Diana Oberlander is an explorer of places and spaces, both physical and ethereal. She began her career as first assistant to stylist Lori Goldstein, working alongside aesthetic masters of the time like Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel and Mario Testino. Next, at Vogue, she ascended from fashion associate to contributing editor, also contributing to publications like Teen Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, W, MTV.com, Seventeen, Style.com and VH1.com.
All the while, Oberlander—who spent her childhood traveling—continued to explore the globe, visiting far-flung destinations in Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South and Central America and South East Asia. In 2011, the style maven founded her company, Nomad-Chic, an online shop-able publication and digital one-stop destination for art, beauty, celebrity, design, fashion, literature, film and music, all curated with Oberlander’s modern and eclectic eye.
Below, Oberlander shares her belief that the present is a destination unto itself.
Live The Process: Has traveling and exploring the world always been a tenet of your lifestyle?
Diana Oberlander: I spoke three languages and lived on three continents by the age of five. Instead of attending summer camp, I would visit relatives in other countries or basically live in the library, reading as travel. During my time in the fashion world, I traveled all over the world, collaborating on style stories with myriad personalities.
I think transition is a form of travel too. At life’s junctures, I have gone on journeys to clear my mind. Travel nurtures me and always brings me back to my true self. Change and exploration go hand in hand.
LTP: Many of us struggle with negativity and close-mindedness at times. How do you keep an open perspective on the many different experiences you encounter in your travels?
DO: Travel allows one to be his or her best (or worst) self.
Being based in New York City is the ultimate practice: it is a carousel city of characters in perennial movement and flux. Maintaining an open heart, grounded perspective and patience here is a primer for being a good traveler.
Although modern Western life can be complicated, people are people, regardless of cultural differences. America is a fairly new country, created by immigrants. The kindness and gratitude cultivated at home is a universal language.
And instinct is a timeless global currency.
From Frank Sinatra to KRS-One: “If you can make it (t)here, you can make it anywhere…”
LTP: What tips would you offer people who look to explore within themselves while exploring a new place, but have difficulty choosing the physical destination?
DO: We are the physical destination. Be present in that destination. Get off the phone. Get off the computer. Shut the book. Close the door. Open the window. Now. Anywhere you may be. Close your eyes, sit with yourself and listen to your inner voice.
As far as traveling to global destinations, if a place calls to you (with want as visceral; need as almost romantic infatuation), you’re probably meant to go there.
Nomad-Chic is a digital platform to wander. It really is an ever-evolving world of collage and stories and souvenirs. See what piques your interest. Engage with the site. Share your thoughts. What inspires you? Do you wish to read, peruse, shop or roam? Get on. Get off. Connect in the moment. Sit and explore dynamic links. Pinterest or Tumble or Regram or Tweet. There are infinite possibilities. It’s ok to get lost. The experience is the destination.
LTP: Was there a single event or person in your life that inspired you to found Nomad-Chic?
DO: There are countless people and events that made it possible and continue to make it possible, beginning with my family and never ending from there: people and places I long for and ones I can’t even remember, but are as much a part of me as those which I love with the greatest intensity.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
DO: Balance. Support. Daily surprises. Inner peace. Inspiration. Honest, loving eye contact. Reciprocal soul connection, collaboration, partnership. Swimming in pristine tropical waters. A motorcycle ride along a simple road by the sea. Joy in the faces of those around me. Kindness and gratitude. Charity. A true vacation.
Everyone wants to be happy. It’s the “truth is one, paths are many” thing. The faith that one is on the right path and accepting that there are many forks in the road. Lack of judgment towards detours and distractions. No expectations. Absence of anxiety and neurosis.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
DO: Creating communities that share inspiration is key. Nourish the present. Release attachment to outcome. Be kind to yourself. Discover beauty in the moment. Keep the faith. Let go. Nurture the rhythm of ones inner compass.
I live the process by doing what I love, in faith that the universe will support and provide what is best for me.