I’ve been blessed to have a traveled a fair amount in my life. I have been to Africa several times, the Caribbean, Canada and the UK. Most recently I chaperoned high school students in Italy for ten days.
As we crisscrossed Italy by bus, I read Imagine by Jonah Lehner. By some form of divine timing, as I flew home I arrived at chapter five, “Being an Outsider.” I highly recommend the book; we all can benefit by gaining insight into the creative process.
It turns out that one way to cultivate an outsider’s perspective is to travel. What is the big deal about being an outsider? Lehner says, “The reason travel is so useful for creativity involves a quirk of cognition in which problems that feel close get contemplated in a more literal manner. When we are physically near the source of the problems, our thoughts are automatically constricted.” When you travel your mind lets loose and releases suppressed ideas.
Sadly, I didn’t have an epiphany, but I did reconnect with my camera. A part of me that I’ve suppressed since college when I gave up my dream of being a photography major and turned to advertising.
I wandered; I tasted new things, I sat on benches; I watched people, I captured moments in time with my camera. I’m glad I noticed.