Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Creative Opportunities

In the recent weeks, I've felt like my mind has been ablaze. Suddenly, it seems, I'm realizing how different I'm looking at the world since I landed here in Taiwan just under 9 months ago.
Without a doubt, I know living abroad has irreversibly changed me for the better - even if I can' t yet put to words exactly in what ways. Sometimes I doubt I'll ever be able.

In light of that, I have no option but to agree with the recent findings of two psychologists - as reported by Economist.com. Through their study of business students, the psychologists discovered that living abroad increases ones creative and problem solving abilities.

Now, I'm not claiming time abroad will catapult you into a Picasso or Hemingway - though both creators would wholly agree with the findings. But there is, according to this research, a direct connection to living in a foreign country, and stimulated creativity.

As I begin to plan my return back to the States, I am anxious to see how this new-found creativity will play out in my years. The experience I've gained in my time abroad will undoubtedly affect my entire life. This country, and its people, have inspired me to write and think differently than I ever have before, it's challenged my idea of status quo, and taught me more about my culture than I've learned in all my years living there.

I may not yet know how, exactly, this trip will affect me, but it's weeks like I'm having and articles like this one that only further confirm I made the right decision when I packed a suitcase and stepped onto that plane.

...Now if only I could create a route for the next chapter of my Journey.


(Hat Tip: Vagablogging.net : A terrific blog devoted to all things travel.)

14 comments:

floreta said...

love that 'mind ablaze' feeling!! similar to the 'a-ha!' feeling.. that's great, Chase. :) i didn't know that about living abroad but it makes sense and even more reason for me to do it! not that i'm not creative already.. just don't mind an extra push.

hope you continue to travel, learn and experience! the next journey will come.

Don said...

Many of the break-through contributors in one academic discipline, spent time in another "foreign" discipline. It's easier to see and/or question your own culture and paradigms once you've stepped out of it for a time.

Hidden travel dividends: increased creativity and problem solving skills -- sweet!

Jun Loayza said...

man, I really need to get out there and travel. I haven't felt energized and alive in a while. Any other places I should visit outside of Taiwan?

Just stumbled and submitted your blog to Viralogy. Hope it brings you some great traffic!

- Jun

Sebastian said...

Yeah, no doubt travelling opens your eyes and awakens sleeping pathways in your brain.

It's the mix of new, never before experience stimuli AND trying to survive in a foreign, alien environment -- it's very invigorating, Chase. It makes you feel really... alive :)

Can't wait to travel again. I got that itch, damnit. I need to MOVE!

Chase said...

@Floreta, Extra Pushes are definitely great. Like I said, I'm sure it attributed to Picasso and Hemingway's genius.

@Don, Stepping out of my culture and paradigms have been one of the greatest privileges I've received on my trip. Definitely a Hidden Dividend.

@Jun, Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for bumping me towards Viralogy - seems a great site. Recently, I've visited both Thailand and Hong Kong. They were great trips, but a week/weekend long stay just doesn't compare to living out of your element.

@Seb, Very Invigorating, Sebastian. Very invigorating, indeed. Travel man! Get on with it. And if you're headed to the East (or the West, in a few months) let me know.

Andhari said...

Of course it opens your eyes and affect your thoughts in everything, that's what I like most about travels. Sadly I don't stay longer than a month in every place, I don't get to observe any place like you do :D

the girl in stiletto said...

living abroad definitely changed me too :P but i'm glad that i changed for the better. way to go you!

thousandsofmiles said...

Nice post! Yea travelling and spending time in another culture is definitely inspiring. It somehow makes one more mature too. Makes you grow in areas and ways you couldn't have grown if you hadn't made the trip over.

Something I find very interesting is that I have been getting along much better with people who share my passion for travelling. People who have been places, who have experienced this thing you write about. They tend to hang out with one another cause they share a common experience and passion. They have learned similar lessons, even though they can't really define what those lessons are exactly.

Its funny though. As much as I love traveling...I think Im also one of the people who's very much looking forward to just finding a home, having a family and settling down in one place for the rest of my life. Weird combo, huh?

Anyways, cool post my friend.

Reannon said...

I've been thinking a lot about this actually. I was actually writing something for a travelzine about this very topic...how travel inspires creativity. I've always believed that to be true. Just gives you a fresh perspective on life.

There's a creative writing program at the University of Las Vegas that actually has taken that philosophy to the next step and requires that all of it's participants study abroad...or join the Peace Corps. They believe that travel makes for better writing.

But I also find that living abroad has made me view my own country with a fresh perspective as well.

thethoughtherder said...

I have moved countries a couple of times and when I think back (on a dull day) and touch on the excitment of those first days in a new spot it just makes me smile. Its snowballs into thinking about the friends made, the good times had and ends up with hitting google maps to find where I might go next!

Chase said...

@Andhari, at least you're traveling :) Maybe someday you'll be able to extend your trip! (Still thinking about malaysia/singapore?)

@Stiletto, I don't think we could put a price tag on the changes, could we? :)

@thousandsofmiles, I don't think there's anything wrong with settling down :) Planning on doing that in the US? ;)

@Reannon, I'd love to read your article! And I've found the same to be true: as much as I've learned about Taiwan, I think I've also learned about my own culture! Unexpected trade off! :)

@thethoughtherder, Thanks for stopping by! I'll agree with you. I'm not even done with this trip yet, but I'm looking back fondly. In fact, I've found myself on Google Maps just this week! :)
Come by again!

teasinglydiverse said...

Hi, found you on Andhari's blog :) I completely agree - living abroad, and even just traveling in general, really does make you more creative. I think it opens your eyes to being willing to accept that there are many ways to see the same situation. I found it's made me more flexible and patient with people and I'm much more likely to befriend people completely different from me now.
Enjoy the rest of your time in Taiwan! One of my best friends is Taiwanese and she keeps trying to get me to schedule a visit once she goes home :)

deepteshpoetry said...

You write better than anyone I know of when it comes to travel stories.Do c my new poem when u r free.

Lindsay Champion said...

Oh absolutely it helps your problem-solving skills. Here, figure out how to eat and sleep without knowing the language or the culture. Go!

lindsay || newyorkwords.net