As a travel writer, I am inspired by the world around me. If I want to formulate new ideas, I will often take myself off to a quiet spot in a park or a public square with just a notebook and pen, and observe what I see. I don’t always know what my writing will turn into, but that’s part of the fun. Sitting with the possibility of inspiration and seeing what comes out. But inspiration can be a fleeting, fickle and very individual phenomenon. I asked several travel writers and bloggers what inspires them… Nature and people were recurring themes, which is apt for a group of people who are passionate about exploring the wonders of the world and sharing their stories.
Connecting with nature
“The other day I found inspiration passing by a field of horses on Oahu. I then saw a group of local boys with long, black hair, and I felt the wind blowing on my face. It hit me, again, that I am living my dream here in Hawaii, and that inspires all the work that I do.” – Jill Kozac.
“I am a surfer so I definitely find inspiration when I am sitting out in the water waiting for waves – blue skies, clear water and waves.” – Rach Dobson.
“I feel inspired when I’m exploring nature. Usually I travel along coastlines seeking the most rugged places. I get restless sitting around and doing nothing on those pristine, white sandy beaches. Take me somewhere with high cliffs, moody ocean waves, strong winds and inspiration will smack me as hard as the waves slamming against the sharp rocks below. There’s something about the ocean that stirs all my emotions together and makes me want to pour it all out in my writing. I’ve written a fictional novel based on how I feel about the ocean and it’s how I decided on the blog title and social media handles ‘Wander the Blue’. Other places in nature – mountains, forests, fields, provide a sense of peace and calm, but none compare to the powerful inspiration I feel swimming, walking alongside, sailing or diving in the ocean.” – Ashley Bowes.
“From the first time that I learned to take shelter in our backyard from a chaotic childhood, to yesterday, when I walked with my son under a brilliant Northern Arizona night sky, I have felt inspired and comforted by the outside world. Most of my writing in novels, short stories, essays, columns and radio commentaries has come to me from being quiet in wild (and not-so-wild places). I have never felt inspired to write by anything I’ve seen on the Internet – except an occasional political piece.” – Mary Sojourner
“Mt. Koya in Japan was a place that felt different the moment I stepped of the train. I got lost in the woods at night where I heard flutes playing and followed the smell of incense until I bumped into a curiously small monk (smaller than my four year old) and ended at a place where a monk has been in meditation for centuries. Completely surreal. Places like this sometimes shake my soul, and haunt me forever.” –Amie Menginel.
Getting off the grid
“Inspiration hits me the most when I am off the grid completely. In places like Death Valley, with no internet, no cell signal, nothing – my mind finds a certain peace and is allowed to roam freely without the anxiety of awaiting interruption. It’s blissful.” –Joanna Kalafatis.
Connecting with other people
“People and their stories inspire me–when I meet someone who is really passionate about something (the environment, music, education, could be anything really) or is doing something extraordinary, it fuels my own creativity. Suddenly I have so many ideas in my head and the words just flow like they might not have in a long time.” –Natasha Amar.
“People. I feel that my writing comes naturally when I meet people who inspire me, or leave a mark somehow. I love telling their stories, or how the moments and/or places we shared were influenced by their presence. I also believe that by telling the stories of people who are making a difference we can inspire other people.” –Filipa Chatillon de Oliveira.
After setting an intention
“I find that inspiration hits me hardest when I actually sit down with the intention to write. I can dream all I want, but until I make that commitment to go for it all my ideas are really only half formed.” –Paige Ashley Smith.
Being on the move
“My muse seems to have a travel bug. Inspiration strikes when I’m out hiking or making a long-distance drive. I’ve learned to carry a voice recorder to capture ideas, inspirational first sentences, or even outlines for an entire story. As soon as I get back to my office, I can usually just sit down and write.” –Cathryn A. Hoyt.
“I find the best inspiration while traveling. If I stay at a cafe and write in my small notebook while drinking or eating something relaxed, those times generate the most valuable ideas, because they are recorded in the present moment.”—Iuliana Bucurescu.
“Just sitting on the bus, thinking.” –Stella Brown.
“From Ella Fitzgerald to Shakira. Listening to their lyrics wakes up my feelings and helps me write.” –Zacil Nash.
Lively public places
“I find my inspiration in public places, not overcrowded but with people around. I am stimulated by the differences in people in public places and how they relate to those places. My all-time favorite place to ‘people watch’ is the Jardín, or public plaza, in San Miguel de Allende, which functions like a public living room for everyone in this colonial Mexican town. I can sit on a bench with a notebook and capture the colors, sounds, movement, the chatter, snippets of overhead conversation, the atmosphere… and go home with an entire story or blog post in mind.” –Donna Meyer.