If you had 2-3 days and a plane ticket, what would you do to jump-start your creativity or inspire your mind?
June 11, 2009 10:43 AM   Subscribe

If you had 2-3 days and a plane ticket, what would you do to jump-start your creativity or inspire your mind?

I am in desperate need of a mind-shifting creative experience. I'm getting ready to take some time off from our startup and I want to jump out of my life for a couple of days. I'm looking for suggestions of cool/creative/stimulating things to do for a couple of days.

Parameters: US & canada, experiential vs drug induced.

Any suggestions?
posted by Occams Hammer to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
depends where you are normally. I live in a city, and I want to get out the the southwest, or maybe Grand Teton and enjoy the beautifulness of the land, go hiking or rafting. When I lived out in the sticks, I would've wanted to go to a city and experience the crazy sensory-cultural overload.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:55 AM on June 11, 2009

I would go some place remote, with sunshine, and a beach and a laid-back attitude.
I liked Grand Cayman last time I was there.
I would not take my cellphone, I would not take my computer, I would not take my iPod.
I would be unplugged for the entire 72 hours.
If pressed, I would take a small notebook and a pencil.
The less stimulation, the better.
The main exertion for each day would be using a bottle opener.
The main decision, what shorts and t-shirt to wear.
The main exercise, wandering around and trying to recapture my sense of wonder of the world that surrounded me without the aid of the internet, a cellphone and without wearing earplugs.

Sometimes a jump-start can be inspired with a lazy stretch and yawn.
posted by willmize at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2009

the Canadian North. Fly as far north as possible to experience 24 hour daylight. if you happened to make it there for solstice, im sure your could fine some raging parties.
posted by figTree at 11:02 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would go to Oregon and see the massive Redwood trees and hike around. I feel like that would really put things in perspective.
posted by scrutiny at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is this aimed at a particular project or is it rather a sort of mental detoxification process? Because I would have diametrically opposed answers for each.
posted by nameless.k at 11:07 AM on June 11, 2009

New Orleans. Go to every bar the locals do, and just listen. Everyone has a story, and they tell it very well. Go to the coffee houses Mid-City for same. Catch every show you can. Buy some comic books and sit on the Moon Walk as the ships sail up and down the river. Buy a cheap paperback and sit on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Avoid the touristy stuff, and just live, even if for three days, a very enjoyable life very different than the one you have now.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Fly to Tucson AZ, rent a car and drive to White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. They allow about 25 people a day to camp there. Highly recommended. On your way back to Tucson come back through the Chiricahua Mountains in SE Arizona.

Or you could do what willmize suggested above, because that's some damn good advice.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:28 AM on June 11, 2009

I would either fly to New York and soak up the Metropolitan Museum of Art ...

or if you live in Ontario or Michigan

... drive to Manitoulin Island and go to the top of Cup and Saucer. I would visit Bridal Veil Falls and the different beaches before the Ontario schools get out.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2009

I have to echo nameless.k above. More information is needed to offer anything beyond generic.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 12:05 PM on June 11, 2009

I would try to do one of these two things:


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/arts/design/25fink.html?_r=1&ref=arts (Roden Crater, a huge earth-work/ sculpture in a crater by James Turrell: Technically this one is not open yet. Technically).
posted by From Bklyn at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would load up on books, candles, i pod (and docking station) pampering items, get a suite and hunker down. Maybe take some things to create art. But, no television, phone, blackberry, etc.

I guess you could do this all in the woods too, just seems like more planning is involved that way.
posted by fyrebelley at 1:01 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go to Burning Man. (No, drugs are not mandatory). It's a mind-blowing experience.

Volunteer to help victims of Hurricane Katrina rebuild their lives. Helping to create a better life for others who have suffered for so long is inspiring.

Do a challenging 2-3 day hike somewhere beautiful - Lake Tahoe's Rim Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, something like that. Be one with nature.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:21 PM on June 11, 2009

Grand Canyon. Rent one of the Bright Angel Cabins. Take the free bus out to Hermit's rest. Take a journal and a book. Meditate on one of the outcroppings. Hike back to Bright Angel. Have a beer in the bar. The next day, take the free bus out to South Kaibab and hike back to Bright Angel.

Beautiful, quiet, not too challenging.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

My creative energy often returns when I have been distracted for a few days. I think many of the suggestions above are saying the same thing. What would distract you for 2-3 days? A hike, 3 days on a beach, or bar hopping in New Orleans? I agree with disconnecting from your umbilical cords, i.e. no phone, no mp3, no TV, no internet. Open your senses to something new. Eat, sleep, run, walk - whatever - but don't organize your day, don't take notes, and don't be anxious about anything. For what it's worth, my favorite place to escape is Maho Bay St. Johns, USVI. If Maho doesn't get your juices flowing, you're legally dead.
posted by birdwatcher at 2:40 PM on June 11, 2009

For me, Death Valley helped me get a few steps closer to my mortality. It can be a bit touristy in places (that is, you'll see other people in most places) so perhaps there are better deserts to tour but taking the back way in via Shoshone and the lesser-used Badwater road really opened my eyes. Having the top down all the way and getting sunstroke helped.
posted by wackybrit at 4:16 PM on June 11, 2009

Response by poster: Great suggestions! I am on the fence. To clarify (and answer @nameless.k) the need is general detox.

I find that creativity is nothing more than a unique combination of existing ideas. If you spend too much time looking at the same walls or living the same routine, you start to produce copies of copies in the idea department.

In the past, I have gone lightning chasing (photography), camping, extensive traveling, etc.

I am loving the idea of combining an inspiring event or place and @willmize's ideas. For example, I would love to go to the TED conference with no cell phone, laptop or work responsibilities.
posted by Occams Hammer at 4:22 PM on June 11, 2009

London, because I've always heard it's so overcast and rainy. And, to be frank, being sad is, for me, one of the strongest sources of creative energy.
posted by trotter at 5:33 PM on June 11, 2009

I would go to Antarctica. They have an open couch, just sayin.
posted by malapropist at 7:32 PM on June 11, 2009

The Poetry Slam Nationals are a more engaging and human-scale experience than either TED or Burning Man. A wildly diverse collection of intellectuals, artists and attention-freaks, and they will love you for who you are, even if you don't. They are my people. This year it's in West Palm Beach, which is a very pleasant part of Florida, and it offers the opportunity to raid the rich straights in Palm Beach proper with drive-by-weirdness. (My Uncle used to live in West Palm Beach. Now he's in the Pine Barrens of Jersey, raising goats and grandchildren. What does that have to do with this? Just go, and find out. First weekend in August.)

One year, in Austin, after Reverend Bart of the Church of the Apocalypse and I and my brother escorted a 6'6" transgender poet, Miss Spell, to an ATM at 3:00 in the morning, and after I offered the shirt off my back to Bob from the Nuyorican, both Beau Sia and Saul Williams get on their knees to croon "Happy Birthday!" on my birthday at one of the slam venues. To this day, Whammo from the Asylum Street Spankers nods a "Hey! I know you, but I forgot who you are!" at me whenever we meet at various concerts and festivals...

And I was a nobody, a schlub, a geek and hanger-on, there to see my sister slam for the Providence team, alongside Sage Francis. This can happen to you... just say you're there for the art, and they will love you and party with you and understand you, no matter how ordinary you are to yourself.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:51 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

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