Imagine you could live and work anywhere in the world. Where would you go? But, wait, you have to choose wisely, considering the impact it would make in your life.
It’s easy to say that you want to live abroad in several countries, but another different thing is to really do it. You can get comfortable in your town, but in the end you are refusing one of your best creativity’s source.
I’m writing this post because yesterday, when I was writing the book review of Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, I was thinking for a while about this chapter of the book:
“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” —Jonah Lehrer
To say that geography is no longer our master isn’t to say that place isn’t important. Where we choose to live still has a huge impact on the work we do.
At some point you have to leave home. You can always come back, but you have to leave at least once.
Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.
My last adventure was in Shanghai (China), living there for almost a year. I already lived in Beijing so when I arrived to Shanghai wasn’t that shocking as it was the first time. If you’ve been in China you know what I’m talking about. Everything is different there. And that was what made me think differently.
One thing is to travel in the summer as a tourist—it helps, but it doesn’t get to the point. Another completely different thing is to live abroad. That’s when you notice how your mind starts to work harder. (And if you go to a non-English speaking area, it’s way better.)
I remember my first three weeks in Shanghai were just moving around visiting the city, sleeping in a bunch of hotels and reading books. But it was after I was settled in my own apartment and followed a routine when I was doing great stuff. The truth is, my best ideas became once I spent there a month—like starting this blog.
I strongly believe the power of moving abroad. You’re not the same guy when you come back, that’s for sure.
I’m not saying you should be constantly moving abroad (well, it’s a good choice, isn’t it?), but at least you should try several times.
Now, imagine you could live and work anywhere you want, where would you go? I don’t know, but right now I’m already packing my luggage again.