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Creative Benefits of Travel


How scrambled eggs made me a better painter...

Travel inspires creative thoughts in ways regular routine does not. Breaking out of the every day pattern wakes up the mind and reinvigorates it. Interacting with new places, people, and cultures—getting out of your comfort zone—creates a more flexible mind by forcing you to think differently. Scientists refer to this as "cognitive flexibility" with the theory being that more mental flexibility equates to an expanded creative mind.

Participating in every day activities but doing them in new and perhaps strange ways, helps shine a different light on things you thought you knew back home. I experienced this in a very simple way when we were hiking in northern Thailand a few years ago. We spent a couple of nights in remote villages that were very basic...no electricity, no beds, just sleeping on the floor of a hut amongst wonderfully kind and interesting people. On waking the first morning, we were shown how to make scrambled eggs without a pot or pan of any kind but by folding banana leaves into a vessel to hold the egg mixture and then cooking it over an open fire. It was just one simple breakfast but a completely new experience—something I hadn't even considered before—and I could feel it shake things up for me. That was just one moment in 14 days of other fascinating situations and I came home from that adventure physically tired but mentally rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything.

Click images to enlarge

Interacting with new cultures, immersing yourself in new experiences has been proven to give the best return on cognitive flexibility. Just checking off destinations on your bucket list, while still fun, is not necessarily the best way to stimulate creativity. So get out there—experience new things, taste the strange, and have an epic adventure—then come home and reap the rewards.

Here are some travel inspired paintings. All painted in oil on canvas. If you have a photo from a special destination that you would like painted, don't hesitate to contact me for commission information.

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