I was first bit by the travel bug when I was fifteen and on my way to Florida with two of my best friends. Aside from enjoying the splendor of the beaches and the lake in the backyard and the tropical climate, that trip opened my eyes to include more of the world than my little slice of life in Bountiful, Utah had been able to provide.
And now, since investing in a DSLR camera this last summer, traveling is like a double whammy for my eyes and mind—not only does the new place expose me to new ideas and rich images, but now they’re being doubly imprinted on my mind because I’m trying to capture them digitally as well.
I find that I naturally feel more creative in a new place, so the camera gives me even more of an incentive to put some of that inspiration to good use.
This particular batch of pictures is from our trip a couple weeks ago to Kansas City, Missouri to see my dad. Because it was Matt’s first time going, a lot of the trip felt like I was seeing things for the first time too since I was imagining how things seemed through Matt’s eyes.
I’m guessing that’s what parenthood must kind of be like—it’s like the world opens itself up to you anew as you learn (again) how to see the world through a child’s eyes.
One thing I always wonder about after taking trips is this: is it possible to train ourselves to look at our everyday, very familiar surroundings with the fresh eyes that a tourist would have? Is it really possible to “vacation” in your own city? To tap into that creative energy that seems to be ever-present in unfamiliar surroundings?
Case in point:
In Missouri, we did things such as trying out the famous local restaurants (the original Oklahoma Joe’s being one of them), visiting historical LDS sites (including Far West, the visitor’s center at Independence, and Adam-Ondi-Ahman), and checking out the beautiful surrounding landscapes by going on long drives and fishing in some secluded ponds.
After trying such a varied amount of new experiences and places, it was no wonder I felt so inspired as to come up with story ideas galore and indulge in some pretty big daydreaming.
Why don’t I do that kind of stuff on my home turf?
To be honest, I don’t know if I’m mentally capable of truly seeing my city with brand-new eyes.
But I think it would be fun to try.
(Another random cool thing about this vacation? On the spur of the moment, I decided to read My Antonia (the classic novel by Willa Cather) while on this trip, which happens to be located in the exact geographical area we were in.
There’s something magical about reading a classic while in the land it’s describing. It reminded me of reading Jane Eyre while traveling through the European countryside.
It was yet another life source for my inspiration pool.)
Regardless of whether or not I can really get those same feelings at home as while traveling, I know one thing for sure:
I sure am grateful that I’ve seen as much of the world as I have.
It’s a pretty awesome place.
Does traveling inspire you, too? Or does it just make you miss home and routine that much more?