I love to travel. Forget diamonds, fancy handbags or designer shoes — I am the girl who rather grab her passport and head to the airport. I love the goose bump feeling of adventure and the discovery of new sights, sounds and smells. Whether it’s a flight to an international city or a road trip to the local beach, taking a trip to a new place energizes me and makes me feel alive.
But most of all, it sparks my creativity.
Much of it has to do with detaching from our daily life of routines and to-do lists. When we leave our everyday, normal surroundings, we can open our minds to think differently. Learning, seeing and experiencing new things can boost our imaginations. Navigating unknown lands and spaces helps us become better problem solvers.
The Atlantic even conducted a study examining the effects of traveling abroad on creativity in the brain. They reported that travelers who visited more than three different countries had higher levels of creativity than those who hadn’t traveled as often.
So wanderlust is not only good for the soul but also for personal growth and business. Travel can be the catalyst to fueling new ideas and creating our best work. Before you pack your bags to jet-set on your next trip, consider these things to boost your creativity while seeing the world:
Read the signs around you. Hear how the locals use words and phrases. Write down interesting sayings. While I was just in London, I kept a list of funny English words like jumper, lollie, cuppa, knackered, telly. You never know when something may inspire you or help you in naming a new program or product.
Take one or two days of your vacation and live like a local. Visit the neighborhoods, the markets, the restaurants that are off the tourist track. Take the subway over a taxi or tour bus. Walk everywhere. Sit at a cafe to people watch. Try different exotic foods. Soak it all in! This is a great way to get an authentic, immersive experience and to open yourself to exciting new adventures. Your mind will be overflowing with new thoughts, feelings and ideas.
Every country has a past and a history to learn from. Be sure to make an effort to learn about the city you are visiting. When traveling, my family likes to visit museums, book local tour guides and study the architecture. The stories, the design, the art, the colors and textures will all inspire you. Your mind will expand with new knowledge, which will, in turn, boost your creativity.
Don’t be afraid to try new cuisines when traveling. Eat the local fare. Experience the culture through food. New tastes, textures and food combinations will not only open up your palate but also open up your heart. A spice or flavor can trigger your imagination. You may discover new things about your taste buds as well as yourself!
Discover local traditions and rituals. Are there holidays, festivals or pastimes that you can engage in while visiting? These experiences can really open your eyes to a different lifestyle. When visiting London, we made sure to enjoy tea time.The art of serving tea and the beauty of the presentation with the teapot and tea cups was delightful. It taught us the lesson of slowing down and engaging in conversation. This practice, as well as others I have discovered on my travels, influence the systems and processes that I include in my business.
We all enjoy the slower moments of vacation. Travel is a wonderful time for unplugging. It allows us to be more reflective and thoughtful. We can think more clearly and connect the dots of our ideas. I always enter my travels feeling stressed but soon shift to vacation mode which allows for clarity and inspiration. Include time to read, write, meditate or just enjoy the surroundings. This recharge will replenish your mind, your soul and in turn, your creativity.
For the love of travel! If you can book a ticket on a global adventure, do it. If you have time to pack the kiddos in the car to explore a neighboring town, set a date. Near or far, travel can help us connect better with ourselves, with our thoughts, with our surroundings and with others. It can lead to aha moments, breakthroughs and productivity.
After every trip, I feel a newfound sense of passion and purpose to my work. Take that wonderful wanderlust energy and channel it into your creativity. There is no doubt in my mind that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what is waiting to flow out of you and into your business.
Mallika Malhotra of Mikifoto + Co is a brand photographer and strategist helping women entrepreneurs create a visual strategy so they can share their message with confidence and stand out as leaders. She just wrote a book called, The Brand Photography Playbook: The Insider’s Guide to Planning Your Photo Shoot and Building a Stand-Out Brand. A comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs, answering all their questions about brand photography and walking you through how to plan a successful photo shoot.
Based in northern NJ, Mallika also teaches live workshops on Instagram, vision boarding and photo styling. When she is not taking photos or building brands, she is at home with her three sons and husband, drinking coffee (or red wine) and dreaming about their next global adventure. Visit her website, www.mikifoto.com, find her on Instagram at @mikifotoco or check out her Facebook page. (All photos in this article are by Mallika!)
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