I have been a traveler most of my life, much longer than I have been a painter. A recent talk with a friend got me wonder how travel has been impacting my creativity now that I can call both painting and traveling my passions.
Whether you are a fearless, adventurous type or prefer a more organized group tour, travel is all about getting out of routine to explore and discover the unknown. It usually rewards you with amazing experiences that enrich your life and makes you appreciate what you have in your life. When I travel, I am not keen on visiting must-see sites and usually do not walk around with a guidebook or a group, which may make me a little more of an independent, adventurous type. I take more delight in venturing out with no agenda, meeting people and learning about different lifestyles and cultures. This aspect of travel inspires me a great deal as in my recent trip into the Amish country in Northern Indiana. Seeing the Amish people keep their tradition alive, not to mention, beautiful landscapes that surround where they live, opened my eyes and gave me new ideas for future paintings.
By changing the familiar surroundings to a unknown setting, we will face challenges on a daily basis. The experiences can be all positive or can involve some negative or even risky ones. If they can be thoroughly enjoyed, that’s great, but usually they present some situations where we must make hard decisions. While traveling, we have no time to waste thus no choice but to make the best judgements possible and go through it all in order to go home safely. The whole experience will give us the encouragement to push on and, more importantly, new perspectives on life, however trivial they may be, that make us reflect on the ways that we have been set in so deeply. Travel helps us be courageous, stronger, kinder, more humble and respectful, and it feeds our soul in a most unexpected way. In a way, to me, it resembles a painting process.
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We do not have to travel to a far-away place for inspiration. If I open my eyes and mind, I can find things that inspire me almost anywhere. The connection between travel and creativity, as I see it, is all about taking risks by diving into the unknown. As artists, we must find a way to tap into the area in our brain to be more free-spirited and not complacent.