Julia Cameron calls them Artist Dates. Sarah Ban Breathnach calls them Creative Excursions. Whatever you call them, they’re 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 away regularly to visit a new place, gather ideas, or just 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 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. For several years, I lived within walking distance of a Japanese garden and I visited it whenever I needed a lift.

° Spend time browsing at a flea market or community festival. Imagine yourself as a vendor. What kind of booth would you have? What catches your eye? What turns you off? How would you welcome visitors?

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

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

° Slip off to the movies on a midweek afternoon. It’s almost like having a private screening if you catch the first showing on Tuesday. You may also feel slightly decadent.

° 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. Then send another to someone in need of encouragement.

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

° Visit a hardware store and investigate gadgets you’ve never seen before. Imagine having a project to use one of these tools.

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

° A great junk store or antique mall is another perfect place to stroll. Talk to the folks working there and find out what kinds of treasures are popular.

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

° Start a new collection and begin a treasure hunt. You could begin by finding all the treasures hidden in your own neighborhood. It’s not unusual for folks to overlook things in their own backyard that visitors come to see.

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.

The other day I was hanging out with my grandchildren when Zachy, who’s not yet 4, decided to turn his younger brother’s cradle into a helicopter. He tipped it on end and struggled to cover it with blankets.

The contraption was wonky and kept slipping across the wooden floor. Zachy was undeterred.

I suggested he abandon the project, but he kept at it. “I’m making an awesome helicopter,” he explained.

I’ve known Zachy long enough to know that determination is one of his trademarks. Once he has a vision, he follows through. He is unimpressed by adult wisdom and advice. It’s obvious that he would rather struggle than settle.

Zachy reminded me that innovation can be messy and uncomfortable, but when we’re curious that doesn’t matter much.

I also realize that without curiosity it’s hard to make things happen or to make much of a difference.

Seth Godin’s book Tribes has much to say about the importance of recovering our curiosity. “I don’t think it’s a matter of saying a magic word; boom and then suddenly something happens and you’re curious,” he writes.

“It’s more about a five- or ten- or fifteen-year process where you start finding your voice, and finally you begin to realize that the safest thing you can do feels risky and the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe.

“Once recognized, the quiet yet persistent voice of curiosity doesn’t go away. Ever. And perhaps it’s such curiosity that will lead us to distinguish our own greatness from the mediocrity that stares us in the face.”

This weekend I’m headed to Denver to teach at Colorado Free University, one of the longest-running curiosity incubators in the country. I’ve been wondering if the people area realize how fortunate they are to have such a treasure in their midst.

While I’m looking forward to meeting the people who are curious about how to establish themselves as an expert or make a living without a job, I’m especially excited to see who shows up in my new program, Become a Great Idea Detective.

I could have called it, I’m Curious. Now What? because it’s loaded with tools for exploring and expanding ideas. Besides that, hanging out with curious people is at the top of my list of favorite activities.

“It’s taken me three decades to unlearn the impulse to be practical,” confessed writer Sarah Ban Breathnach. “Just imagine what you might have accomplished if only you’d been encouraged to honor your creative reveries as spiritual gifts.”

Happily, it’s never too late. If you’re curious.

Successful writers are, of course, also entrepreneurs. Shaping words and ideas and sending them out into the world is their way of honoring their calling. Here are five insights that apply equally to any personal endeavor.

Consider every path carefully testing it in whichever way you feel necessary, then ask yourself, but only yourself, one question: ‘Does this path have a heart?’ The path that has heart will uplift you, ease your burden and bring you joy. The path with no heart will make you stumble, it will break your spirit, and finally cause you to look upon your life with anger and bitterness. ~ Carlos Castenada

It has taken me three decades to unlearn the impulse to be practical.  Just imagine what you might have accomplished if only you’d been encouraged to honor your creative reveries as spiritual gifts. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

You can only be truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money the goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you. All the other tangible rewards will come as a result. ~ Maya Angelou

Don’t get stuck with where you have not succeeded. Go on to something else. You don’t know what will unfold. None of us has as much time as we think. ~ Natalie Goldberg

Good things as well as bad are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire; if you want to get wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, peace eternal life, you must get close to, or even into   the thing that has them….They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality.  If you are close to it, the spray will wet you ; if you are not, you will remain dry. ~ CS Lewis