Random Inspirations

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Five Cities in Five Weekends: How Travel Stimulates Creativity

on November 16, 2012

I wasn’t raised as a world traveler. I come from a family of road-trip enthusiasts, and while I loved the closeness road trips brought us, they definitely limited our travel prospects. My first time on an airplane was at age twenty-three. Up until this year, the only time I’d ventured out of the United States was to watch Phantom of the Opera in Toronto in the seventh grade.

Lately, however, I’ve become somewhat of a jet-setter. Part of it has been brought on by the necessity of flying out to San Diego to see my fiance or to Pittsburgh to see my family. The other part, however, has been voluntary, because I’ve noticed that traveling stimulates my creativity in writing, art, and thinking in general.

In the past five weekends, I’ve been in five different cities, and they’ve all promoted my creativity in different ways. Is your city on the list?

1. San Diego, CA – I braved my mid-October head cold and enjoyed some much-needed sun time on the beach in Carlsbad with my fiance, Antonio, and some friends. There, we rediscovered our collective inner child, frolicking in the waves and doing tumbling and gymnastics moves in the sand. When I finally collapsed on my brightly colored beach towel, I marveled at how many ideas were floating around in my head for my Children’s Writer contest entry, a short story set in San Diego. Main Takeaway: Doing things you enjoyed as a child sets your creative juices flowing.

2. Los Angeles, CA –  Antonio and I met up at the lovely Loews Hollywood Hotel for the three-day Writer’s Digest West conference. We networked with brilliant professionals, listened to absorbing discussions, and acquired a wealth of knowledge about the literary world. I even went out of my comfort zone by participating in the Pitch Slam with agents. Afterwards, we were inspired to shoot our own video, the Five Super-Helpful Networking Tips posted earlier on the blog. Main Takeaway: Going out of your comfort zone facilitates creative momentum by educating and inspiring you.

3. Chicago, IL  – Okay, I cheated. I didn’t travel that weekend; Antonio came to visit. It was a relaxing but action-packed weekend of couples bonding, friends, and Halloween festivities. We enjoyed our favorite Chi-town hangouts, and even discovered some new ones. And our creativity was through the roof. We put together insane Halloween costumes, did some Class-A wedding planning, and Antonio encouraged me to put the finishing touches on my writing contest entries. Main Takeaway: Spending time with supportive people pushes your creativity to new heights.

Here are our creative Halloween costumes! We’re a disco man and a raver respectively:)

4. San Francisco, CA – Antonio and I met up for our good friend’s bridal shower, and enjoyed a weekend of sensory overload. We star-gazed at the Golden Gate bridge one night after clubbing, inventing our own constellations. We people-watched at Dolores Park, and saw many interesting characters, including a guy wearing a huge panda head and a completely naked guy. We marveled at the city’s artsy culture, and after my return, I was so artistically inspired that I crafted a really cool pop-up card for my mom’s birthday. Main Takeaway: Indulging your senses boosts innovation.

Here I am (2nd from left) in San Fran, toasting at the beautiful bridal shower of my friend Kristin Wansten (far left), with Katie, Katelyn, Kat, Angelina, Ewa, and Julie Howarth

5. Pittsburgh, PA – Home sweet home. The jet-setting life was catching up to me, and what better way to rejuvenate than by bonding with my family? My favorite home-cooked meals, a sushi and shopping date with my mom, cozy nights in with the whole family…just what I needed. I returned to Chicago rested and refreshed, with the energy and clarity to tackle the writer’s block that had plagued me late last week. Which brings me to my last Main Takeaway: Travel is awesome, but sometimes, returning to your roots can be the best way to jump-start your creativity.

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One response to “Five Cities in Five Weekends: How Travel Stimulates Creativity

  1. […] pack up and discover new lands…or rediscover old, familiar ones. Last year, I blogged about how travel stimulates creativity, but on my last flight I realized that the mere act of flying on an airplane also seems to […]

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