Why I travel and how it helps the creative process
I find getting out of your comfort zone and normal routine is such an amazing refresh for the mind and body. Don’t get me wrong, I love my morning routine at home. Getting up, making coffee for my husband and I, sitting down together to have breakfast while listening to The Daily podcast, it’s a great routine. We then start our day, work, work, more work, hopefully yoga at some point, a lunch somewhere in there, dinner, maybe a tv show or movie, reading, and then bed. I love our life and and our home together, but sometimes you just need to switch it up and remove yourself from everyday life.
Having a mother who was a travel agent when I was younger really put the travel bug in me. All of my spare money in college (the little bit I had) was spent traveling, Thanksgivings in Italy, Spring Breaks in Switzerland, I got to see so much of the world without studying abroad (something I couldn’t afford to do at the time). When I started my working career in New York City, I made very little, thank you $10 an hour barista jobs, but figured out how to make it work while still continuing to explore the world.
Some years and a few moves later, and I’ve ended up in Denver with my husband. We do a lot of weekend trips, hiking and backpacking in the summer, ski/snowboard trips in the winter, but there is something about being out of the country and in a totally new place that helps drive my creativity to come up with new products and ideas. We’ve made it a goal to get out of the country twice a year, with one bigger, out of the country trip for at least a week. When we were invited to a wedding in Mexico City this past February 2019, I decided it was the perfect time to make it a big trip.
As many of you other small business owners out there know, traveling anytime in September-December is pretty much out of the question. Holiday orders get crazy, holiday markets are insanity, and just trying to keep it all together during that time is enough! It’s a crazy time of the year for me and traveling then is just not something I am able to do with my current business setup. But, February is one of the slowest buying months for small business and handmade goods, so I figured a ten day trip was just what we needed!
Fortunately we had been to Mexico City about six months prior and got to spend three days back in a city we love, eating some of our favorite tacos, walking the streets, and exploring handmade markets. We ended up a the huge Saturday Bazaar filled with hundreds of different artists. Seeing such different work than I see on a typical day in Denver was so inspiring. From the amazing paintings, to the hand embroidered denim jacket I ended up purchasing, to even the colors of the buildings we walked by. The style of goods in Mexico are filled with so much vibrant color, something I don’t often adventure into with my work. I felt so inspired to try out some of my current designs with more bold colors, as I usually stick to neutrals.
From Mexico City we headed to Guatemala for a week, spending time in Antigua, San Marcos and Panajachel. I had an idea of how beautiful all the textile work in Guatemala was going to be, but I was blown away with the amount of detail in the work and how gorgeous it all was. I feel like the entire time I was in Guatemala walking past ladies on the street selling their textile goods, I was expanding my visual library. Gaining ideas to bring back with me to my work, but also stopping and appreciating the amount of work that went into every piece they made.
I think sometimes even those of us that make every piece by hand can forgot the amount of love, effort, time, and detail that goes into creating your work. It was so nice to see work so different than what is all over my Instagram feed, different than what you see in shops here, different than anything I create, yet with the same amount of love, effort, time, and detail that goes into my pieces.
Handmade is something special, something unique, something to cherish. I came back with a whole new sense of how much I appreciate the handmade aspect of my business, just as much as I appreciated all the uniquely beautiful handmade goods in Mexico City and Guatemala. Get out of your comfort zone, go travel, see new things, experience something different, and come back to your business and daily life with what you have learned, what has inspired you, and get working!