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Vacations Can Be a Time For Work and Play

By: Maria Nerius, Resident Craft Expert

Vacation! Hopefully everyone gets at least one vacation a year even if it’s what they call a "home vacation." This is when you have time off from work but enjoy your community as a tourist. I’m lucky to go on several vacations a year. I love to scuba dive, which takes me to some awesome tropical locations. Also, my family likes to vacation together at least once a year on river cruises, road trips, and tours of amazing countries.

I’ve been on vacations with no TV, Internet or phone, but I’ve have yet to take a vacation where creativity and crafting is not a fabulous part of the time off. As creative people, we don’t ever really turn off from "work mode" - the world is just too full of creativity and we can’t miss a bit of it. Plus, there is so much to learn during our travels. I’ve put together a few of my own tips that you might like to use on your next vacation.

  1. Always bring a way to keep notes, thoughts, ideas, dreams, goals and sketches. You might bring an art journal or a small electronic device that has an app to record notes, sketch ideas and take photos. You might even bring a camera!  It's a good idea to review what you've captured or recorded as soon as the vacation ends in order to refresh and motivate.
  2. Take time to people watch. Notice clothing, jewelry and even shoes. If something looks like it is original or handmade, ask about it! I’ve learned so much from just interacting with other creative people. You never know what kind of friendship or working relationship might spring up from these encounters.
  3. Vacations can get hectic with everyone trying to fit everything in before it's time to head home, so schedule in some browsing time for yourself. I love shopping in tourist shops where I find items that inspire me. I might not make the exact thing I see, but the influence of the item helps me create while still using my own style. For example, I love seahorses and am always on the look out to see how other crafters and artists interpret this sea creature in their work.
  4. Bring business cards! You may be on vacation, but you are going to meet people. If you open yourself to your surroundings, a business card is the easiest way to exchange information! I help artists in countries where supplies are not available and exchanging a business card helps me keep track of my new friends. I’ve also gotten job opportunities that I’d never have even known about by keeping up with this network of creative people. Plus, a business card shows you are serious about your craft and your business.
  5. Take a craft! I make a small traveling craft kit for every vacation I go on. I don’t always complete the craft, but I craft in public areas like by the pool, in the lobby, in the food courts, and anywhere people gather and relax. By crafting, I open myself up to conversations. People will come up and ask what I’m doing! I’ve made some great business connections while sitting by the pool and needle punching! This should also include wearing anything you make! People will come up and ask where you got that pretty necklace or amazing quilted vest!

As I review this list of tips, the stand-out for me is that when we are on vacation, we are usually exposed to a new set of creative stimulus! It might be a painting we see in a gift shop, a pair of earrings crafted by a local artist or a conversation with a fellow traveling crafter, but the possibility of making an income is there! Did you ever think of writing about a trip you took? With all the notes I’ve taken, I dream of someday writing a book about the creativity I’ve seen around the world! Even on vacation, the creative mind whirls away so enjoy it!

Enjoy your vacation!

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