Lately, I’ve had the good fortune to do some traveling.
From March into April, I spent three weeks in Paris. While there, I explored the city, and took in an enormous amount of the new culture, sights, and cuisines. This wonderful city saturated my senses in nearly every way, and I absolutely loved my time there. Each day was full of fresh and invigorating activities. Fortunately, I was able to enjoy things at a slower pace than vacations I’ve been on, and even fit in a fair amount of reading time.
Shortly after I got back to the States, I traveled to Florida for two weeks for work. This trip involved a lot of work hours, but also checking out local restaurants and beaches with my coworkers. Once more, the day’s hours were filled and there was little down time.
These recent weeks of travel have brought about a realization: when I’m busy - be it socially, traveling, or with work - my creativity slows down. I absorb so much new material that my mind is completely devoted to processing this incoming stimulation. There’s less time for the brain to wander and think and drive that creative urge.
In contrast, when I’m in a familiar environment and working in a routine, I’m more on autopilot. My mind has more free capacity and can work on ideas in the background. One of the best manifestations of this is the shower eureka.
My creativity doesn’t happen with the same intensity and regularity when I am learning or socializing or adventuring.
I’ve read an article which mentions that time slows down as the brain takes longer to process the situation. I’ve noticed this to be true for things like vacations. But I’ll go one step further and say that, as the brain takes longer to process new information, it has less time for creative endeavors.
Creativity comes from a routine where my body and brain are on cruise control, where my mind is left to think on other things in the background. Creativity happens on the cusp of boredom.
As much as I enjoyed my recent travels, I’m also looking forward to being back home, settling back into a routine, and finding that creativity again.