I don’t have good inspiration. I need to be somewhere inspiring. I need to travel to be inspired.“
Traveling is without a doubt a dream of mine. I do think that inspiration comes out of newness. When we’re seeing and hearing things we’ve never seen or heard before we come alive. There is nothing like the buzz of an airport to get my creative juices flowing. That place seems alive with adventure and opportunity. So what do I do if traveling just isn’t a part of my life right now? What do I do when I don’t have the money to take off to Italy?
I learn to take small steps. I have started traveling in my own town. I’ve started going to shops I’ve never been in, trying new foods, talking to new people, listening to new music, reading new books. I have tried to change up my schedule, to throw some newness into my routine. This is a way to travel right where I am at, to allow for fresh sights and sounds.
For awhile I subscribed to a travel magazine. It allowed me to read about places I’ve never been and cultures I’ve never experienced. It also was a small step towards a future of wanting to travel. I would clip out pictures or words that inspired me and paste them in a notebook. It’s was a way of saying I believe in my dreams to travel.
While I am taking small steps towards travel, I am also realizing travel is not the answer to becoming a great writer. Tony and I have talked about purchasing a pop-up camper and traveling the country or posting up at cycling races across America.
I’m not sure at this point if it is one of those dreams that we’ll actually go after whole-heartedly. What I do know is that at the outset of that dream, I thought it was the solution to my desire to be a writer. If only I could run off to far-away lands and discover sites unseen. If only I could be places where good stories were happening. Ah yes, but what a lie, because as Sabrina reminded me in her Italy blog post, the story IS happening, already. And it’s happening right where I am at, not just someday maybe.
Back then Tony asked me some very pointed questions about my glorious life-on-the road fantasy world. When will you write and where? Won’t it be harder to write with our family of six all squeezed into one tight place and living our life on the go? If you aren’t writing now, what makes you think you’ll start when we’re at a campsite in California or Maine or Georgia?
It’s so easy to excuse yourself as a have-not. To get caught up in the romance of your dream and think in the meantime you’ll just have to suffer until someone can come and wave the magic wand over your life. You consider your dream and say: "I’d love to do this, but I just don’t have the money."
"I’d love to do this, but I just don’t live in the right city."
"I’d love to do this, but I didn’t go to college for it."
"I’d love to do this, but I don’t have the right personality...connections...wardrobe."
We spend more time thinking about all the things we don’t have then we do creatively digging in the mud to see what stepping stones already exist right where we’re at.
The time may come to go back to school or leave your job or move to a new state or travel, but chances are there are a bunch of steps that come first which you haven’t even recognized.
Things to Consider:
- Pretend for a moment that you have everything you need to begin your dream. What would day one of that new life look like?
- Is it possible you could already be living out parts of that new life currently?
- List all the things you don’t have that if you had these things you could begin your dream. (Do this exercise only if you can't get those disgruntled voices out of your head. No need to brainstorm frustration if it isn't already there.)
- If the things you don’t have were all given to you, would you truly be prepared to start living your dream? Would you be mature enough, disciplined enough, thankful enough, skilled enough, able to manage your time well?
- If not, think about what you can do to work on these development areas in the meantime. No reason wasting today while you’re waiting for tomorrow to come.
- Now, crumple up the "have nots" list and throw it away.
- List all the things you do have currently or are clearly directly in your reach.
- Create a practical list of next steps for your dream.