Julia Cameron calls them Artist’s Dates. Sarah Ban Breathnach calls them creative excursions. Whatever you call them, they are worth making a regular event in your life.

“The Artist Date need not be overtly artistic,” says Cameron, “think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.”

The purpose of such solo events is to take time every week to make a visit to a new place to gather ideas or just feed your imagination. Although it’s easy to find new destinations, it’s equally easy to find excuses not to do so.

When people tell me they have no idea what they want to do with their life, I’m pretty certain that creative excursions have not been on their agenda.

With that in mind, here are a few idea starters to get you thinking about potential excursions of your own.

° Visit a Japanese garden or arboretum. You don’t have to be a gardner yourself in order to find pleasure in beautiful landscapes.

° Spend a couple of hours browsing at a flea market or community festival and imagine yourself as a vendor. What kind of booth would you have? How would you welcome visitors?

° Go to your public library and explore an area that you don’t normally browse in. Read a couple of unfamiliar magazines while you’re there. See what resources are housed in the reference section.

° Explore the scrap booking aisles at a craft store. Start a scrapbook of favorite cartoons so you’ll always know where to go when you need a laugh.

° Slip off to the movies on a midweek afternoon.

° Gather travel brochures and pictures of destinations still to be visited. Make a collage for your office.

° Make or buy a card of congratulations and send it to yourself. Send another to someone who could use a bit of encouragement.

° Take a nature hike. Gather seashells, if you are near an ocean or wildflowers or weeds for a bouquet if there’s a woods nearby.

° Visit a place like Home Depot and investigate gadgets you’ve never seen before.

° If you haven’t visited your local museum or art gallery, it’s time you paid a call.

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

° Pretend you’re an investigative reporter and visit stores secretly making notes on their customer service…or lack thereof.

° Start a new collection and begin a treasure hunt.

Got a favorite creative excursion that’s not on this short list? Tell us where you like to take yourself.

2 Responses to “In Praise of Creative Excursions”

  1. Jeff Peters

    Other Excursion ideas:
    *Trade a local campground or retreat center a few hours of work for spending the weekend there in a retreat.
    *Take a writing retreat at a local park or campground.
    *Spend a day alone in complete silence.
    *Look up a listing of local art festivals, pack a picnic and take a day trip.
    *Pick one thing you like to do (bicycling, swimming, walking, painting, etc) and go for an “all time personal best” by setting a one time goal and crushing it.
    *Take a photography tour. Go find something interesting and create an exhibit of themed photographs.
    *Spend a day studying your local history at a museum or historical society.
    *Go to a music store and try out a few untried instruments (maybe ukulele, dulcimer or guitar)
    *Pick a business or company and ask them if they will show you how they make their product.
    *Take an art class at a local hobby or craft store.
    *Attempt something you’ve never done (Go to a gun range, learn to tap dance, ride a horse, drive a motorcycle, go sailing, skydiving, etc.)

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