Writing inspirations: travel

A habit that I've had since I was very young is to make up stories about people I see around me. This can often get quite involved, and, being a very empathetic person, I sometimes bring myself to tears with the invented sadness of passing strangers.

Traveling is an excellent way to work on this exercise. Hundreds of people walking by, with so many different bags and clothing, speaking so many languages, it's nearly impossible to not be curious about them all. Where are they going? Work, or family, or fun?

Traveling during the week always makes me extra curious. All of these people are on vacation at the same time. We like to think that we're so original but here's the proof that hundreds of other people thought the exact same days you chose for your vacation would be perfect for theirs. How dare they!

Travel is good for writers, in different ways. Some are inspired by the beautiful scenery, the local cuisine, or the historic towns. I'm inspired not so much by what I see, but by the stories I make up about people walking by.

Travel also helps get you out of the routine of writing in the same place. You don't necessarily have to go far to do this. When we were at the beach at the beginning of the month (did you see my pictures on Facebook?) I had so many new ideas, just from being in a new place only two hours away from home.

For me, travel is about leaving your comfort zone and trying new things. Even if "new" just means a different restaurant for lunch, or an alternate route for the commute home. Your brain is forced to take everything in and interpret it, rather than ignoring what's around you by using the same old neural pathways you're used to.

So try something new today. Travel to a new grocery store or take a walk around a new park. Let yourself wonder about the people you see, how their daily routines must be so similar yet so different than yours, living just a few blocks or miles away from you. Open your mind to the richness of the world around you and see what ends up on the page!