Travel and leisure have for a long time been used as a tool to boost creativity and expand one’s thinking. From Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain to Stefan Sagmeister and James Jean, creative professionals of all sorts have spoken to the value of travel and time off and its effects on the creative process and one’s overall state of mind. 

For the past two weeks I’ve traveled through Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Naples, Positano, Capri, and Pompeii. Whether it was the incredible food and drink, the stunning sites and history, or the lovely people I had the pleasure of meeting, the experience was a great one for more reasons than I could name.

Having been home for a few days now (just long enough to kick the jet lag and the smack in the face that is reality), I have become increasingly aware of the rush of creativity I’m experiencing. In my opinion nothing leads to more breakthroughs than leaving one’s comfort zone, and traveling in a foreign country or city has a tendency to do just that. 

When we travel, everything from the scenery to sounds and scents can inspire us. New foods and conversations with people from different cultures are all creative arrows to add to our figurative quivers. The newness of it all tends to force us to be more aware and observant of our surrounding. We look into every shop window, up at every piece of fine architecture and smile at each stranger that passes us by. Traveling forces us to PAY ATTENTION.

As amazing as traveling can be for our creativity, we can apply the same principles to our daily lives at home. Being in a different location naturally increases our awareness, but what if we were to apply this same awareness to our everyday lives? Inspiration is everywhere. 

I invite you to live each day like you’re traveling. Always try and observe your surroundings like a tourist, challenge yourself to constantly notice things you have never seen but driven past countless times or perhaps stop and do that touristy thing that locals are too cool to do.

Although the ancient streets of Rome or the golden expanse of the African wilderness may have a surplus of inspiring sights and sounds, so does your home city. You just may need to look a little harder, past the fog of repetition and familiarity.