What’s something that makes your heart speed up in a good way?
What makes your ears tingle?
For me, it’s going somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be, and likely isn’t, a place where no one has gone before, but it’s new to me.
When I’m heading into someplace I’ve never been, my whole being goes into a sort of hyperdrive. Colors are more intense, more in focus. I’m aware of a richer, more complex mix of sounds around me. A sense of 100% open possibility lights up the day. My sense of smell jumps into high gear. I think thoughts I’ve not thought until this moment. I’m hyper-aware of differences in light. Details take on all manner of nuanced meaning. I feel the delicious sense of wonder and curiosity that have been my friends since childhood. All this because I have a new view of the world and the rich diversity of the ways we live in it.
Painters practice stepping back from working-arm-distance to better see a painting’s progress. Why? Because we need to get a new view. When we’re close up to a painting we focus on the detail immediately in front of our eyes, in a narrow tunnel of vision. When we step back, we see the painting as a whole. We can see where the entire painting integrates or not. We can see where we want to go next in the process, or if the painting is complete and it’s time to move on.
I live in the Pacific Northwest US. We have a lot of cloudy, overcast days here throughout the year, especially in the winter. We sort of forget the sun for a while - until it comes out in spring and summer. In a heartbeat everyone is noticeably more cheerful and celebratory. We’re all hailing neighbors and strangers, and making long-term plans. The sky is higher. There’s blue up there! We can see stars and the moon and the Milky Way. We get an expanded and miraculous view of the world.
Transforming our perspective is a life hack. It’s a skill-set, and one which we must develop as artists if we’re to do our work. In our art practice, we set up conditions for reconfiguring our view.
Travel sets us up for transformative, unexpected world-view-changing experiences. Travel has built-in power to shake us up and wake us up.
When we combine travel with an art workshop, we create a super-power. We make an avenue for inspiration, transformation, empathy and understanding.
I don’t know about you, but in my view our world can use all the transformative thinking we can muster.
~ Best, Julia