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On How Travelling Stimulates Creativity: The Passports of Renowned Artists


The passports of famous artists remind us that travelling and creativity form one of the most intimate and fortunate bonds that allow us to express our subjectivity.

The journey is barely a movement of the imagination. The journey is recognising,
recognising oneself, the loss of childhood and the acceptance of maturity.

José Lezama Lima

The bond between traveling and creativity is extremely profound, while it might not always take the same shape, it does remain constant due to the movement these two aspects imply and that they somehow complement each other: they both imply making a conscious decision to exit one’s comfort zone, opening oneself to new environments and perspectives, modifying ourselves (no matter how minimal these changes might appear to be) in relation to the person we usually are in the place we generally inhabit.

Perhaps for this reason, from the darkest times, artists, writers, poets, philosophers and other representatives of creative action have also been great travelers, whether this has been physically or through their wondrous imaginations, transporting themselves from one end of the globe to the other, or merely committing to a handful of journeys but making the very most of them —to the extent that they became the force behind their endeavor, pretexts to show that the interior world and that which surrounded them was far richer than they appear.

Alexandra David-Néel in the Tibet, Roland Barthes in China, Laurence Sterne on his sentimental voyage, and even Xavier de Maistre’s Voyage autour de ma chambre, are but a few examples of the many artists that understood that in order to create they had to fulfil a single and essential requisite: exiting, for a moment, their own beings.

Recently, Open Culture published a collection of the passports of famous characters, renowned for their strong artistic creations, from Virginia Woolf to Ella Fitzgerald, including also John Lennon and James Joyce.





Ella fitzgerald


John lennon


Marilyn Munroe


Beyond their anecdotal value, and perhaps even their fetishist quality, these documents remind us that traveling is also a one of the most important stimulus that can bring our minds to the present moment, while they move our sense of astonishment, allowing this to take the shape of unimaginable expression that we use to convey our presence in this reality.

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