“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
“I never thought I’d be driving through the country just to drive….” – Relient K
Part 3 in the Pursuing Inspiration series.
So far I’ve covered exploring unfamiliar parts of familiar places (the library and the internet) in search of inspiration. Those are good, and you can certainly find new things that way, but sometimes you have to go a bit further beyond the bounds of the known into the unknown to find what you seek. Today’s topic: Pursuing inspiration outside your locale’s limits.
You don’t have to go very far away, just cross the line that defines your knowledge of local geography. Step out of your shire into the next town, city, or county. This can be an afternoon’s excursion or a day-long expedition, depending on where you go and what you find. Immerse yourself in local culture: Visit local landmarks and icons. Eat at one-of-a-kind coffee shops, lunch counters and diners. Talk to the natives. Be prepared to get lost and ask for directions.
So what should you bring on your journey?
Things to take:
- A sense of adventure; you’ll notice interesting details that would otherwise be missed.
- Some method of capturing the elusive inspiration; this can be a camera, notebook, laptop, etc.
- Music; something by a local artist, perhaps?
- Recommendations; don’t be afraid to take advice from locals on neat places to visit – so long as you follow common safety sense.
- (Optional) A traveling companion; a friend to share the experience with is always fun, though sometimes you might want to explore solo.
There are also things that you shouldn’t bring.
Things to leave at home:
- Your GPS; you aren’t headed anywhere in particular, and you’re not traveling so far as to completely lose the trail of breadcrumbs leading home (maps, however, are allowed).
- Geographical bias; if you’re taking a road simply because it’s familiar, you’re on the wrong road.
- Assumptions; don’t assume anything – instead, look at everything like you’re seeing it for the first time.
But the most important thing is not what you have with you, where you go, or what you do; it’s what you find – hopefully inspiration. So go out there, intentionally seek out inspiration in your own backyard, and as Mark Twain said, “Explore. Dream. Discover.”