Being stuck in the same routine day in day out can narrow your creative vision. You see the same things, hear the same sounds and life feels a little mundane.
When you sit down to brainstorm ideas, your paper fills up with doodles of nothing in particular, and your attention is soon drawn to life outside the window.
For me it’s quite a common situation. Growing up, my mother was forever trying to keep me entertained. So by nature I think I’m easily distracted and I need to shake life up a bit from time to time to keep myself inspired.
If only we could turn a switch and creative thoughts would flow… but as anyone in a creative field knows, it doesn’t quite work like that.
So what can we do to feel inspired and get our creativity flowing again?
Exposing yourself to interesting and unfamiliar sights, sounds and tastes through travelling is one way that I find works wonders.
Immersing yourself in another culture can open your eyes to how others live and interact in society. The landscape and architecture are different, the way people talk sounds different, and the food looks, smells and tastes different.
If you’re a designer, you can benefit from observing the typography and signage, local magazines, street posters and art throughout the city.
If you’re a photographer, well you’re in heaven. There are so many unique details to document and create your own story.
If you’re a writer, travelling can clear the mind, leaving room for fresh new thoughts and stories, or perhaps clarify an idea that seems a little disjointed.
Just like a vacation rejuvenates and helps you unwind, an overseas journey can inspire and clear your mind, allowing for fresh new thoughts to flow in.
Besides this there’s another positive of travelling: it can improve your confidence.
For me this is a big one, since I’m a very shy person and being in a creative field requires a bit of boldness from time to time. And when I return home after an overseas journey I feel as though I can conquer anything.
Travelling isn’t always smooth sailing and can challenge you in many ways. You’re forced to communicate with others, not always in your mother tongue, and navigate your way around a foreign land. While stressful at the time, when you return home the feeling of accomplishment is elating.
Here are some things you can do to ensure your journey is a creatively stimulating experience.
1. Notice the details
With the nerves and excitement of travelling, you may overlook things. So remind yourself to look around and observe.
Look at the details in things as you walk … How the buildings above look … the way locals interact with one another … how food is presented and the ingredients they use … how windows, doors and stairwells are unique to the city you are in.
It’s these details and differences to what you know that you will carry away and use as inspiration later.
2. Talk to others
Whether it’s a local or a fellow traveller, talking to another can provide insight into things you may not have heard about or know about the place you are visiting.
Perhaps there is a small gallery or a great view of the city not mentioned in your travel guide. It’s always good to get inside tips and advice from those who have experienced them.
3. Be adventurous
Remember, the reason you are travelling is to find inspiration. Breaking out of your comfort zone will ensure a more stimulating experience…
Try foods that are not in your usual meal plan. You might be pleasantly surprised at how they taste.
Take part in an activity that might scare you a little! The feeling of accomplishment will help boost your confidence.
Don’t be afraid to lose yourself. Sometimes the most amazing sights and experiences are found when you least expect or plan for them to.
So next time you’re in a creative rut or find yourself staring at a blank piece of paper, consider a change of scenery. It could be an overseas journey, or even just getting in the car and going for a drive to somewhere fresh and new. It might just be what your mind needs to see clearly again…
You and your creative horizons
What are your experiences with travel and creativity. Do you find it helps to inspire you again?
What are some things that you do when travelling to find inspiration?
Which part of the world did you find inspired you most?
About the Author: Chantelle Grady’s passion for interiors, food, travel and photography led her to create Sourced Cities – travel guides based on her personal journeys through different cities, sourcing the details that make them unique, and helping you discover memorable experiences when you visit them yourself. Learn more at SourcedCities.com and via Chantelle’s pages on Facebook and Pinterest.