When I took a sabbatical a few years ago,  I set off for Europe with no itinerary, but plenty of notebooks and eyes wide open. Anything and everything that caught my fancy was recorded and composted.

Long term travel isn’t the only option, of course. Taking regular jaunts to inspire yourself is good for your creative spirit. Even a day trip can yield results if you are open to it happening.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to recharge and refresh my entrepreneurial self.

° Visit a legendary business. Long before I set foot in Rejuvenation, a lighting, salvage and home furnishings store in Portland, I was a fan. I’d been getting their catalogs and loved their storytelling as much as their merchandise.

Seeing the business in person did not disappoint.

Another happy visit took place on a trip to Minneapolis when Alice Barry suggested we pay a call on Wild Rumpus, the imaginative children’s bookstore. Somehow I had never managed to get there when I lived in the area.

These kinds of places don’t always show up in guidebooks, but savvy entrepreneurs who are willing to scout them out, often find ideas and inspiration that they can synthesize in their own operations.

° Browse at a flea market. Whether or not you’re shopping for anything in particular, a couple of hours chatting with entrepreneurial sellers can be a fine way to invest some weekend time.

If a seller isn’t busy, ask about their business. Why did they choose the merchandise they sell? Where do they find things they market?

For some sellers, it’s a little sideline, while others travel the country marketing antique, art or clothing. Most sellers are also social beings and love to share their stories.

° Make a pilgrimage. The moment that I heard that the deYoung Museum in San Francisco was hosting the largest display of Dale Chihuly’s work ever gathered in one place, I knew I had to go. I have been tracking down his work in cities I’ve visited for the past several years, but never attended such an abundant exhibit.

I have, however, flown across the country and across the ocean with the intention of attending a special exhibit of the works of artists I love or to hear a performer or author I admire.

It’s always special to visit an exhibit or attend a concert or seminar that only exists for a brief time. Making the effort to admire creativity enriches and enhances your life.

° Visit an entrepreneurial city or town. When my friend Chris Utterback was alive, I always looked forward to my visits to her in Connecticut where one of our regular amusements was to visit our favorite shopkeepers in neighboring villages.

Like flea market sellers, shopkeepers who specialize in selling things that they love are frequently eager to talk about their passions.

Large cities, too, often have neighborhoods where locals run quirky little businesses. Scout them out.

° Be a tourist in your own hometown. During my days living in Santa Barbara, I always enjoyed visits from out of town friends with whom I could share this lovely spot.

After one of these visits where I played tour guide, I realized that I wasn’t taking advantage of interesting things in my own backyard.

Every so often, get off your beaten path and go see something a visitor wouldn’t dream of missing if they came to your part of the world.

° Go on a treasure hunt. If you’re a collector, you already know the fun of treasure hunting, but if you aren’t so inclined, invent a project and see where it leads you.

Find the best taco or creme brulee within fifty miles of home. Or see if you can discover the most eccentric business in your area.

Entrepreneurial excursions can inspire and inform, of course, but the best part of taking such a trip is the possibility of encountering someone who is genuinely doing what they love.

As Danny Gregory reminds us, “When you are in the deep end of the creative pool surrounded by others full of energy and ideas and examples, you learn to swim a lot better.”

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Bonus Excursion: In Seth Godin’s LINCHPIN he writes eloquently about the importance of creative thinking. “Art isn’t only a painting,” he points out. “Art is anything that’s creative, passionate and personal.” Like being Joyfully Jobless. And the upcoming Idea Safari can help you spread your art. There’s still time to join the exploration. http://tinyurl.com/3w9yxq3

The prolific Martha Stewart once told an interviewer that she had just returned from a trip to Munich and came home with dozens of new ideas. “Everywhere I go,” she said, “I scout for ideas.”

She’s not  the only entrepreneur who finds inspiration when she travels. Would there have been a Starbucks if Howard Schultz hadn’t been smitten with Italian coffee shops?

Shortly after my daughter and her family moved to Austin, TX  I flew in for a visit. Before we went to their house, I got the mini-tour.

When I commented on all the people we saw who were running, walking or bicycling, Jennie said, “This town isn’t about buying stuff; it’s about doing stuff.” I liked it already.

I got even more interested when Hector said, “What I love about this place is all the little independent businesses.”

Those words were barely out of his mouth when we passed a parking lot where there was a shiny Airstream trailer with a giant cupcake on the roof—and a long line of customers. As I was about to discover every time we passed that way during my visit, the long line of people never diminished.

I couldn’t wait to learn more about Hey Cupcake! As soon as it was politely possible to excuse myself, I began investigating this business on the Internet. I found out that Hey Cupcake! is the brainchild of Wes Hurt, a 20-something Texan who says he was born entrepreneurial.

His story reminded me of an article I wrote in Winning Ways newsletter called “Take a Trip, Come Back With a Business”. That’s exactly what Hurt did.

The inspiration came during a trip to New York when he visited the Magnolia Bakery. He says, “I waited in line for 20 minutes or so and was amazed by the enthusiasm and anticipation emanating from everyone in line. That day I started planning what would eventually be Hey Cupcake!”

Hurt’s idea wasn’t exactly an instant success, however. He opened his first cupcake stand on the campus at the University of Texas where about 10,000 students passed by daily. Unfortunately, not enough of them stopped to buy a cupcake.

Hurt was disappointed, but in true entrepreneurial fashion decided to revamp. He changed locations and moved into the Airstream. That did the trick. At their busiest, they now sell about 1,000 cupcakes a day.

I met several more members of the Austin entrepreneurial community when I stopped at a beautifully restored post-Victorian house where David Walker runs a co-working space called Conjunctured. He and his partners have created a place where solo entrepreneurs can come and work in a less isolated environment.

It didn’t take long to learn that Walker is wildly enthusiastic about the Joyfully Jobless life, but this isn’t his only business. He and a group of folks run 302 Designs which produce t-shirts with beautiful designs and inspirational words. He’d just signed a contract with Whole Foods who will be distributing their shirts.

With all that entrepreneurial energy flying around, it was easy to select Austin as a natural locale for the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree.

Almost any place you visit becomes an opportunity to explore local businesses. I often begin my own sightseeing by checking out independent bookstores. On a visit back to Minneapolis, Alice Barry took me to one of my favorites, Wild Rumpus, a splendid children’s bookshop.

When I was writing in my diary tonight, I noticed on this day a couple of years ago, I’d been in Portland, OR where I spent time at Rejuvenation Hardware, a store I could happily live in.

It’s a wonderful way to nurture your own entrepreneurial spirit, even if you have no intention of running a shop yourself. Seeing someone else’s dream brought to life might inspire a new dream of your own.