How travel can inspire writing (Both fiction and non-fiction)

When suddenly placed in a new location our brains tend to do funny things. We inhale air we have never tasted, brush our fingers along foreign rock, and bath our eyes in completely new sights. Something about travel bungles our minds. It’s as if we’ve received an electric shock and our neurons have gone nutty, rearranging themselves to create new thought patterns. Of course this doesn’t literally happen but change in environment and routine can cause us to think differently, making new synapses in our brains. Travel can introduce a new perspective, one we’ve never thought of before, or provide fascinating characters that we never would have found from our couches. When we find ourselves somewhere new we tend to pay more attention to everything around us. Our heightened sense of awareness reveals things we might not have noticed if we lived there. Travel can perhaps be described as shock therapy. Removing oneself from an everyday routine can be utterly refreshing, especially for a writer.

  • This is a really cool topic. Maybe to make it a more focused discussion, give some examples of authors who were inspired by places. It is a little broad so giving an example of a book that was inspired by a place or by travel will help. – birdienumnum17 7 years ago
  • I can relate to this. Every time I travel I make sure to bring a fresh notepad and a good stack of pens. Being in a new environment is great for making you feel inspired. – TheK3 7 years ago
  • Without travel, we are prisoners to our own lives. Trapped within our schedules, just another pawn of society. Travel provides an escape to the systematic mundanities of life. – finmb99 7 years ago
  • This sounds like a very fascinating topic. I know from personal experience that travelling has enabled me to think of many ideas for plot, historical settings and character development, and can assist in painting more accurate context for works that are set in other countries and/or time periods. – SophIsticated 7 years ago
  • Yes, travelling can make for more interesting stories because you are able to relate to the place better after visiting it. Also if you are creating a fictional place you can still that place as the backdrop to you fictional place. – Sazadore 7 years ago
  • Writing freed the mind from the burden of memory, led to development of more rational, and reflective thought, and allowed for communication beyond the limitations of space and time. Next level is accessible due to the development of the Internet: we can combine writing with pictures, animations and sound. – seadspuzic 7 years ago
  • I love the idea of this topic. Every time I travel to new places, I scramble to put down notes of everything I encounter - sights, sounds, tastes... There's nothing like being in a new country immersed in another culture to get the creativity flowing, especially when you dig a little deeper and research the history of the places you're going to as this can lead to more interesting stories. – CandiceLocklee 7 years ago
  • excellent topic choice, I find travelling has a similar effect on me. Dreams become far more vivid and memorable; due to the amount of new experiences had in the daytime. The constant refreshing of ones surroundings provides a writer with inspiration for creative thought, giving a writer the basis for; a new storey, character or setting. Travelling distorts the senses in a really fascinating way, our eyes see unusual things, we hear different languages constantly, our pallet processes new flavours whilst whiffing pungent odours. I think it often parallels psychedelic drug experiences like LSD, explaining why the effects are known as: 'tripping'. – Iliasbakalla 7 years ago
  • Agree traveling allows you to experience other cultures. If you're an Artist, writer etc. Bringing knowledge outside of where one lives helps expand our minds and become more in tune with other people in the world. – rghtin2be 7 years ago
  • In the 19th century in Britain there was a rise of what was known as the travelogue - a travel novella that was aimed at capturing both the exotic wider lands of the world, but also reinforces the superiority of the British citizen. One of the first spoofs of this is HG Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. I think when we talk about the travel novel we also need to comment on the issue of the author lens - the interpretation of experiences and culture through the contextual background of the author's own background. Looking at post-colonial literature theory in relation to travel novels can be both enlightening and depressing for this reason, but I think it is still an area that needs careful consideration. Just a thought. – SaraiMW 7 years ago

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