Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? Energy.
Creativity feels good, being free to brainstorm and think and try and test and then scrap it all if it doesn't work and start over from scratch, all of that sounds fantastic when looked at from a distance, no matter how small that distance may be. But the truth is that living as a creative, working to embrace creativity wholly and completely on a regular basis, in between these dryly dull rituals of endless and inescapable routines, to exist as a creative soul and create things with creative energy, that's like wrestling a thousand-pound gorilla inside a thick, dense rainforest, in the middle of the night. It's like facing a crocodile in a swamp where you have no footing, and then standing there in the pitch black with no knowledge of where you are or what's lurking nearby.
Once in awhile you feel something in that darkness, you grab onto it, and for that one endlessly brief moment in time things feel a bit better, you feel a bit more in control, the stuff you're trying to do seems to happen a little easier and then you find yourself suddenly doing it and you start to tell yourself that YES, you can do this, you can work with this, you are a powerful and unstoppable force of nature because now you've found it, that hold, that little thing that seems to make all the impossibility of what it took to get there seem insignificant and unimportant and you forget, very quickly, how much effort it took to arrive at where you are, how much unknown you had to face, how much self-conscious ridicule and self-doubt you had to let go of, how much fear you had to put aside to find that little thing you're now clinging onto, that preciously delicate but incredibly potent little flow you're tapping into, hoping, wishing that it will never stop running, that it will never go away, that you'll never lose it again. But you know that's an unreasonable request from the universe. You know that soon your fantastic grip on this creative world you cherish so dearly will be gone, and you will once again return to being that tortured, naked soul, standing in the dark with so many unknowns all around, so many thousand-pound gorillas ready to wrestle and so many prehistoric crocodiles in these waters, and now you're right here, facing them all over again, looking, searching, waiting for that one thing, that one thread of connection, prepared to embrace that flow at a moments notice, ready to begin, alert, aware, patiently understanding that this wonderful thing called creativity is a gift worth waiting for, a gift worth giving up comfort to stand there, all alone in the dark.
A big part of how I create and travel involves tapping into energies, these invisible and hard to describe forces that seem to connect my physical self with another realm, a realm that, if I could see it, I imagine would look like strings of energy crisscrossing each other and linking together other, highly focused endpoints, all changing in response to the location, the environment, and the energies of the people who were present.
Trying to describe these invisible forces always conjures up images similar to those neuron maps of the brain and the maps of the Internet, only instead of being fixed and static, they’re alive and moving, constantly changing, like a universe inhaling and exhaling, birthing new galaxies with each breath.
I believe that we all have the ability to feel and sense these energies, to receive their signals and tune into them, to redirect and focus them like a magnifying glass focusing otherwise weak beams of sunlight.
When I travel, I feel the different energies and forces present in each place. But there seems to be a catch: I usually can’t feel or tap into them until I’ve settled down for a few weeks.
When I’m moving from one place to another — flying in an airplane, riding on a train, or doing a road trip — the energy generated by the motion is itself extremely powerful and chaotic. This chaotic energy seems to obscure the more stable energy that I can feel when I stop moving, the energy that I feel when I begin creating within a framework of daily routines.
Whenever someone asks me how I decide where I’m traveling to next, my response is always the same: I travel by intuition. I don’t travel to check off a list of places, or to experience a set of cultures, or to taste different foods. I travel by intuition. But what does that mean? What does it mean to ‘travel by intuition’?
It means that when I connect with the energy of a particular place, I allow myself to linger, to tap into the creative energies and allow them to change me, to give me fuel for creating and contemplating and growing until something (usually my intuition) tells me it’s time to move on. In traveling for the past three years, I’ve recognized that the “time to move on” feeling usually occurs within three months.
I’m convinced that I’m not the only one who taps into these energies and I suspect that various places around the world known for attracting artistic and intellectual types are that way because they’re actually strong sources of this invisible energy, sources that most of these people are unknowingly tapping into by living and working there. I suspect that cities appear where they do for the same reasons.
When I arrived in Tasmania a little over a month ago, I could tell within the first few hours that the energy here was strong. I wasn’t at all surprised when I learned that Tasmania is fast becoming known for attracting artistic types.
However, I was caught off guard when, within the first week of arriving, I felt an unrelenting desire to cancel the rest of my travel plans — a week in Perth and a month in Thailand — to spend more time here in Tasmania.
Now, after spending six months in Australia, I’m preparing to leave to visit family in the United States. I’m thinking about where I’ll go next in January and the only place that keeps calling back to me is Tasmania... and I haven’t even left yet.
Why Tasmania? I’m really not sure. All I can say is that my intuition tells me that I should return, that something says this is where I should be and that this is where I will find the creative energy that I need. Creative energy that I need for what? I’m not sure of that either. That too feels like an invisible force present in my future but undefinable to the present.