I love traveling, being somewhere else, and experiencing new places. I spent last week in San Francisco for Dreamforce, which with over 90,000 registered attendees became the largest vendor-led tech conference ever. I spent most of my conference time at my company’s booth, telling people why our app is awesome, but I itched every day for the conference to be over so I could spend time in one of my favorite cities.
My love of San Francisco is mostly familial. My grandparents lived in the Silicon Valley for a long time, and going to The City meant going to San Francisco. Some of my fondest memories as a kid were spending time at the pier, on a tour boat, or driving one of the bridges. Having not spent any real time in the city in a decade, it was fun to be an adult on my own, seeing what I wanted to see.
But what I love most about traveling—and something I felt strongly on this trip—is that new surroundings really speak to me. Stories start forming even as I’m walking. I can transform the bustle and noise around me into a setting and an atmosphere, and I find myself amid my own story that I’m plotting and creating in the moment. North Beach especially spoke to me. The aroma of Italian food, the late night traffic on Columbus Ave, the old book smell of the City Lights bookstore. I wish it hadn’t been so late and I could’ve hung around a little longer. A detective story was desperate to be born.
Strangely, the one city that I fall blank in while visiting is New York. I don’t know if it’s too personal of a connection or what, but on my last two visits, nothing in NYC struck me with “I need to write!”
What about the rest of you? Does traveling spark a sense of creativity for you, or does it spark something else? Or nothing at all?