How to Collect Inspiration While on Vacation

creative vacation

Vacations are meant to take us away from our work. We’re expected to take a break from our daily lives and truly rest so that when we come back, our minds are refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

For the creative-minded professional, however, separating our work and personal lives isn’t so easy. As a creative person, you’re always creating and, in fact, a getaway can provide the very inspiration you need to tackle your next project. The problem is, after your vacation you may struggle to remember all of the great ideas you had while you were gone. Here are a few ways you can collect ideas while you’re away from home.

Find Alone Time

Some of your best ideas will likely come in those moments when you’re alone with your surroundings. When your traveling companions are around, they can easily draw your attention away from the experience at hand. If you can’t venture out alone during the day, consider getting up early and exploring while everyone else is still sleeping. Go for a walk, spend some time in nature, or take an early-morning trip to a local landmark. If nothing else, go to a coffee shop and talk to some of the regular customers. You’ll likely get an in-depth look at local culture by speaking to people who live there.

Snap Pictures

At one time, tourists took hundreds of vacation pictures and passed them around to friends and family members when they returned home. Social media has shifted that activity online, with travelers sharing small glimpses of their experiences. Instead of snapping pictures for other people, capture what you’re seeing for your own later inspiration. You can then call upon those photos later whenever you’re trying to get back to that place.

Keep a Journal

One way to capture your memories is to write them down. Set a time aside each day to note as many things as possible about your experience. The best time to do this is at the end of the day, when it’s still fresh on your mind, but you may find you have better results if you handle the task before going to dinner. Try to use your senses when gathering information about your experiences. What smells did you encounter? What were the sounds you noticed as you journeyed around the city? It can be tempting to only note significant places you visited, but this won’t help put you back in the experience when you read it later.

Take Tours

If you’ve ever gone to a new city, only to later learn about all the great places you missed, you aren’t alone. One way to get an overview of the city is to invest in at least one tour. A qualified tour guide will give you insider information about various attractions that you wouldn’t be able to get without hours of research. Once you’ve completed the tour, you can go back to the places that most appealed to you and learn more about them.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to engage locals in conversation about each city you visit. Locals will sometimes give you better information than even the most popular tour guide. As you visit attractions and dine at local establishments, ask employees how they like living in the city. When it comes down to it, much of what we create revolves around people. You may find your biggest inspiration in the server who takes your breakfast order at the local diner or the couple who owns the bed and breakfast where you’re staying.

Embrace the Experience

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to gather inspiration on vacation. Studies have shown that the mere act of getting away gets the creative juices flowing. The long hours you spend getting to your destination, combined with the downtime you have throughout your trip, will be just what you need to think about your next big project. Be sure you note any great ideas you have while you’re traveling, since you’ll be surprised how quickly they slip your mind once you’ve resumed your routine.

A vacation is a great way to break your daily routine and enjoy the sights and tastes of different areas. If you take advantage of the opportunity, you can also gather inspiration for your future projects. Just make sure you capture all of that information so you’ll be able to use it once you’re back home.

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Piper Morgan series.