Getting Out of Your Creative Block Part 2 - The Culture
In part one of our blog series (click here to read it), we talked about how traveling abroad for extended periods can make you more creative. The more time someone spent living or traveling abroad, the more creative they were!
Remember, we’re not saying to go to an all-inclusive resort with complimentary cocktails to revamp your creativity (don’t get us wrong, those are still extremely fun). But if you’re trying to get out of your creative block and be more creative, it doesn’t work like that.
It’s not just about how luxurious the resort you want to stay at is or how long you stay in one place. It's also all about the culture! If you really want your creative block to disappear for good, you need to get out of your comfort zone and be a part of the new culture around you.
Before we dive into that, though, let’s back up a bit and look at what a creative block actually is. If you remember from last week’s blog, a creative block is described as "a phenomenon best described as an overwhelming feeling of being stuck in the creative process without the ability to move forward and make anything new." (Masterclass.com).
Now let’s dive into how being a part of a new culture will help to kick your creative block to the curb.
Travel Like a Local
Experiencing new cultures means eating new foods, getting to know new people, seeing new places, and doing new things. All of these help to breathe new life into your overall creativity, your creative thinking skills, and your problem-solving skills.
Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone every chance you get, especially while traveling, will help you learn how to deal with any situation that’s thrown your way. So don't try to find the nearest Starbucks as soon as you get off the plane. Try finding a local coffee shop or cafe and order a coffee in their native tongue instead!
But don't just take our word for it. Many scientists and psychologists have done studies that found that people who genuinely embrace the culture they're in while traveling long-term are more creative and innovative than those who don't.
Even in highly creative professions, the results are still the same. Those who have traveled abroad were able to creatively outperform those who haven't.
An excellent study that showcases this in action is a study by Frédéric C. Godart and Andrew V. Shipilov. The study looks at 11 years of "fashion collections of the world's top fashion houses and found that the foreign professional experiences of creative directors predicted the creativity ratings of their collections." Furthermore, the more those creative directors traveled and experienced more cultures and different types of fashion around the world, the more creative their work became.
It doesn't matter if you're a child prodigy in creativity or just getting started. By having these foreign experiences, you are genuinely helping to expand your mind and sense of creativity no matter who you are. Some of the best creatives we know of and consider to be masters at their craft, such as Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, have created their best works while traveling abroad!
Exposing yourself to new ways of living through experiencing different cultural norms, eating new foods, and meeting people with entirely different backgrounds than your own helps your brain think in new ways. Breaking down the pre-established walls of "social norms" that your own local culture has built up around you opens the brain to be rewired.
Our brain's "Neural pathways are influenced by environment and habit, meaning they're also sensitive to change: New sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain and may have the potential to revitalize the mind." (Crane, 2015).
Your Brain and New Culture
This is why it's so crucial that you don't just "vacation" but actually try to live and experience the culture you're traveling in. Every new thing you eat, smell or do impacts how your brain thinks and creates.
When you take the time to explore local museums and learn about the culture you currently live in, whether through art or history, it reflects on you as a creative individual and how your brain makes connections. New or old.
When you finally take that step to be a part of the new culture around you authentically, your brain can think in several new ways you wouldn't have even thought possible.
Going back to the study mentioned in our previous blog by Galinsky and Maddux, they concluded that "living (but not traveling) in and adapting to other cultures was associated with greater creativity." However, when they say “not traveling,” they just mean that you shouldn’t go to an all-inclusive resort and expect a creative boost. Instead, you should actually go to a small town or city in a different country to experience a new culture firsthand to really get those creative juices flowing.
So remember, when you finally take that leap to go somewhere new and exciting, try to experience it like a local and dive into the culture you’ll be living in for however long you’re staying.
Don’t be afraid to be authentic and do as they do!
And remember to always, ALWAYS be respectful of the culture that’s around you. We cannot recommend it enough to do your research and learn what it's actually going to be like when you get there. Look up common phrases in their language, know what types of food are delicacies there, find out what time they usually eat, what their cultural norms are, and anything else you can possibly think of!
This will help you feel more relaxed when you finally get there and make the locals feel more appreciative of you for actually trying to be a part of their community and culture. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about a new place and have some fun trivia to tell your friends and family when you return.
Now that we’ve talked about how the length of time you spend traveling and how embracing a new culture positively impacts your creativity, we need to talk about something that’s just as important for your creativity… your self-confidence!
In part three of our blog series for Curiosity 2 CREATE, we will continue our journey on creative traveling and how it boosts your creativity, self-confidence, and sense of community.
In the meantime, check us out at Alpacka My Bags and discover the many ways and places you can travel! You can also learn more about who we are and how we can help you reach your goals through traveling. For starters, we just went on a month-long trip to Italy, so here you can find some of our tips and tricks for your first time in Italy and what it’s like to actually live in a different country for a while.
See you in the next blog!
We are Alpacka My Bags, and our goal is to help encourage you to go and explore the world that's around us. Whether that's through food, culture, history, art, or even adventures in nature, we want to encourage you to be the best version of yourself while becoming a worldly explorer.