Over a week ago I traveled to New York City for several days for a respite from the daily grind and to seek out some creative inspiration and mental stimulation. I stayed at the Mayfair Hotel not too far from Times Square. Although it's a rather touristy area of NYC, I like that location due to its central location, and it's a short walk to Central Park. The weather was pretty nice during most of the trip, with plenty of sunshine. And I struck a nice balance between kicking around the city alone and hanging out with my brother, who lives in Brooklyn. I did a lot of walking and visiting museums, restaurants, and shops (art, books, clothes).
Spending time in Manhattan has a way of giving my soul a boost of energy. The steady flow of people and traffic and the diversity of cultures, food, and architecture are endless sources of sensory stimulation. Traveling in general tends to set my creative juices flowing, often propelling me to revive my journal writing in order to capture the ensuing stream of ideas bouncing around in my head. It's very much in line with the notion conveyed in my previous post about how exposure to unfamiliar territory can stimulate creative thinking.
During my trip I tried to photo-document my experiences, which is something I have never really done in the past, mostly because I have always felt that taking photos is a distraction and detracts from the in-the-moment enjoyment of the one's travels. But I was recently inspired while reading "An Illustrated Life" by artists who conveyed how useful they found it to keep a sketchbook during their travels to help them better absorb what they were experiencing. And I found that, while taking photos is not quite the same as drawing, taking the time to record representative moments during your trip helps to process and absorb what you are experiencing. And having a sequence of images to ponder after returning home also helps to solidify your memories of the trip. It does have the side effect of being distracting at times, but the benefit of enhancing your observational eye far outweighs that slight detrimental impact.
Being the perpetual iPhone addict and geek that I am, I decided to use a nifty little app called WanderMark in order to seamlessly geotag my photos, so as to correlate them to the locations they were taken. The photos can be viewed only by my Facebook friends. Unfortunately, I get the impression that the app, which seems to have been developed by a team of one or two developers, does not have much chance of longevity, so I am in the process of of porting them to Flickr, although sadly the geotagging and captions will have to be transferred manually.