The best thing about writing is that you can do it anywhere, and actually a lot of the time we find ourselves much more creative when we are in a new and foreign land. There’s something about sitting at the same desk and staring at the same wall that gets a little old after a while, and whilst it’s nice to have the stability of a home office where we are comfortable and certain in our ability to spend time in a quiet environment – as writer’s we need to be stimulated.
In this article, we’re going to look at several ways travel can improve your writing and then take a look at a number of destinations ideal for writers who enjoy traveling.
Imagination is triggered by contrast, whether that’s internal contrast or external contrast. Travel is perhaps one of the most contrasting experiences you can have, as you have gone from a place of regularity in terms of your environment to newness. Whether that’s travelling within your own country or to faraway shores, there’s a contrast to be found, which can be very stimulating and inspirational when writing.
Indeed, sometimes, simply getting out your house and sitting on a train to focus on writing can be a great strategy. The feeling of making progress is tangible, in the sense that you are getting from Point A to Point B and this for many people has a calming effect that helps ease writer’s block.
Also, it helps you chunk your time, for instance, if you know you’re getting off in 1 hour and 20 minutes, with three stations in between, they act as markers and mini goal posts in which you can work toward. Furthermore, when travelling on a train it is time that you want to utilise – there aren’t the distractions of all the other things you could be doing, you are pretty much forced to sit down and write, when on a train.
Similar to the point above, there’s something about the power of focus when it comes to traveling – if you’re intentional with your time. For instance, you could use a long haul plane journey as a challenge to get a chapter of your book written – or you could spend the time watching movies and drinking the complimentary beverages.
The most significant way travel helps your focus, if you’re intentional about it, is that it feels temporary and purposeful – meaning, you want to come back with a particular result (in part because you have invested money into the experience) and can more easily carve out the time required to sit down and focus.
There’s also much variety in terms of travel, for instance, you could be sitting in a hammock on a beach with your iPad or a notepad – or you could be sat in the hustle and bustle of an outdoor food market. All these different environments will stimulate you in different ways and get the creative juices flowing.
You are going to meet lots of new characters on your travels that can inspire characters within your writing, similarly, you’re going to be exposed to lots of new and different experiences for all your senses. This stimulating experience is rich with inspiration, and almost anything can be used to inspire your work… good or bad. For instance, you could have a particularly bad experience in a hotel that might feel upsetting, at the moment, but could trigger a wonderful plot point in your book.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the world’s best places for writers who want to gain inspiration.
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with a sensational culinary scene. That said, it’s also a very stable and clean destination that is very easy to travel around. Indeed, Singapore can provide a stable base from which you can explore other parts of Asia.
The great thing about Singapore is that it’s pretty easy to pick up an economical hdb rental that provides a safe and secure base (meaning you don’t need to worry about leaving expensive laptops and camera equipment whilst you go off on your travels) plus, it’s really well connected to other places within SE Asia, offering very cheap airfares to places such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and even India.
Marrakech is the tourist capital of Morocco and is certainly an immersive sensory experience where you’ll be overwhelmed by the colour, scents and vibrancy of this traditional yet increasingly commercialised city.
Marrakech can feel like stepping into Disneyland, in that it provides such contrast to the western world that it almost doesn’t feel real. In addition to Marrakech, you can visit a number of more chilled out places that you might want to call home for a few weeks or months.
For instance, Essaouira offers a more chilled out coastal vibe that is centered around an ancient port on the Atlantic Ocean, benefiting from a cool breeze on a hot day, or head up to the mountains where you can stay very cheaply in the shadows of Mt Toubkal (North Africa’s highest mountain).
Thailand is a lot like Marmite, in that you either love it or hate it. Thailand has become a much more commercialised and westernised version of itself in recent years, yet there are still pockets of authentic traditional life to be found. The great thing about Thailand from a writer’s perspective is that it offers such contrast and depth of experience; one minute you can be snorkelling in pristine waters, having eaten a freshly fallen coconut in your hammock, to just an hour later being in a monastic community within clouds of incense and monkey’s gathered around.
Thailand is a pretty safe country to travel in, except for the deep south toward the border with Malaysia, and can be a very relaxing yet stimulating place to spend a few months. There’s also decent WiFi in most places and a plethora of other travellers to keep you company. It’s also the sort of place you could make money teaching creative writing skills in local schools.
mage Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photography-of-airplane-during-sunrise-723240/