I’m not going to lie to you: I’m a shy person. I get anxious when I don’t have complete control over the situation, and I tend to over-plan when it comes to things that need careful thought and consideration.
And yet, I love to travel.
Travelling to me has always been my escape. As much as I dream of having a place to call home, I still can’t deny how much I love to explore and see new places. There’s just something so exciting about things being new, and how a change of pace can be just what I need to clear my head and give me new inspiration.
And as a visual person, that change of scenery is incredibly necessary. I tend to stagnate if things stay the same for too long, but going away even for a weekend to a new city or town is enough to reinvigorate my creativity. It’s about things being different, and seeing how other people in the world live their lives in what, to them, is probably just as mundane and simple as my hometown is to me.
I’m aware that probably makes me sound like an annoying tourist, but I’m not going to lie when I say that’s one of my favourite things about travelling. Seeing new things, whether it be something big like famous landmarks or even something as simple as different plants in these locations, is just so exciting to me. It gives me a chance to try something new, and as a photographer, it provides some unique challenges that take me out of my comfort zone.
I was fortunate enough to go to Paris last May, this time with a proper DSLR camera in tow instead of solely relying on my phone. I have been to Paris before, albeit rather briefly at times, but this time I had a camera that could take night photos. And what better place to try it out than the City of Light? That was one of the first times I got the chance to really attempt night photography - or any travel photography - with a camera that could be what I needed it to be as a tool for capturing the beauty of the night in a city that practically goes out of its way to make the night beautiful.
As I’ve said, I’ve always been a visual person. Now that I have the tools and knowledge to capture the things I see in the way I desire to capture them, I find myself wanting, even more, to start travelling the world. I already have these grand plans to road trip across the States, see the fjords of Norway, go hiking in Iceland. While the trips themselves will be incredible experiences, I’m also thinking about the photo series I will be able to produce because of them. Just knowing that each of these places will be a new landscape I’ve never seen before, and an experience I’ve never had before, already gives me so much inspiration and I haven’t even made plans to go there, yet. I know in a lot of these instances the imagery won’t be anything new, as scores of photographers and artists have come before me to capture the same things, but it will still be new to me. And I hold on to the hope that what my eye catches might be different than those before. Maybe the weather will be different, or the time of day. But regardless, it will be something that I see as beautiful, and worth capturing, and that is something I personally see as one of the key things of being an artist. It’s the world around you - sometimes it’s easy to see the beauty in it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth preserving if only for yourself to remember.
A change of scenery is important for creative people. I strongly encourage anyone who might seem stuck creatively to even try and go one town over. If you live in a big city, go visit a small one, or if you live in a small town go to a city. Just for a day. Seeing a new place where life is different to you gives you a chance to reinvent yourself. You don’t have to go across the world to get that, either - you just need a change of pace. You need to be able to see something new, something that makes you say, “Well isn’t that neat.”
Change is good, and it can be incredibly inspiring. Do not allow yourself to remain trapped in one setting all your life - you will only find stagnation if you do.