My recent trip to London and Paris was somewhat impromptu and this quick decision set the tone for the trip. I spent the first few days in London and Coventry, which is an hour northwest of London. I finally booked a hotel in Paris the night before leaving London on the 5:40 AM train to Paris. Aside from the train and hotel bookings, there was no set plan or itinerary for my time in Paris.
I usually like to have a plan, but this time, I didn’t feel compelled to add structure and complicate the trip with logistics that I’d have to manage. A strict schedule didn’t fit, and as it turned out, this had its benefits.
Flexibility and time were key advantages which I came to appreciate as the trip became an opportunity to truly take a break, relax, travel, experience, see, do and explore without restrictions.
This allowed me to limit unnecessary distractions that could monopolize my time, enjoy the moments, and be fully present. In particular, it gave me freedom to welcome inspirations and triggers that fuel my creativity. I took in the sights, sounds, tastes, perspectives, different approaches, attention to detail, and art around me. I loved every second of it and immersed myself in absorbing as much as I could!
I took in the sights, sounds, tastes, perspectives, different approaches, attention to detail, and art around me. I loved every second of it and immersed myself in absorbing as much as I could!
I appreciated the ways that travel ignites creativity:
Improves your ability to focus. When you remove yourself from your busy schedule and take a vacation, you’re no longer competing with meetings, client calls, and emails. By limiting your overall distractions and competing priorities, you are able to focus. This focus is key to creativity as it allows you to channel your energy toward positive influences that ignite your creativity. This building in Paris caught my eye with the architect’s attention to detail.
Disrupts your routine. When you travel and you’re exposed to other cultures and ways of life, you see how others live and how things can be done differently. Think about your morning or evening routine of brushing your teeth and washing your face. I have a process of how I do this each time and you probably do also. In London, I was presented with a sink that looks like the photo shown here, where one faucet had hot water while the other had cold water. Neither was ideal for my hands or face because the hot water was scalding and cold water in winter was not my preference. I had to think through this process and how I could be creative in order to brush my teeth and wash my face. I realized that despite the logistics of using this sink versus one in the US, if you’re flexible with the process, you can achieve the same end goals and have similar outcomes. Ultimately, disrupting your routine pushes your creativity by allowing you to see things in a different light.
Enhances your creative process. As you build more perspectives from travel experiences, you develop more reference points and have more tools at your disposal. You can then use these to enhance your creative process with fresh inspiration and content. I loved the decor of my hotel in Paris, especially the mix of abstract art with bold red pillows that didn’t take away from the overall peacefulness. This inspired me to incorporate seemingly loud artistic elements into my own home and creative space. Ultimately, new inputs from travel experiences can influence your creative process, including your space, and lead to better results.
Lets you add to your toolbox and expands your influences. As you’re exposed to the norms people develop as a result of their culture, you gain new perspective. These norms many be different from your own and new to you. As a starting point, we’re all influenced by where we grew up, our friends, our college experience, work experience, leadership experiences, spiritual practice, etc. All of these influences and associations have shaped who we are. Each time you expand your influences, you gain a new point of view and perspective. Each time you travel, you shape your experience and influences and add to your creativity toolbox. Soon, you’ll be able to create with results that transcend cultures and geographical locations.
If you’re looking for some fresh inspiration for your creativity, I’d recommend taking a trip. Creativity is about coming up with new things and ideas. What better way to be inspired by seeing, doing and learning new things in a new place?
I’m interested in hearing your experience. How has travel influenced you and your creativity? Has it expanded your perspective, allowing you to think differently about your work? Do you find ways to draw on the experiences you’ve gained? I’d love to hear your comments below!