Talking point: Creative travel
People talk all the time about travelling responsibly. But what about travelling creatively? Should we pay as much attention to the idea as we do the logistics? I only ask because I recently watched someone make a washing machine fly…
Can you make a washing machine fly?
We’ve been struggling with what to do this summer. Not that we’re short of options. Trips still on the table include family volunteering in Africa, searching for gross happiness in Bhutan, a ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe, walking across the Pyrenees, and biking in the Balkans.
But we haven’t been able to decide, because no one trip stands out. By ‘standing out’ I mean having a unifying theme that we all buy into. For Stuart and I, travel for travel’s sake is pointless. It’s bad for the planet and deadens the soul. Our most successful, most enjoyable trips have injected a bit of imagination into a tight schedule.
When we biked across Spain we did it as Pedalling Pilgrims. When we cycled from Munich to Krakow it was music that drove us on; from visiting Mozart’s house to busking with recorders outside the Vienna opera house. On a recent trip to Berlin it was all about fairy tales when we went looking for the Brothers Grimm.
It’s not just about getting from A to B
What I’m saying here is that for me, travel needs some purpose to make it meaningful. It needs to be creatively inspiring. But then for me, creativity is what life is all about.
So what is creativity? Well for Hannah it might be sticking pipe cleaners onto cardboard, for Cameron it’s about tinkering about on the piano, while currently for Matthew it’s creating a village of mushroom houses in Minecraft. But for many of us, it’s not a fleeting activity or quick lightbulb moment. As you grow older you realise that real creativity is about thinking big and outside the box, as well as thinking long and hard. It’s about working hard too, about tirelessly toiling to be original, to do something special or to achieve perfection.
But back to travel
Anyway, I digress. The reason I am writing this talking point is because I was inspired recently by a creative campaign for a travel rewards scheme, Avios, a reincarnation of Airmiles. You probably know the kind of scheme, you collect points for things you buy like your weekly shopping, petrol and home entertainment and flights, and then can spend them on travel. Maybe you have seen the advert, where a washing machine takes flight?
What really inspired me about this campaign though was not the points make prizes business but a behind the scenes video that follows the agricultural engineer and his friends who made it their mission to make household objects fly for the ad.
A tumble in the clouds
Not just a flying washing machine, but garden accessories like a flying barbecue and lawnmowers, and flying kitchen and electrical appliances; all lifting off into the clouds. Watch the video and it’s obvious this was a creative endeavour fuelled by passion, commitment, experimentation and determination; that’s what it takes to turn household objects into flying machines. And it clearly wasn’t an easy task, but the best ones never are. They had to pick up the pieces of a barbecue crashing and burning repeatedly. And goodness knows how many times their grass would have been destroyed by the lawnmower. Like all the best creative missions this was a shot of creative inspiration, a large helping of imagination and experimentation, and a whole load of perspiration.
Creative travel planning is like that too. It’s about having an imaginative idea and finding a way to see it through. It’s about finding an unusual angle and taking it to the limit. That’s what we’re looking for in our summer expedition. So for now it’s back to the drawing board for us. To find out how to make our own washing machine fly.
How do you travel? Do you think there is any point in travel for travel’s sake? Or does it need a theme, a point, a purpose for you and your family? Have you followed a creative theme on your travels? With what results?
Join the Conversation
Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo and post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Do leave a comment with your thoughts.