Top 10 Travel Destinations to Inspire Your Creative Brain
Going out into the world to experience other cultures and meet new people can be a powerful source of inspiration. But when you don’t have the time to get away…how can you spark those moments of pure clarity and creative brilliance?
You don’t always have to travel with a suitcase. The secret is great content. I’m talking films, TV series, clips and podcasts that help you escape your everyday. Pieces that will make you think, provide a different point of view and empower your imagination to run wild for a moment or two. Trust me – you’ll shake up your brain power in no time.
Want to test my theory? Here are 10 pieces of content inspiring the Alchemy One team right now:
1. Black Mirror: TV Series (45 mins per episode)
Now into its third season, Black Mirror is many things. It is most easily described as a combination of half-a-dozen independent short films bound together by an overarching theme of technological fear, wonder and musings about the future. The beauty of Black Mirror is that you don’t have to watch the series consecutively to enjoy it. Start with Season 3’s “San Junipero” or, if you’re into something a little more confrontational, watch Season 3’s “Play Test.” Available to stream on Netflix, you’ll need just 45 minutes per episode.
2. HyperNormalisation: Film (165 mins)
HyperNormalisation is like a mirror; it shows you how information is viewed and consumed by the modern audience while addressing some of today’s most critical global issues. Think Trump, technocrats and the Islamic State. The film was released directly on BBC iplayer and youtube, so you can rewind or trackback if you miss something. At 165 minutes long, it’s a beast to watch, but this is one trippy tale well worth the extra popcorn.
3. Simon Sinek on Millenials in the Workplace: Interview (15 mins)
Simon Sinek, of Gen X, describes Millenials as “accused of being entitled and narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused and lazy”. He blames the condition on cosseted parenting, a technology overload, their own impatience and the current environment. This piece has received a lot of negative feedback, mainly from Millenials (like myself), but Sinek does convince me there is a clear correlation between parenting style and the subsequent behaviours instilled within a generation. No matter what side of the argument you sit on when it comes to Millenials, this 15-minute clip certainly promotes some good thinking.
4. Cooked: Four Part TV Series (45 mins per episode)
Ever since Alchemy One helped to launch the KitchenAid Mini, I’ve even further developed my love of making, baking and creating in the kitchen. Now, the obsession has gone so far as to alter my viewing habits. It’s how I discovered “Cooked”, a four-part Netflix TV series, based on Michael Pollan’s 2013 book (and the book certainly lends itself to the cinematic experience). Pollen explores food, past and present, through the four elemental categories — fire, water, air, earth — while trying to improve his own cooking skills. Pollen and the episodes’ directors (Alex Gibney, Caroline Suh, Ryan Miller and Peter Bull) flesh out his musings with visits to a baker in Morocco, a cheese-making nun in Connecticut, hunters in Western Australia and more. Although there is a bit of food shaming throughout this series, it will remind you of how fundamental food is to our existence, and appreciate the abundance of food we have in the Western World. I know that sounds very Mother Teresa but I have FEELINGS!
5. Amy Cuddy – Your body language shapes who you are: TED talk (21 mins)
When prepping for any new business pitch or presentation, this 21-minute slice of wisdom always gets me in the right mood. Amy Cuddy talks about the power of body language, and how it can affect the world’s perception of you and your own wellbeing. Simple yet effective, this is a must watch for any business leader who needs a confidence boost. Go get em!
6. My Favourite Murder: Podcast (60 mins per episode)
BFFs Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff get together weekly to talk murder. As you do. Each comes prepared with a suitably chilling story to share with the other with a healthy dose of black humour. The rest of the hour is filled with tales from listeners about murders in their hometowns and on-point true crime recommendations. Look, you’ll probably question your sanity for wanting to hear more…it’s a bit like watching Law & Order: SVU but with two fun BBFS.
7. Paris is Burning: Film (78 Mins)
A vibrant time capsule of New York’s ‘house’ subculture in the 80s, this film will always hail as a classic. Stylish and poignant, it follows African American and Hispanic gay men, drag queens and transgender women as they compete in simultaneously fierce yet fun competitions; from fashion runways to vogue dancing battles, all while sporting styles like Butch Queen, Town and Country and Luscious Body. Many of the contestants vying for trophies represent “Houses” (Pendavis, Extravaganza, LaBeija). Each house serves as a surrogate family for a predominantly youthful community that has been ostracised from mainstream society. For 78 minutes, Paris is Burning will take you all the way and stay with you for years to come.
8. Lion: Film (129 mins)
We took an agency excursion and saw Lion at the cinema recently and it really struck a chord with me. It’s the true story of a lost boy; five-year-old Saroo who grew up in the 1980s in the area around Khandwa, India. The film begins with him pilfering lumps of coal from a train with his older brother, Guddu, which they sell to buy food. By the end of the first reel, the two brothers are thousands of miles apart, entirely by mistake. Saroo is ultimately adopted by an Aussie couple. Years later, armed with just a few memories and Google Earth, Saroo sets out to find his way home. You’ll probably want to call your Mum as the credits roll – consider yourself warned.
9. Gaga’s Super Bowl Performance: Clip (13 mins)
This was a moment in time that demanded a strong message of inclusivity and acceptance. You might argue that Gaga could have done more in the way of politics at the Super Bowl, but I think singing “no matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgender life, I’m on the right track baby I was born to survive” in front of millions of sports fans was still a pretty great moment. Go Gaga for 13 minutes…you won’t regret it.
10. Westworld: TV Series (60 mins per episode)
HBO series, Westworld is a glorious mash-up of the sci-fi, thriller and western genres that will have you hooked, line and sinker. Set in a Wild West theme park, it follows robotic “hosts” whose job it is to entertain human guests who subject them to barbaric acts. The robots begin to develop signs of consciousness and are forced to come to terms with sentience. Like the robots, you’ll be asking “what does it mean to be ‘human’ anyway?” What I love about this style of storytelling is that it is reminiscent of my all-time favourite TV series, The Sopranos. The camera would linger on apparently innocuous details for a fraction too long, and lines would be delivered in so portentous a fashion that they had to mean something…makes me feel all giddy just thinking about it.
So there you have it. 10 amazing travel destinations for your creative brain, all accessible from the comfort of your own home. Go on…I dare you to watch just one of these and not feel inspired!