Blog – Planes, trains & automobiles: No matter the location, we always get there to be ‘Place Makers’ by Darren Naylor

Posted 17 May 2024 by Anysia Henderson
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In this blog, Darren Naylor, Installation Project Lead at Moss, recounts his extensive travels, a testament to a career dedicated to bringing visions to life through installations and events that span the seasons and the globe.

 

“In my career, I’ve had the privilege of traveling all around the world for various installations and events, both seasonal and otherwise. My job has taken me from air shows to sporting events, from the UK to India, from Paris to Las Vegas. Wherever the demand beckons.

Thriving in the Extreme Conditions of Event Installations

With all that travel comes some challenging terrains and environments. I’ve worked in all sorts of conditions. When installing a job in Azerbaijan for the European Games, we were confronted with 38-degree heat! We were originally scheduled to work at nighttime when it was much cooler, but that changed. The heat was so intense that locals, who made the smart decision to stop working in such temperatures, found our struggles amusing as we juggled tools too hot to handle!

We had to just get on with the job, though. Even if the heat made it trickier when it came to installing the job and making sure everything was in the right place and not impacted by the heat. It was a case of adapting quickly to extreme conditions.

Contrast that with an install we did in Davos, Switzerland, this year for the World Congress, where it dipped to -10 degrees, you could see icicles on your beard! Even in the biting cold and gusty winds, we have to be spot on with the installation, especially when it’s a high-profile event, hosting brand giants like Microsoft and TikTok.

The days can be gruelling, too. Most of the time we’re on-site for 12-hours – at least! Which makes socialising or finding time to take in our surroundings quite tricky. You have to get creative sometimes, like when a few of us went go-karting at night in Dubai following a 12-hour install. It was the perfect way to unwind and embrace the local culture.

Juggling Time Zones and Toolboxes: The Art of Balancing Family Life with Global Projects

My life is a constant balance between family and travel. I’d say I’m probably travelling nine months of the year in total, so it’s vital to stay connected to family. Touching base with home keeps me sane. It has become a tradition to bring back fridge magnets or cuddly toys from my trips. My partner and kids are very understanding and have grown accustomed to my absences. Thankfully, I’ve never missed a Christmas and only ever missed one New Year – which was memorable, as I was in Las Vegas while working on a job.

I rarely unpack my suitcase when I’m home unless it’s to put clothes in the washing machine and hotel life is second nature to me now. Although for extended stays, I prefer apartments – it gives a sense of normalcy, like having a kitchen to whip up a proper meal. Travel-wise, it’s a mix of flying and driving. Sometimes I load up the van, stick some music on and drive for hours on end until you’ve reached the road signs in a different language. My bike’s always in tow, offering the freedom to explore cities like Paris.

Reflecting on these journeys, I realise how lucky I am to do what I do and have a family that understands. Each destination brings its unique set of challenges and joys – from laughing with locals in Azerbaijan to feeling the pulse of Las Vegas. It’s a life of constant adaptation, embracing different cultures, and finding happiness in every moment.

Right, time to pack my suitcase again!”

 

Darren Naylor


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