How exploring other cultures can help you find your muse
From cinema to cuisine and everything in between, exploring other cultures is a great way to find your muse and get started on the path towards new found creative adventures. Going to a restaurant, making new friends or traveling abroad can help open up your eyes to new things and help you see the world from a different perspective.
I remember trying to use chopsticks for the first time ever and how it boggled my mind that some people could actually use them to eat little grains of rice when I could barely manage to pick up a piece of sweet and sour chicken. Although I am still a rudimentary chopstick user, I always find myself at least trying to use them every time I am at a restaurant and they are offered to me. I have gotten better over the years, remembering how to hold the top one like a pencil and so on, and have even come to appreciate them as an eating utensil on par with the fork and spoon.
Eating at the occasional ethnic restaurant is great way to get a rudimentary lesson in another culture and gain inspiration from it. Exploring what and how other people from around the world eat is a great way to find creative ideas. For example, thinking about chopsticks makes me wonder how a person who has been using them their whole life would approach the fork: will it take just as long for them to get the hang of using it as it did to for me to get the hang of chopstick?
While going to the occasional ethnic restaurant at your local strip mall is great way to start broadening your cultural horizons, making friends with people from different backgrounds is a good way to really be able to see a different world perspective. I remember going to a Hindu wedding ceremony some years back and being inspired by the way it was so different from a traditional Western wedding, yet achieved the same purpose of joining two people together. Getting to know people with a different world view is a good way to temporarily adopt a different way of looking at things, which in turn can lead to creative inspiration.
I am always sort of jealous of folks who have had an opportunity to spend time overseas, completely immersed in a foreign culture with values, traditions and mores that are completely different from what they are used to. I have only spent some time in Canada, and while was blown away by how friendly everyone was in contrast to Americans, I have trouble calling this a immersive experience. I can just imagine what it would be like to spend time somewhere where the language and customs were completely different. I wonder how long it would take it to catch on and not be known as “The Rude American”.
Variety is indeed the spice of life and exposing yourself to different cultures and learning how other people do things is a sure way to spice up your own creativity. By visiting other cultures through travel, or simply visiting a different part of your city can help open up your mind to your muse and let in new ideas and inspirations for your creativity. For example, if you are westerner visiting the Far East, you might find yourself gaining new ideas and insight from the way many Asian cultures like to venerate their ancestors. Or, if you visit an area that is primarily Muslim, you might find inspiration in the calls to prayer and how people are willing to stop whatever they are doing in order to worship.