I’ve now been travelling for just over 4 months since leaving my life as a Marketing Exec at The Wonderland. I’ve been to 8 countries in South America and now on to Central America for another 7 countries; before flying over to start a life in Australia. Well that’s the plan, anyway.
I’m currently writing from a hammock in a remote ecolodge in the mountains of Panama where I’ve been volunteering recently. Sounds heavenly, right? Yes, right… But also my normally busy, creative mind is growing restless in the super tranquil surroundings. Not having lots do has led me to question how to keep my mind fresh, inspired, and interested all the time.
And so, I bring you my second blog post as an on-the-go WonderGirl. My tips on staying creative no matter how busy, or not busy you are. Wherever, whenever. Here we go…
- Keep a journal
This first point is second nature to me. A journal, notepad, fluffy pink diary, moleskin… whatever you fancy. Having one means that you can write down your ideas as they come to you. When you’re on the tube and you see a man carrying his pet goldfish, when you’ve just woken up from a strange dream, when someone in your office does something extremely kind… Inspiration is all around us, and having a journal means that you can jot things down to remember them at a later date when you are less busy. Additionally by carrying a notepad with you, you may begin to look for things to write in said notepad, that you wouldn’t have seen before. Try it out.
A journal also helps keep you creative in another way – for me, it forces me to look back and see my progress in what I’ve written, or drawn, over time. You are constantly living, learning, experiencing life, and when you look back at an idea you wrote a week ago, the great thing that happened to you today could ignite that idea in a different light. Creativity isn’t linear, and your journal doesn’t have to be either.
- Look for details
In your everyday surroundings, it is easy to forget to see the beauty that lies around you. However, every place has its quirks. Look out for street art, submerge yourself in culture, go to local events. During these times, look for the smaller details in what you see. When you take photos, think of the angle that others don’t try to capture. When in a room, look for the vase from a foreign land or the the ornate ceiling that makes it different. When you’re walking to the shop, look for the oddly shaped leaves on the ground.
It is these subtle details that make every experience or action different, and it’s these details that could send your creative cogs whirring.
- Talk to people
Yes! And I don’t mean just pick up the phone, whatsapp, messenger, text, Skype. I don’t even necessarily mean the person sitting next to you right now, but talk to them anyway.
Try talking to different people. Strike up a conversation with the man who owns the corner shop. Talk to the old lady sitting next to you on the train. When travelling, you speak to so many people, all day, every day, that you wouldn’t necessarily speak to at home – and these are the people I find inspiring. Listening to their stories, and listening to what inspires them, makes me look at things differently. It makes me want to be a better writer, a better artist, a better person. There are some interesting people in the world, and they could just be around the corner from you.
- Try and learn something new
Have you always wanted to take salsa lessons? Do you think you’d be good at coding? Do you fancy yourself as a calligrapher? Learning something new, that is outside your comfort zone is an amazing way of getting your brain to work and think in different ways – and if that won’t ignite your creative bones, I don’t know what will.
I’ve been trying to learn Spanish whilst on the road, a necessity rather than a choice, but I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with having a conversation in a foreign language. There’s a whole ravine of resources you can use to learn something new – look up skill share for example. It really is that easy. Whilst you might think that busy schedules cant’t possible adhere to this… Find the time. You really will thank yourself for it – and it gives a new talking point at your next dinner party.
- Make time to empty your mind
Last but not least – don’t let your brain become too full. With anything – work, relationships, plans, thoughts… When to walk the dog, what to have for dinner.
Make time to empty your mind and make space for the new ideas that will come. Whatever that means for you- whether it’s having a long conversation with a friend, writing 5 pages in a journal, drafting a blog post, watching a movie, playing a sport. Do something that to you comes easy, almost second nature, something that you enjoy. Allow time for your mind to breathe, and come back to your creative thinking fresh and ready.
By Emmy Smith, wandering wondergirl