Sparking Creativity With a Cross-Country Artist Date

 In Consciously Woman

As much as I often long for a change of scenery, or an opportunity to experience a new adventure, the reality of life often keeps me in the comfort zone of my normal routines. I do not often seriously look at new places to spark creative juices, but rather I chain myself to deadlines, to do lists, and obligations.

But, I have spent the last two months doing many things outside my normal routines by taking an extended holiday to travel by train across Canada with my husband. We have never done an adventure of this magnitude. I chose to leave my computer at home, and focus on time for us to create memories, as well as time for me to simply soak up the passing scenery and enjoy the journey. I did take a small notebook to jot down any inspirations that might pop into my mind. This gave me new perspectives, opportunities to see new parts of our great country I had never seen, and have fantastic random conversations with strangers from many parts of the world. Although my husband and I embarked on this adventure together, I had times of being on my own to interact with people I just met, and soak in the passing scenery, which sparked ideas for future writing projects.

Come with me as I share the beauty and inspiration of this extended Artist’s Date with you.

I close my eyes and remember the amazing variety of scenery as I crossed Canada to the East from Saskatchewan to New Brunswick. A late spring meant ice still covered parts of the larger lakes of Northern Ontario, and the fresh green of spring had not yet arrived, but the Canada geese were back. A couple weeks later, the look of the land had changed with the bursting forth of new life in the leaves and grasses. Trees growing from bare rock, tenaciously holding to life in harsh looking circumstances. I watched the tides roll in and out of the Bay of Fundy and marveled at their power.

Returning home briefly, I continued west with the prairies giving way to rolling foothills and then the majestic, wind-swept, snow capped Rocky Mountains.

Mount Robson rose majestically above the peaks nearby, almost completely visible, a rare happening each year. Waterfalls tumbled down the sides of mountains. Bears, awake from hibernation, roamed the areas, and one day I watched a mama black bear with her two cubs. In Prince Rupert, I again watched tides ebb and flow and eagles soar through the sky with their impressive wing spans.

I had the chance to meet people from many countries around the world, and had time for random conversations both on and off the train. My life felt enriched by these conversations with people of various ages, cultures, and interests. I visited family I do not see often, and engaged in their lives for short periods of time. My 18, almost 19, year old granddaughter took me to an art exhibit, and we sat together in a coffee shop doing some art journaling. She encouraged me to experiment with collage from old books we discovered at a thrift shop, colour, and even sparkly nail polish rather than glitter glue.

I embraced the opportunity to learn some history as I toured Quebec City and first hand accounts of life in other countries. I heard the dreams for the future from young people with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others and in the world. One young man was certain that we need to embrace a future where robots will do the work. I saw photos of the Swiss Alps taken by a German couple as they now enjoyed hiking our Rocky Mountains. Some random conversations were light, while others made me think more deeply. With several people I felt a deep connection, almost immediately, and thought of the saying “strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet.”

I had what felt like a very extended Artist’s Date, for although I was not alone, I had time to notice small details. I did not need to rush through each day, busy with the chores which needed to be done. Instead I had the opportunity to observe life around me and make new connections with my husband, strangers, and myself.

I traveled through the rolling prairies, watched spring come in the great Canadian Shield, spent time in the majestic Rocky Mountains and lower coastal mountains and enjoyed time at both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and never left Canada. These beautiful vistas, the wild animals and soaring eagles, along with history, conversations, and family visits sparked many ideas for future writing projects. Photos and brief descriptions in my travel journal will keep alive the memories and plans for further creative projects. Sparks of creativity and ideas ignited a refreshed desire to complete works in progress, try new ways to express myself, and be open to new adventures.

Written by: Carol Harrison

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