Avignon, France

Editors note: This is a guest blog post by Charlie Stamp, freelance Tour Guide, co-owner of CityClue and co-host of the popular Drinks & Links free London networking events.

Travel. An excuse to get away from it all, sometimes even run away.

But travel can be so much more that just a break or a rest, it can reignite your creativity and passion, here’s how it’s helped me.

1 – Clear your mind
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day to day business of life. It’s just the way it goes, stuff needs doing and it needs doing now. Focus can fall very much on the present and longer term thinking can be seen as daydreaming by some.

Being somewhere entirely different can help clear the mind and remove oneself from the constant interruptions, chatter and buzzing devices that surround us. Teachers of meditation often refer to the mind as a still lake with external interruptions being like stones cast into it, causing waves and clouding the water. I’ll never forget waking up beside a lake on the south coast of Australia, it’s the most peaceful I’ve possibly ever felt in the morning.

2 – Get a different perspective
Equally the day to day and familiar can lead to a comfort and lethargy that may stall the creative process. Experiencing new sights, sounds and smells can work wonders in regaining your creative edge. You might pick up ideas, styles, designs, recipes and much more that would have never popped into your lovely brain amongst the same surroundings and people.

It’s all too easy these days to endlessly browse online for inspiration but nothing beats throwing yourself headlong into a place you have never been. I remember the first long haul trip I took, leaving the airport and stepping into the craziness and humidity of Bangkok. I was immediately struck how entrepreneurial people can be particularly when they have to be, like the guy selling coconuts to cool down weary visitors on every corner.

3 – Have a change of culture
Coming face to face with a culture that’s a little bit or far removed from your own can work wonders for sparking off inspiration. When you are colliding directly with new ways and means of doing things, which may in fact be very old, you are sometimes forced to adopt them.

I mean, who wants to be the traveler that goes about demanding a three pin socket and telling people to drive on the left? Getting away from the home grown culture can be truly refreshing and even if it’s not how you would choose to live or work, it’s great to challenge your own practices.

4 – Build some excitement and energy
The very definition of travel suggests movement and we all just about remember the bit from physics at school which states movement and energy are infinitely interlinked.

Have you ever gone for a little jog or a walk even as you felt you needed some fresh air? The very action of getting off your bottom and moving about often motivates you and travel is that to the power of umm, a lot.

You might even surprise yourself with how energetic you begin to feel whilst traveling, often helped by the thought that you may not return to that place again so you will make the most of it. I never thought I would have the willpower or the physical energy to drive from the UK to Mongolia but I did it in 42 days. That was 42 mornings of waking up somewhere different and constantly moving on but I felt way more alive and energised across the whole trip than I have done sitting on the sofa night after night.

5 – Triumph over any challenges
It all depends how extreme the experience but there’s always a challenge, big or small, involved with travel. Overcoming challenges in a foreign land can make you feel like you can take on the world sometimes, as effectively you are. I remember thinking this as I blundered my way through eight different country borders in Central America, it gave me a real perspective on what could be achieved when the situation called for it and somehow I made it all the way from Panama to Mexico.

So what’s stopping you writing that book or starting that business when you’re back home? Getting out of your comfort zone becomes second nature through travel.

Over to you

How has travel helped to inspire you? Let’s hear your story in the comments.

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