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The Art Corner: how traveling abroad boosted my creativity

This past summer, I found myself in a creative low. I was in the middle of my challenge to write a haiku poem for every day of 2015, and it was  increasingly difficult to write something new. My pool of inspiration and motivation was running dangerously low. I felt like I was seeing and thinking the same things every day. My creative process at the time was sitting down and listening to music, hoping something would pop into my head. It was a long and sometimes tedious process. 

A castle in Prague
Visiting Prague Castle in the Czech Republic.

Then I got the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Czech Republic for a month. Previously, I had never been out of the United States. Not only was I introduced to a new setting, but also a variety of new experiences, people and cultures. While at first I was a little bit scared of leaving the comforts of my home in Colorado to go to a new country, it turns out it was exactly what I needed to create a new spark of creativity. 

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Each day I spent in the Czech Republic was a fresh experience. There were always things to see and new conversations and perspectives I never thought about. Each destination I went to was vastly different from Colorado. When I was abroad, I felt like the awareness of my surroundings was heightened. There was never a moment where I felt familiar with something. I never thought I would be crossing and swimming in a river in Český Krumlov, or crossing the Charles Bridge in Prague. But it happened. 

CeskyKrumlov
Crossing a river in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.

Going into a new environment with an open mind to where I was going in turn opened doors to my creativity. The diversity of each day was like a deep breath of air for my creativity. Writing each day became substantially easier.

I’m not trying to say that traveling abroad is the solution to a creative block, but getting out of your comfort zone and doing something new can help. For me, the mere change of environment and experience was enough.

It is so easy to stay inside a comfort zone and live a routine each and every day. For me, it’s even easier with studying for school, and working a job in the mornings. While I still make time to write something every day, sometimes it’s hard to find the spark of creativity that motivates me. 

Finding ways to vary my days helps me get out of that routine. Whether it is traveling abroad in the Czech Republic, or going on a hike in Horsetooth, change is what awakens my own motivation and creativity. This knowledge helps me when there is a lack of creativity inside of me. 

I finished my goal of writing a haiku for every day and am continuing to write. Currently, I have written 404 haiku poems. While I know that not every day will be without a creative block, going to the Czech Republic has taught me that it only takes a change, big or small, to create enough inspiration to create.  

Collegian Art Blogger Seth Bodine can be reached at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter @sbodine120.

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