What makes a city? Is it the traffic or roadways? Is it mountains or skyscrapers?
It’s been two years since I’ve walked the streets of Seattle. I remember how it felt to be there. The smells, the sounds, the busyness of the Market, the crisp breeze from the harbor. I remember the drive to and from the city each day. The drive out to the Olympic National Park and the quietness of a deserted beach.
Cities don’t inherently make us more creative but the experience of a city can. Different cities feel different not necessarily because they’re different geographically but because the people, the communities, the experiences, are different. That’s why travel is such a big deal to us. Yes there are beautiful things to see along the way (and those are important) but getting to experience the way other places feel is indescribable and invaluable. That is where the true beauty of a city lies. Not in architecture or geography alone, but in the way it all comes together. The way it makes you feel.
5 Ways To Explore A New City
Seriously, Jen and I put about 1,300 miles on our rental car last time we were in Seattle. We drove all over. The trip to La Push beach to see the sea stacks was over 8 hours round trip. Don’t be afraid to really get out there and explore.
2.) Eat Where The Locals Eat
I love food. We always ask locals and look up recent lists for good places to eat in the city. Because it breaks my heart when people come to Nashville from out of town to eat at the Cheesecake Factory (though, I do love some cheesecake!) when there are so many great local places around. We know there’s good food around somewhere so we always look for it ahead of time.
3.) Talk to people
The people are a huge part of what makes the city. If you have friends in the city, ask them to come out and hang with you for a day. If not, talk to a stranger while you’re in line for coffee. You never know what kind of stories you might hear.
4.) See what’s near by
When we go somewhere new we always try and plan a day for exploring. We see what’s drivable in a day and make it happen. If it’s under 6 hours away, it’s close enough to drive. It might be exhausting but it will be worth it later. Trust me.
5.) Stay at least one night IN the city
If we don’t stay in the city the whole trip it’s usually because we’re trying to save money or someone has offered us a place to stay. But we always try to stay in the city at least one night to get the feeling of waking up and walking into the hustle. Walking to get a bagel and a coffee in the morning or walking to lunch. It’s so cool to wake up in a new place so we try make it happen every trip if possible.
Being in a new city: Trying the local food, driving the roads, being around the people, will feed your creativity. It’s good to be surrounded by newness. To feel the subtle difference in culture from place to place and to experience the natural beauty that surrounds it. All this adds up to an experience that you can draw from to do work. It will help you make more awesome stuff. So be present and soak it all in. Love it or hate it, it will fuel your creativity.
Question: What city or travel experiences have made you feel more creative?
What’s you’re favorite thing to do when you travel to enjoy the city?