How to Take a Creative Vacation

You can seek out creativity in a calligraphy studio in Japan or your own backyard

Let’s Begin With Why You Should Take a Creative Vacation 

The act of creating is a healing practice that adds value to the world and ourselves. With our lives full of technology and social media, it’s important to counteract the constant influx of information with something more human and more grounding. 

As Alexandra Marizy, a recent VAWAA guest, puts it, “In a world where everything is ever so fast and dematerialized, I crave creative breaks because I enjoy the process of making things: it is slow as well as tangible.. And the satisfaction is beyond measure!”

Using our hands to create is a natural instinct--make sure you obey!

Who It’s Good For 

A creative vacation is ideal if you: 

  • Need a push to pursue a life passion

  • Feel stuck in a professional or personal rut and need new inspiration 

  • Want to embark on a unique travel adventure solo or with a friend

  • Need a digital detox to rejuvenate and quiet the mind 

  • Want to pursue personal growth 

Any of these sound like you? 

Keep reading. 

You can take a ceramics class at night to fire up your creativity

All the Ways You Can Take a Creative Vacation 

In Your Daily Life

  • Writing a note for someone, packing a gift, cooking a meal, or styling yourself- you are already engaging in creative activities everyday. See how you can add more artistic flair to it. Maybe try calligraphy when writing a note, or the art of Japanese gift wrapping, or artistic plating techniques for your meal. Embracing creativity in your life is all in the little details. Even small additions can make a big difference

  • Who says you have to leave your hometown to go on a creative adventure? There’s been a rise in creative classes recently, so take advantage. Sign up for a local craft or art class, whether it’s ceramics, cooking, hip hop dance, fiction writing...the possibilities are endless! Check out your local community center--they usually have affordable weekly classes at night, making it a great option for your budget and schedule. Or if there’s an arts school near you, they frequently offer classes for the public.

On the Weekend

  • Organize a mini-workshop with your friends to collaborate and share creative skills. You can have each person lead a short session teaching a new skill to everyone else. Let people have fun and get wild! Invite your friend whose great at juggling, or the girl who makes beautifully intricate marzipan flowers. It’s a fun, unique, collaborative way to learn new things, share a special talent, and get to know your friends a little better.

  • Instead of your usual trendy brunch and afternoon napping, sign up to take a workshop and dive into a new creative experience. Bonus points if it’s in the next town over and you can make a mini-vacation out of it. It’s easy to do, but just takes a little initiative...book that workshop now, and your future self will thank you for it.

Try something completely different, like bamboo bicycle making

On Vacation 

  • A tip from creative travel expert Julia Zoellner: “If you intend to travel creatively, do bring sketchbook and pen(s) with you at all times. While exploring a new place you will surely find those romantic corners, chaotic markets and idyllic landscapes - this is the time to untame your inner bohemian! Draw or paint what you see, rather than taking a brief souvenir-snapshot with your smartphone. A sketch will remind you of the moment, the sound, the feel, the scent and other impressions you may experience. At the same time it's an easy conversation starter for people passing you. (This way, I connected with travellers, locals and other creatives). Saying that, do look out for other Urban Sketchers - they may be just around the corner.”

  • If you want to dive deeper and get more immersive in a skill, embark on a VAWAA. Rather than sun-seeking, spend your vacation learning directly from a local master artist or craftsman. You can learn everything from shoemaking to tango to ceramics and more. Taking a VAWAA is a great way to slow down, learn a new skill, and get a deep cultural experience (disclaimer: I work at VAWAA and strongly believe in its power to transform).

  • Seek out local creative centers in the city you’re in. Every city has a culture center, creative art house, or unique cultural events. Visit them and you'll meet local artists and creatives defining the city’s identity. Instead of passively observing art in a museum, engage with the artists and creators behind the city's current art scene. You can explore their work to learn more about the creative process and find inspiration for your own artistic practices.

Learning traditional art forms is a great way to immerse yourself in local culture while abroad

The Next Step 

You’re now ready to take a creative vacation. So what’s the first step?

Like most things, beginning is the hardest part. I like to think of it a little bit like working out. Except instead of finally getting in shape from kickboxing, all you need to do is pick a skill or art form, sign up for a class, and start flexing your (creative) muscles. Put it on your calendar--it's the best way to commit to yourself. Once you see it there, everything can be planned around it. And don’t worry--it's easier than you think.

When it comes to deciding which art form to pursue, there’s no pressure. If you don't like the class or skill, you can always pick up another one. And the great thing about creative practices is that all art skills are transferable. So no matter if you tried tapestry weaving and it didn’t work out--you'll still use any skills you learned and be able to apply them elsewhere on your next creative project. 

While creating is important, sharing and getting feedback is even more important. Don't worry about how good your creation looks. Just the fact that you are creating is worthy enough. When you put your work out there, it motivates you to create more and keeps the cycle going. 

Julia has great advice for those uncomfortable sharing their work: “Not every creative traveller is comfortable claiming him/herself as such, especially with no artsy academic background to refer to...Personally, I introduce myself as a creator. Firstly, it does take off the pressure of verifying myself as an artist. Secondly, it is a great way to steer a conversation in a creative direction. I mean, everything you do is creative: from cooking to gardening or knitting. At the end of the day, don't be surprised about people being inspired by this phrase and enthusiastically sharing their hidden creative passions with you.” 

A creative vacation is a unique opportunity to reconnect with your creative side and ground yourself in the world of art and creation. It awakens the mind, lights an internal spark, and enriches your life. All you have to do is take that first step. 

Written by Rossi Anastopoulo

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