Creating Art on Vacation: 5 Ways to Get Creative while Travelling

Published Jan. 28th 2013

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to start thinking about travel plans again. Most people begin the year with a very good idea of where they’re traveling this year—maybe you’re off to your hometown for a wedding, or you’re attending a conference overseas, or you’ve got a huge international adventure planned and booked. Wherever you’re going, it should be exciting and different!

Traveling takes you out of your comfort zone, which can jump-start your creative drive, but it can also be hard to feel motivated to be creative when you’re on the road. This article offers some tips and tricks for staying creative on vacation.

1. Keep a journal

Journaling is a great way to discipline yourself to spend a little creative time every day. Buy a small, hardy blank-paged book and begin filling it with your thoughts. You don’t have to write a diary of your trip—instead, focus on your impressions of a place, ideas that pop in your head, descriptions of local art and crafts, etc.

Even better, your journal doesn’t have to be a written account. You could sketch what you experience, jot down ideas in note form, or even keep a “photo-journal” where you just take pictures of things that interest you.

If you’re more digital than analog, just upload your photos and impressions right to a private (or public) blog, and save your memories that way!

2. Take an art class

If you’re going to be in a new town for a few days, look up local community classes, art centers and artist groups—chances are high that some local artist is offering a class.

Learning a new skill or taking a day or two to simply immerse yourself in an artistic process in a foreign place can be a great way to fuel your creativity. Just make sure any piece you create can easily fit in your bag or be shipped back home.

3. Create a mini-collage

Collage is a great medium to experiment with while traveling, because there is so much material to use. Ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, leaves, rubbings, knick-knacks. . . you can combine them all onto cartridge paper or canvas and create meaningful artworks about your trip.

4. Send art postcards

Every day, mail someone a postcard with something new and creative on it. One day you could write a poem, another day you could send a leaf imprint or a sketch. Or, like the collage idea above, just turn everyday objects, such as bus tickets, into your postcard.

Being able to send someone these fun gifts in the mail will make it easier to stick with your creative outlet, since you’ll want to keep on delighting them during your entire trip.

5. Mix it up with music

Create songs or simply record sounds based on the world around you. You could use an app like Garage band to record and edit sounds, creating unique music from bird-song, city noise or the sounds of the ocean.

When traveling, it’s great to get out of your comfort zone and try something different. If you’re in a new place, you need to explore and experience it, but you should also take the time each day to live creatively and learn to record your adventures in new ways.

Once the vacation is over, and you’re back at home, that creativity will stay with you in the form of journal entries, collages, art projects, and more—a tactile reminder of your trip, and the new, artistic ideas that your travels brought to life.

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