moving through space & time, creating memories as we go.
I attended a session at the J&B Hive this past Thursday. The topic: how travel influences creativity. This discussion inspired some of these questions and thoughts below.
I am more and more interested in the mindset of travel rather than the actual packing up and hopping on a bus, a train or a plane. Although that’s nice too.
We take it for granted that we understand what travel is and what it is not. Sometimes travel is less about the movement to a place but rather about the movement through space; collecting experiences and allowing those experiences to shape and affect your perspective.
Here’s an example: I made a commitment to make images on a daily basis. These images could and would be anything; architecture, design, art and so on. The point of this is not to have a huge collection of images on these subjects but rather to force myself to spend a bit of time each day looking, really looking at what is around me. Since this commitment, my view of what is around me has completely turned around. I now look at objects through composition, angles and color. This has been very interesting as it has allowed me the freedom of seeing beyond just the thing or even seeing more of the thing, a deeper gaze. As Teju Cole once put it; I also started to consider these images as small installments on my debt to beauty.
There is a tension between life as a series of ordinary and mundane events that morph into something meaningful versus life as insanely amazing experiences that are unbelievable….chasing highs of sorts. Often it feels like travel fits into the first. Where learnings are packaged and the intensity of the emotions is often deeper and on a larger scale. Perhaps what we are talking about when we talk about travel are these experiences that are novel and different and interesting and lead us to view our lives through a different lens. Moments that allow us to be reflective and deliberate about who we are and what we are about.
If that is the case then it is possible that traveling is not at all about the actual places we see and touch but rather about the feelings we carry as a result of these experiences.
Someone recently mentioned to me that something as easy as their daily commute to work could be seen as travel of sorts. Because that movement allows him to experience parts of Joburg that are very different. From the larny surbubs of Sandton to the grungy CBD.
I will admit that I tend to be more of the ‘experiences’, chasing highs camp. I am definitely prone to Fernweh; a longing to be away from home and be in faraway places. Sometimes I feel this regardless of where I am in the world. It is taking a while for me to get to a stage where I can just make more of an effort to really live in the moment and fully feel all the emotions in real time. Not being anxious about the future or being nostalgic about the past. Hence travel has always satisfied that need for me, the need for more, varied and unexpected experiences.
So on the question of whether travel will influence creativity, I am still not at all certain. I think the ability to make links and connections between seemingly unrelated subjects is what enhances creativity. Having varied experience allows you that ability to have more dots to connect. So perhaps it is about having the space to see life through different eyes, the story of life told through six thousands perspectives.