Most people avoid solitary travels. Yet for the creative traveller being alone (not lonely) can be a great opportunity to regain artistic focus and discover new inspiration.
Especially those of us who work a day job alongside our creative endeavours know that life can become stale when our creativity is pushed into the background by the daily chores. Therefore a change of scenery can work wonders in keeping you excited and productive.
Writing in response to the weekly writing challenge set by The Daily Post, I have decided to make my case for travelling alone in search of inspiration.
Now and then in travel, something unexpected happens that transforms the whole nature of the trip and stays with the traveller.
~ Paul Theroux, The Tao of Travel
The good news with this type of travelling is that it absolutely doesn’t matter where you decide to go. If you don’t have much money to spare you can opt for a day trip and pick somewhere not too far away to keep costs down. That’s how I do it.
Just make sure you don’t let anyone talk you into taking them with you. This is your trip! Look at your local train lines and bus services and see if they go to a place you have never been, this way you get to bask in anonymity which can be very rewarding.
I tend to pick medium sized towns where it is possible to walk around all day. I also don’t tend to bother with maps once I am there. Just wondering out of a train station into the unknown can be a great way to explore a new place. You can always ask somebody if you get lost.
Make sure to set your objectives before you travel. Ask yourself why you are going to your chosen destination. What are you hoping to find? Is it peace and quiet or are you trying to stimulate your senses by mingling with lots of people in a busy crowd?
Bear in mind that it is possible to find peace amongst a crowd, too. I often seek out busy places to think. Last weekend I chose a busy café to sort out my plans for self-hosting my blog. There were children crying, parents shouting, friends laughing together, business-type people having serious conversations and (of course) some background music.
All the voices came together and formed an unintelligible hubbub – a strangely soothing sound –which allowed me to get into that zone where I can focus best. Of course this doesn’t work for everybody. Some people need silence to concentrate and that’s fine, too. You need to figure out what works best for you.
Ok, so you know your objectives and have an idea of what you want to achieve. Great! Then you get to your chosen location and…
I will admit that just hopping off a train or bus in a place you don’t now can be daunting. That’s exactly the feeling I had on my recent day-trip to Shrewsbury. Don’t let that discourage you. Just pay attention to what you are attracted to.
For example, if you see a nice building find out what it is and whether you can explore it. If you see an interesting bookshop, have a look around in there. Maybe you’ll find your inspiration between a pair of (dusty?) book covers…
In The End:
Whatever you decide to do. Whether you are going away for a day, a weekend or a whole week, if you stay true to yourself and stick with what you are attracted to, you are almost certainly going to find your muse.
This only works when travelling alone as you cannot expect to focus on what you want to do (and see) if you have friends or family nagging at you all day. Realise that you are worth taking a time-out to fuel your creativity – no compromises allowed.
Every once in a while you are allowed to be selfish and it will make you a much better person to be around when you do spend time with other people. Don’t you think?
Until next time,