Where does creativity come from? Steve Jobs and Beethoven took long walks. Hemingway wrote while traveling in Cuba, and Mark Twain’s only best seller was written while traveling around the Mediterranean on ship. There have been many scientific studies about the effects of travel on a person’s creativity, and many of these can be found via a simple Google search. But I don’t need to read these articles, because I know that for myself, I write all my best work by composing music while traveling.
For over a decade my musical mind was stifled and restricted to those few moments of the day when I could play my guitar. More times than not, this available time came without the lightning bolt of inspiration that strikes me frequently throughout the day. I can’t think of how many times I allowed frustration to get to me when I would strum my acoustic guitar aimlessly in hopes of awakening the monster of music who possesses my soul from moment to moment, episode by episode, only to abandon me with the arrival of a convenient time to play.
At one point, and for years on end, I gave up playing music entirely. I worked all the day and studied all the night, then there was dating and travel, then marriage, career, and the kid. How could this guy hope to be the mad music maker who had time to kill in high school and college? I have traveled extensively through China and much of East Asia, and along the way I found music – though I had few means with which to compose. I have found inspiration in the rhythms of the lazy sea in Phuket, the train tracks in Kyoto, the breeze over the tea fields in Hangzhou, and the clamor of voices in Taipei’s night markets. I have spent countless nights (and early mornings) singing karaoke in Taiwan and Mainland China … I once sang a Chinese song in the shadow of Beijing’s Bird Nest.
But it all came to me on the road – in travel. Inspiration for song comes in new settings and with new feelings. Sure, I do often come home from work to write a song on my trusty old Seagull acoustic, but more frequently I can be found slinging the blues on my lunch break, or blasting a ballad by the campfire. It is unfortunate that our conventional musical instruments cannot safely travel with us everywhere. There are some places I will simply not bring my guitar.
Yet fortunately, new technology allows me to bring a whole band, an entire orchestra in my attaché case or in my pocket with my ipad. As a result, I compose as I go, not afterwards.
Travel inspires great things, and for me it inspires the emissions of my soul – music. With new breakthroughs in technology, I can innovate wherever I wish to go. I take it with me.
Travel and create now. Make music on the go, before it slips away. Where will you rock?