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Between Scandinavia’s visual inspiration and the opportunity to rest and recharge, my mind felt like it was going haywire with new ideas. In many ways, I think that travel is essential for all creatives—even if it’s just an hour car ride away—and the following reasons are just a sampling of why.
As an outsider observing new cultures and ways of living, you’re required to think and communicate differently than you do in your natural surroundings. Through this, you become more attuned to the nuances that you’re likely to overlook back at home because it feels so familiar—especially visual observations like the texture of the buildings in your neighborhood, or the shapes of signage around your town.
Living in the same city and going through the same daily routine, it’s easy to become blind to a lot of these things, especially when you’re more focused on getting your work done than your surroundings. But by exploring somewhere new, I was making a conscious effort to tune into the details around me. Even after my return, it’s something that’s stuck with me and I’ve tried to be more attuned to at home.
Related to the topic above, I also made more of an effort to stay in the moment for much of my trip. In our businesses, we’re accustomed to being consistently present online and documenting our experiences, for better or for worse. But after a few days of leaning into this role—editing photos as I took them each day and writing captions for them as I went along—it started to feel like work, and quickly took me out of the moment.
The mindset of documenting and sharing my travels, being attached to my phone or camera, definitely kept me in “work mode” more than I wanted to be during my time off. While some unexpected work on vacations is inherently part of being self-employed and running a business, it was a pressure that I realized I didn’t need to be placing on myself, and letting go of it only enhanced the impact of my time away even further.
Travel in itself is an exercise in stepping out of your comfort zone, by literally going to a new and unfamiliar place. And I feel like the experience has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone in even more ways. The Scandinavians and their inherent sense of aesthetics opened my eyes to a myriad of new ideas, and has left me curious to try new things I may not have before my trip.
Aesthetics are built into the culture in Scandinavia, and it’s immediately noticeable how unafraid they are to explore things like color, pattern, and print. It’s abundant with character, personality, and a history that tells stories and brings a smile to people’s faces, and that’s exactly what impactful design should do. While it’s nice to be known for a specific aesthetic and palette, the experience has also inspired me to explore a bit more with our projects, namely through color and pattern.
Do you notice yourself more inspired in your own work when you have the opportunity to travel? We’d love to hear about the trips that have left you feeling most creative in the comments below.