Add Art to Your Travels


When I travel I'm known as a flashpacker. A flashpacker is a person who travels with their laptop and other technological needs, stays at a nicer hostel, but enjoys the backpacking experience more than staying in a resort or hotel. I choose to hostel and make new friends while on my trip. I also choose to document my journey online while I do it.


Because of my need to blog everything and my love of art and culture I make sure to indulge in the local art scene wherever I travel. Adding art to your vacation is both an educational experience and an enjoyable one. There is more to vacations than just lying on a beach drinking your troubles away, (although there's nothing wrong with that philosophy).  I choose to make my travels an experience that can help me improve my craft.



Examples of things I have done in the past have been: meeting up with fellow artists I've met via twitter to get their perspectives on performing, architectural tours, making puppetry, indulging in the local art museums, seeing a local production of a play, or taking a class of a regional performance style such as aboriginal dance in Taiwan. Many tourism boards offer cultural exchange programs where you can learn about art. Hong Kong has a great one called the Kaleidescope Program where you can learn about everything from Cantonese Opera to the art of the Chinese Tea Ceremony or Tai Chi.


Most museums have free days that you can visit which will save you money and give you something fun to do. I saw all the the museums in Singapore for free when I visited because it was a holiday weekend. The Arts and Sciences museum is really beautiful. I highly recommend it. You can currently visit all museums in Hong Kong on Wednesdays for free. 


Seeing how other countries perform is also an important thing to see as a performer. It gives you a lot of ideas. Great art transcends all language barriers so don't be afraid to go to a production in Czech or French. It might be the best show you've ever seen. And then it'll give you ideas for future shows. I did a Japanese theatre tour two summers ago where I saw all the different styles of theatre and got to speak to a few of the performers. I was so inspired at the end of the trip. I just wanted to create something fabulous the second I got home.


Learning about another culture can help open up your perspective as an artist. You might come up with a new way to envision a classical play such as Shakespeare or Doll's House. Theatre du Pif did a fabulous reinvention of the Ibsen play last fall that was heavily influenced by the local culture. Had the artists not been brave and explored other cultures that show might not have happened. So be brave and learn. Being knowlegable about art, history, and other cultures can only benefit you as a performer.


But you must be wondering how to find out about these things. I get all my contacts before I travel via the internet. I meet artists on twitter or I email the theatres ahead of time and let them know I'm coming. Normally, artists are really keen to share their perspectives and their art forms with others. One theatre in Japan even let me sit in on a closed rehearsal so I could see what Bunraku was like. You have nothing to lose by emailing people and asking them if you can come see their work.


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