One of the most popular ideas from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is her suggestion to schedule regular Artist Dates to stimulate fresh thinking. In Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach recommends the same notion which she calls taking Creative Excursions. It’s something I’ve done for a long time, without giving it such a perfect name.

The purpose of a Creative Excursion, which is intended to be a solo event, is to take time every week to make a visit to a new place to gather ideas or feed your soul. Although it’s easy to find new destinations, it’s equally easy to find excuses not to do so. When people tell me that they don’t know what they want to do with their life, I’m pretty sure they haven’t explored this concept.

Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking about potential creative excursions of your own:

* Spend a couple of hours browsing at a flea market or community festival and imagine yourself as a vendor. What kind of display would you have?

* Take time to go to your library and visit an area you don’t normally look at. Read a couple of unfamiliar magazines while you’re there.

* Slip off tto the movies on a midweek afternoon.

* Gather travel brochures of a place you long to visit. This is trickier with the demise of travel agencies, but not impossible. Start at a your AAA office. Then make a collage of scenes that take your breath away.

* Take a nature hike. Gather seashells if you live by the ocean or wildflowers or weeds for a bouquet if there’s a woods nearby.

* Visit a place like Home Depot and investigate gadgets.

* Pretend you’re an investigative reporter and visit stores secretly making notes on their customer service.

* A great junk store or antique mall is a perfect place to stroll.

* Start a new collection and begin a treasure hunt.

Don’t forget to take a notebook—and maybe even a camera—with you to make sure the ideas that you’ve gathered make it back home with you.

$100 Hour: Organize a tour. (Part 1) Is there a geographic area or subject that you know a lot about? Do you live near a historic battlefield or a favorite fishing spot? You could create a tour right at home that would appeal to visitors to your area. Several companies in London offer popular walking tours covering everything from Oscar Wilde’s London to places where the Beatles hung out. The ubiquitous Pink Jeep Tours in Sedona offer numerous themed explorations. Might you share a passion for your own backyard?

Explore More: John Woods wasn’t looking for a life-changing idea when he went on vacation, but that’s exactly what he found. He tells his inspiring story in Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative explorer looks for history in a hardware store and fashion in an airport.~ Robert Wieder