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What I think about when I think about traveling

I have been traveling a lot lately. I have been driving across Norway, a total of 24 hours by car. Then I’ve been close to 22 hours on a boat to Copenhagen (Denmark), and I’ve spent 3 hours in a car to Gothenburg (Sweden) and I’m now back home. It seems that it’s been seven days with nothing but traveling.

I love traveling. But thinking about traveling makes me think about a lot of things.

It makes me think about focus, and it makes me think about work, and it makes me think about me.

What I’m focusing on while traveling

When I’m traveling, I usually end up focusing on the process of traveling, or why I am traveling. I’m thinking about the car, the journey, the boat, the ocean, or even the interior. I’m thinking about why I was traveling across Norway, and why I was heading to Denmark and Sweden. It seems that I don’t think a lot about things not related to traveling.

For instance, I had a comment to Marcus Sheridan’s awesome post, Massive blog growth: do you really have the time it takes? What I said was that I don’t have the time it takes to create a very popular blog (even if I could), because I don’t. I have too many things going on, and I can’t spend many hours every single day working on my blog. I want to, but I just can’t.

When I’m traveling I just don’t focus on things like blogging or writing a novel. I love writing, and I have written my first novel, and I have written the cover letter for the novel. When I’m traveling I don’t focus on being more intimate and more personal than ever. I wish I did.

But I focus. I focus on what’s happening when I’m not doing the things I’m usually doing. I’m having a great time traveling, but I’m not getting things done.

Creating something when I’m not

When I’m traveling, I wish I could focus more on blogging, on writing a novel, and things that matters to me. If I did, I could probably travel a lot more.

When I’m traveling, I look at people who’re at coffee shops and in parks, and they’re writing, they’re creating something. And me, I’m just looking.

I’m fast, I’m creative, and I create a lot, but only when I’m in my office. While I’m oustide, my thoughts are everywhere. I have started taking mental notes, and I’m adding them to Evernote. That’s it. But it’s a start.

I want to be creating something when I’m in coffee shops and when I’m in parks. Actually, I want to be creating something when I’m at the beach as well.

Why I am paying for products

When I was traveling, I was thinking about why I am paying for products I am using when it comes to blogging and marketing. I am not paying for many products, but I am paying for Buffer to help me schedule my tweets, and I’m paying for AWeber to help me send out my newsletter and reports. I am also paying for domain names and webhosting as well. Actually, I don’t remember everything I’m paying for, but it’s a lot.

The reason I am paying for a product, is usually because I want it to help me make it easier to do something (like tweeting or sending email). I want to spend more time to write, and I want to be able to focus on you, and my relations to you. So, I’m actually paying for a product or service in order to be able to focus on you and make life (as a marketer) easier. But no matter how much money I spend on buying products, I am still depending on time and place when it comes to creating something.

I am still stuck in time and place

I have been writing the novel for 8 months, and I have written every single word on my macbook while sitting in my office. I have been walking in a forest, in order to get inspiration, but while I am walking it doesn’t feel like I’m creating anything and it doesn’t feel like work. It just feels good. That’s all.

When I’m traveling, I understand that my daily writing routines is what helps me create, and I understand that traveling helps me get inspired, and that inspiration helps me create. I understand that I’m stuck in time and place. I’m at the office from 8 am to 4 pm. I know when to create and I know when not to.

When I’m traveling, I understand the importance of traveling. I understand what it means to be me.

25 responses to “What I think about when I think about traveling”

  1. Sean M Kelly says:

    Another interesting article Mark. I used to travel a lot not so much now and it was often my most productive time as I worked/read wherever I went.

    Interesting reflections!


    • jens says:

      Hi Sean,

      I wish I could do what you did. I get a lot of inspiration, but I don’t do anything productive while traveling. Although I’m doing my best and I’ve seen some great results after I started using Evernote.

      – Jens

      • Dennis says:

        Your article reminded be of the value that comes from stepping out of my normal routine. Even a short roadtrip to a new destination will broaden my perspective and refresh my thinking processes.

        As I modify my immediate environment, new experiences and new stimuli for my senses will take my mind in directions in which it would not otherwise have ventured.

        Thanks, Jens, for reminding me of the value to be found in periodically changing my surroundings.

        • jens says:

          Hi Dennis,

          Thanks a lot for the feedback.

          I don’t travel much, although I have been traveling a lot lately. What I usually do is to go for long walks (instead of travel). It helps a lot on inspiration and creativity.


  2. Mark Harai says:

    OK Jen’s, I must get to traveling a bit more. I’m jealous. You get to travel, walk in the forest and write novels… I’m stuck behind this computer screen, be it in Costa Rica on the beach πŸ™‚

    Seriously though, your article took me away for a moment – thank you!

  3. Once again Jens, I really enjoyed this and getting into your head a little bit.

    For me, traveling can be such a powerful thing. Because I actually get the opportunity to get out of my office and ‘breathe’, the amount of inspiration, ideas, thoughts, are exceptional. And like you, I try my best to write them down.

    Are you liking evernote? I’ve heard others mention it but I feel like I lose a part of the creativity when it’s electronic…if that makes any sense.

    Thanks for this bud and appreciate all you do and you mentioning my blog as well. Very kind.


    • john Falchetto says:

      Hi Bud,

      Actually I use Evernote only for a very short and quick idea, like a headline for a post or a sentence. For anything longer I need to use my WP or Google docs document.


      • jens says:

        Hi John,

        I started out using Evernote for just short and quick ideas, now I’m using it for longer and longer notes. I use it for writing my novel, and I have added a lot detailed notes.

        Now, I start out by adding things I think about into Evernote, then I use MindNode Pro to structure the novel, and Scrivener to write, and finally MS Word to finish it πŸ™‚


    • jens says:

      Hey Marcus,

      I love Evernote, but I was sceptical (like you) when I first started using it. I am way more creative when I’m using paper and just a pen. But, I love that it syncs and that it’s on my iPhone. I always have my iPhone with me, and I’m not comfortable having a notebook with me at all times (I haven’t found one small enough). So, Evernote is the best thing I’ve found that’s not paper.

      I get a lot of inspiration by traveling as well. But I can’t seem to do the regular “work”, it’s more like different type of work… the creative part of work πŸ™‚

      Thanks a lot for your constant support Marcus.


  4. john Falchetto says:

    Funny we seem to have the same approach to travelling. I know people who are super productive when sitting in a plane or a train. Me, can’t do it.
    Travelling as you takes a whole dimension of its own, I get contemplative and I get ideas. I have been using Evernote for quick notes and burst of ideas.

    Love this post because I thought I was the only one being ‘unproductive’ during my commutes πŸ™‚

    • jens says:

      Hi John,

      That’s awesome. I felt like I was the only one as well πŸ™‚

      At the marketing conference I heard both Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuck talk about how productive they are when they travel. It seems that they do most of their work on planes and in hotel rooms. I just can’t. I get a lot of inspiration and I take notes (but not as many as I’d like).

      Thanks again for your brilliant comments.


  5. Dino Dogan says:

    I just finished a cross country trip (4-5 days worth) driving from New Jersey (East Coast) to Arizona (West Coast). I was with the dog (big ass wolf dog) and my gf in a Honda Accord. First 2 days were fine but by the time 4th day rolled around I was ready for the whole thing to be over.

    We’re doing it again tho…very soon, like in a month. Should be interesting to see how it works out this time around. Its always fun regardless.

    • jens says:

      Hi Dino,

      I can picture you in the Honda with your gf and the big ass wolf dog πŸ™‚

      Do you work at all when you’re traveling? Or are you anything like me, and just take notes and get inspired?

      • Dino Dogan says:

        Only when Im able to connect. And then its all I can do to catch up. No real work gets done…but…

        In order to be inspired, we must stare into space, not time. How productive we are is no measure of a life intelligently lived. Ideas is what matters. And if you’re getting those whilst on the road, then road away my friend πŸ™‚

    • Carolyn says:

      Hey, Dino, I would call that a true test for a relationship. If you two can survive a road trip like that, well, it must be love! <3

  6. Ryan Critchett says:

    This makes me think about the fact that creativity or “aha!” moments often come from weak associations, which arise when there isn’t all that typical noise taking place in that crazy thing called BRAIN.

    Awesome post. Thought inducing for sure. I’m getting more into being driven to travel and can’t wait to initiate a trip around the country, then around the world.

    • jens says:

      Hi Ryan,

      That’s true. I always get those “aha!” moments when I don’t think about work, and when I’m doing something completely different. That’s why I am walking for at least an hour every single day. When I’m out walking, listening to music, or just listening to the sound close by, I tend to get some interesting ideas. Ideas I never get when I’m stuck at the office πŸ™‚

      I love traveling as well, although I “hate” planes… but I need to by in one in order to get to all the places I’d like. I’m planning a trip to the US next year.

      Thanks a lot for visiting, and thanks a lot for your brilliant comment.


  7. Stuart says:

    Hey Jens, thought I’d stop by and say hi, even bought a home-baked cherry pie over πŸ˜‰

    I like this post, a lot. Thanks for sharing your mentality whilst travelling, I’ve picked up a few things here. Like being creative whilst travelling, and is it OK to let go and not do any ‘work’?

    I’ve started travelling more frequently than I used to, and that doesn’t just mean going on vacation. In my everyday life, I try to move around in different ways, walk to work via different areas, explore more and more. I try to broaden my horizons as often as I can, because the world is a big place, and that undiscovered corner that’s a five minute walk away is just as important as a big city half the world away.

    Looking forward to continuing our conversation Jens πŸ™‚

    • jens says:

      Hey Stuart,
      Thanks a lot for the home-baked cherry pie πŸ˜€

      You’re absolutely right. I don’t travel a lot during a year, but I walk a lot. And I walk in different areas, and I explore in order to broaden my horizons. I do this every single day. I walk for at least an hour, and this is where most of my inspiration comes from.

      Thanks again for the pie, and the brilliant comment πŸ™‚


    • Carolyn says:

      Stuart, what a great comment, “that undiscovered corner that’s a five minute walk away is just as important as a big city half the world away.” I completely agree with you and often have to remind myself to break out of my routine and explore. I live in a beautiful area of the US with covered bridges and waterfalls. The other day I took a new way home from a favorite store and was treated to amazing scenery. Thanks for pointing out you don’t have to go far in order to travel…

  8. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, Well I have commented on the comments, but not your blog yet, lol!

    Your blog exudes peacefulness and a sense of calm that is inspirational. How wonderful that you are able to travel and let your mind wander. While you might have thought of that as unproductive, I regard that as time to rejuvenate. And it obviously worked for you to have crafted such an inspirational post.

    With all that time in the car, I would have been distracted by audiobooks, but you used the time more wisely.

    “Productive” is a relative term. πŸ™‚

  9. Peter says:

    Nice blog but I am really jealous. I am working 12 hours a day and really want to take a long vacation. Maybe now is the time. πŸ™‚

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