Monday, January 2, 2012

Perspective, Altered (The Importance of Travel)

On Gaudi near La Sagrada Familia
My wife and I just returned from a week in Barcelona. We have visited Europe a number of times, but let me assure you: you cannot go wrong with spending 7 days in the Catalonian capital. There is so much to do and see (and eat!). One week is definitely not enough and I look forward to the day that we return.

But more importantly, even if we did not choose Barcelona to visit, getting out of our home country and comfort zone was key. I strongly believe that travel -- particularly International travel -- is good for the mind and soul. It changes one's perspective on the world and can be good for resetting priorities and outlook.

The life history of Picaso is an interesting example.

While in Barcelona, one of our must-sees was The Museo Picasso (Picasso Museum in English, of course). I knew little of Picasso's story going into the museum. All I knew is that he was one of the most famous of the Modernist artists and widely known for his expressions in Cubism. (Also, that he was quite the womanizer!) The museum was a real eye-opener. It follows Pablo from his birth in 1881 to his death in 1973. Certainly he didn't make any notable or recordable works of art at or near his birth, but it didn't take long -- by 14 years of age he had already shown that he was artistically gifted and on his way to becoming a great.

Picasso's Three Musicians
As one advances through the museum and simultaneously through Picasso's early years, his improvement as an artist is noticeable, but remarkable and rapid advancement only happens after singular events in his life occur. Those events? Travel.

Once Picasso changes his point of view by traveling to Paris, his exposure to works by Post-Impressionist great Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is quickly evident in his works. Other artists' work, too, influences him and alters his artistic output for life.

It's Tapas Time!
My aim is not to detail Picasso's life -- there are books, museums, websites and Wikipedia articles for that -- but it is to highlight the significance of travel on his life. As I walked through the museum, I felt a strange parallel to myself and the artist -- as I was observing the angular change in his life arc evident from his excursions to other lands, the exact same thing was occurring to me! In this museum, in Barcelona, in Spain -- I, too, was changing. I could feel an adjustment happening inside me that I would hopefully carry through life. A prism, if you will, in which I could see the world through that would offer growth of mind and purpose.

If you can, the next time you are considering your annual getaway(s), strongly consider a trip that places you outside of your normal comfort zone. It can be exhilarating, educational and fun, and upon your return, you just may find yourself a little bit different ... in a very fulfilling way!

Travel internationally. Your mind will thank you for it.

1 comment:

  1. As a well travelled guy who is much closer to the end than the beginning, I wholeheartedly concur. Multi-cultural religious exposure is eye-opening. For example, my perspective on Islam has been shaped via travel. Realizing that Christianity is a minority religion and that Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Confucianism, and Islam are great world religions, altered my myopic POV. Bottom line- If there is some place you want to visit "some day", go NOW.