Planning a weekend getaway or summer vacation? Make sure your creativity gets rejuvenated along the way with these 6 tips.
1. Try a New place.
Do you call yourself a beach person, a mountain person or city person? That’s fine, but don’t let labels limit your horizons when choosing a destination. Try somewhere new and different.
When you go to unexplored places, you see unexpected things. You’re bumped from boredom. You expand your mind.
“Travel,” noted Mark Twain, “is fatal to bigotry and narrow mindedness.”
- For the insider scoop from designers on several creative hubs that make exciting travel destinations, check out the Designer Travel Guide series.
2. Try Traveling Without Plans.
Not always, but sometimes. Jump in the car and head out for an aimless day or weekend. Stop where you stop. Eat what you eat. See what you see.
For longer trips, avoid wall-to-wall itineraries. Leave time to explore. Talk with strangers. Check out local happenings. Take back roads and side streets.
Real travelers don’t know where they’re going, says travel writer Paul Theroux, but tourists don’t know where they’ve been. Be a traveler.
3. Get Into the Local Scene.
When Quincy Jones was preparing for his first trip to Europe decades ago, the veteran sax player Ben Webster gave him three pieces of advice: “Eat the food, listen to the music and learn 30 to 40 words in every language.”
Try Webster’s three-part formula—whether traveling to another country or another state. Seek out local foods and favorite dives. Hit popular music halls. Open your ears to language, accents and colloquialisms. Take photos and notes.
4. When You Get Away, Really Get Away.
We can’t discover new ideas if we’re consumed with old ones. Yet too often we leave for vacation only to let phones and e-mails bring us right back to where we just left.
Place auto-reply on your email. Press your iPhone’s Power Off button. And resist calling in for updates.
“When you are everywhere, you are nowhere,” wrote Rumi, “but when you are somewhere, you are everywhere.”
5. Go It Alone From Time to Time.
It’s great to travel with friends and family—but it’s often easier to notice surroundings and uncover ideas when traveling alone.
“Solo travel allows total focus on the experience,” travel writer Lea Lane told USA TODAY. “When you’re with other people, the possibility of diluting the experience is very high. I’ve been at the rim of the Grand Canyon with people discussing their stock portfolios rather than experiencing the beauty.”
Another plus of traveling alone is the chance to set your own schedules. “The person who goes alone can start today,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, “but the one who travels with another must wait until the other is ready.”
6. Sit Down and Look Around.
Whether your trip is packed with action or loaded with leisure, don’t forget to occasionally lean back and take it all in. Absorb scenes. Watch people. Smell the air. Jot notes. Make sketches.
“One’s destination is never a place,” said playwright Henry Miller, “but a new way of seeing things.”
Sam Harrison (www.zingzone.com) is a speaker and author on creativity-related topics. His third book, IdeaSelling: Successfully pitch your creative ideas to bosses, clients and other decision makers is now available.
MORE RESOURCES FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS