How to use travel to recharge your creative well

Beat the 9 misconceptions that prevent you from having a great vacation

The vacation you’ve anticipating for months is finally there. You’re three days in, and you just feel tired. Can you identify?

I’ve experienced it far too often. Sometimes I became sick during the first days, or was just tired after the week instead of energized and filled with new ideas.

This happens when we enter the holidays with misconceptions of how we need to spend them. Get rid of them and replace them with the right principles, and you’ll see how your travels will inspire you, recharge you and do great things to your creative life.

This time, I wanted to do things differently.

I’m writing this post from Sao Miguel, a Portuguese island that is part of the Azores – and I honestly love it! An in-depth report and a video will follow, in the meantime enjoy the first photos, and adopt some principles for creative traveling.

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1. Don’t work like crazy BEFORE the vacation

Misconception #1: “I need to work more now and can relax on vacation later.”

Especially as a freelancer (who does not get paid during their vacation), we work like crazy to make up for the time we spend away. The two weeks before my vacation are insane: I sleep 4 hours a day and need to work through dozens of projects.

The principle is often hard to apply, but make sure you don’t work yourself into a burnout. Because if you do, your vacation will not make up for it, on the contrary.

Very often, when I work like crazy and then, suddenly, stop and relax on vacation, I instantly get sick. My body is not pushed to its limits anymore. It senses that it can relax now, and hands me the bill for the hardships it had to endure.

Don’t be fooled: the bill will come sooner or later. So know your limits, and don’t push them, especially not before a vacation.

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2. Take your time to settle in and adjust

Misconception #2: “I only have a week (or two), I need to get started with the sightseeing program right away.”

No matter how far you travel, your body and mind need to adjust. Very often, we do not notice it at once. But even the slightest time or climate difference can influence your body. Give yourself enough time to adjust, at least a day.

Don’t rush off in the first day into a crazy sightseeing program. Instead, use your free day to sleep in, walk around your neighborhood, test a restaurant and just enjoy your day off. This will give your body time to adjust and your mind time to refocus.

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3. Plan the “quiet” time where you can read, write or ponder

Misconception #3: “I have only a limited amount of time, I have to see as much as possible.”

If you rush through your vacation with a packed schedule of sightseeing, you will return tired.

Plan intentionally for a time where you can ponder on life, read the books that have been long due, or just write, maybe pray.

But you need to be serious about this time. Plan it and take it seriously, inform your spouse, friends or whoever you travel with that this time is important for you.

Your vacation has to recharge you, and it will only if you take the time to be quiet and think about your life, be grateful and do the things you’ve always wanted. You need also this time for yourself where you can be alone, without a phone or anything to distract you and breathe the fresh summer air or ocean breeze.

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4. Be flexible and open

Misconception #4: “I need to stick to a strict schedule.”

It’s good to do some planning. But give yourself space to be flexible, and just do whatever feels right. Vacation is the perfect time to do this, whereas we alway have a strict and stressful schedule at home. Be spontaneous and open for whatever the world might throw at you: friendly strangers, a warm rainstorm, a small secret restaurant you discover, a beautiful sunset.

Wonderful things happen when you least expect them. And the most beautiful moments are those we don’t plan. So don’t be too strict with yourself, and do unexpected things. If you’re open, heaven might throw stories at you you will retell years later.

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5. Don’t throw your routines completely overboard

Misconception #5: “I’m on holidays, I don’t need to stick to my routines here (e.g. workout, writing a.s.o.)”

As a successful creative, you have certain routines that help you reach your goals: a workout schedule, writing times and goals, creative routines.

And while you don’t need to stick to them as strictly as at home, don’t throw them completely overboard. Try to throw in a workout here and there, and a time where you still work on your book or blog. Make sure you enjoy it and it does not feel forced, but do it still.

Because if you completely stop, it will be very difficult to get back again once the vacation is over. If you have kept up some of the work, your routine will organically return.

We love our routines anyway, don’t we?
If not, rethink them. You should learn to love and enjoy the process, create the life you want to lead day by day.

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6. Take time for meaningful conversations

Misconception #6: “I need this time to myself.”

Try to find a balance here.

As mentioned above, loneliness is important.

But as important are those deep and meaningful conversations that build is up and give us great ideas. That’s why we need to choose our travel partners carefully. Travel with people you can connect with.

If it’s your spouse or partner, it’s the perfect time to get the feelings out in the open, find forgiveness and fresh romance. If you travel with friends, make sure you show interest in their lives and talk meaningful things. This will fuel you with ideas – if you take time to see what people around you need.

Because this is what our work is about.

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7. Never rush, take your time to soak in the place and listen to what it does to you

Misconception #7: “Several photos are enough. Let’s go!”

Whenever you visit a sightseeing spot, don’t rush through it and leave for the next one. I know, often, there is a lot to see and we don’t want to miss anything.

But don’t allow FOMA (fear of missing out) haunt you even on vacation. Enjoy the places you are at RIGHT NOW, take time to soak in the views, feel the cold water on your skin and the sand between your toes, feel the wind brushing your hair. Be sure to be in the moment and enjoy the places you go longer than for a couple of photos.

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8. Let it be a time where you work through the personal issues and rethink your goals and methods

Misconception #8: “It’s my vacation. I can take a pause from thinking.”

Our world is so filled with distractions and things we have to DO that we rarely have the moment to sit down and look into our hearts. Instead, we throw issues in there like trash and hope they will recycle somehow. But the opposite happens – our heart rots from the inside.

There are people who desperately want escape thinking, really THINKING about the problems, their life goals, and their future. They shut down their hearts. But your heart is the place where the life flows from. If you let it become bitter, your life will cease to be enjoyable.

There are many things that bother us creatives: insecurity, self-doubt, fear, frustration – to name a few. We always battle them, but we have to look at them face to face sometimes and challenge them directly instead of ignoring them day in day out.

If you purify your heart, are honest with yourself and think about what you want to change so sort your life out and live your dreams, you can really LIVE, live from the heart. So use your holidays to do exactly this: Look on your life, inside your heart, be honest with yourself and rethink where you are going with your life. Because our creativity flows from this place – our hearts!

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9. See it as a possibility to gather ideas

Misconception #9: “Vacation has nothing to do with my creative work.”

If you view your creativity as a lifestyle rather than a job, you won’t seek a separation. Your vacation can fuel you with ideas and give you perspective if you look for it.

You need to shift your perspective here: if you LOVE what you do, you will seek for an opportunity to live it out wherever you are. So while you travel and behold the wonders of this world, have a great time with family and friends and enjoy yourself, look out for everything that can inspire: experiences, places, words, thoughts, and write them down.


How great is the feeling when you come back from a vacation and are filled with ideas and creative energy! When you can’t wait to get back to your routines to create and share with the world.

Don’t let your vacation be wasted and rushed, but use it to refill your creative well and capture great moments and memories. And don’t forget to make photos to remember and inspire others!

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Live your story.

Diana

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6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Frank McKinley

    August 26, 2017

    Diana,

    It’s tempting for me to make time off all about my creative work. When you work a day job and have a creative side business, you think, “Awesome, now I can write and network all day long!”

    Thanks for reminding me that’s not necessarily a good idea.

    We all need rest.

    We all need to recharge our batteries.

    We all need to be open to the moments in life that present gifts worth treasuring.

    Great post, Diana! I’ll be sharing this with my network so they don’t make these mistakes!

    • Reply

      dianawink

      August 27, 2017

      Hello Frank!
      I can absolutely relate, the temptation is always there and I have to force myself to be there in the moment and do other stuff. But it helps when you realize that it actually BENEFITS your creativity 😉

  2. Reply

    Mia

    August 27, 2017

    I can definitely relate to all of these tips! It’s so important to relax mindfully– enjoying the vacation, but still being intentional with your thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Mia recently posted…Musée du Parfum in Paris Shares the History of French PerfumeMy Profile

    • Reply

      dianawink

      August 27, 2017

      Thanks, Mia, glad you found it helpful! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Alessandro Tinchini

    August 28, 2017

    This is a great article, Diana; a perfect insight on this kind of topic and this is all true, we have to let loose our armor, our barriers, we have to let life take us by the hand sometimes.
    Alessandro Tinchini recently posted…Beam Ten #reboot: Beautiful BeastMy Profile

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