking to the next meeting rather than taking a cab.
I think most expats find themselves missing cultural touch points from their childhood at some point when living abroad… One thing I couldn’t possibly live without is Thanksgiving, so I have exported my favourite holiday to the shores of England. I love the fact that we have an entire holiday rooted in gratefulness that every human, regardless of race, religion or culture can celebrate. I believe it is such a gift to look at your life and loved ones and take a moment, over a delicious feast, to appreciate it all...
I think London’s beauty lies in its history and architecture. I love taking guests to the John Soane Museum, especially in the autumn when they have the candlelit tours on the first Tuesday evening of the month. In summertime, the Chelsea Physic Garden is an absolute dream.
For those who have never been, I love taking guests on a walking tour from St Paul’s over the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern, a walk along the South Bank, followed by lunch at Borough Market (grilled cheese sandwiches like you wouldn’t believe from Kappacasein) and drinks at one of the oldest pubs in London, the George Inn, ending the day at the Tower of London. Even as an adult, it’s absolutely enthralling.
In order to feel settled in a new place, I think it’s important to completely unpack and put the suitcase away. I do this even if I’m only staying a few days.
In the past, when I’ve made more permanent moves, I like to walk everywhere in the first weeks. Not only does this help me understand my new city, but it also familiarises me with my surroundings, and helps me find the best local markets, cafes, bookstores and shops.
When I’ve recently moved somewhere, I often ask locals what are their favourite books that bring their city to life. In London, friends recommended reading all about the Mitford sisters and anything by Evelyn Waugh, Bill Bryson as well as a hilarious book called Watching the English by Kate Fox. Helter Skelter by Vincent Buglioso and The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, while both rather dark, bring history and depth to Los Angeles in their examination of the city in relation to the subject. For San Francisco, Cool Gray City of Love and The Bohemians by Ben Tarnoff...
Every flight for me feels like an adventure. I love new places and I love the familiarity of places I’ve lived or spent a lot of time in. I get an odd joy in knowing my way around a city like New York, Frankfurt or Paris — and even more euphoria when I discover a new city or street. There’s a teeny, tiny alleyway called Lazenby Court in London’s Covent Garden that connects Floral and Garrick Street. One must duck down to enter and then is greeted by an old pub called the Lamb & Flag. I find it absolutely delightful every time, and I’ve been down it a thousand times I’m sure.
The first time I arrived in London, I knew I would make my home here. I’m grateful every day, rain or shine, for the opportunity to live in this incredible city. That said, while my heart is in London, my soul will always be in South Carolina.”