and-make-it-real-creative-logo-3By Trent Rentsch

There are valid reasons why I played hooky from last month’s edition of RAP. Work had gotten a little crazy, I spent several afternoons and evenings playing IT for older family members, I joined a new gym… oh yeah, and then there was the cruise.

It’s become a bit of a thing for the missus and me, these cruises. Never saw myself as a “cruise person,” until we were caught up in a family trip a few years ago. After a few days, I got it… the escape, the total relaxation, the… the food! After a week away from responsibility (several pounds heavier, I might add), I realized that this was what a vacation was supposed to be, and we’ve enjoyed several others since.

This latest ocean escape took us from L.A. to Vancouver, with several stops in between. With an endless series of highlights, it’s hard to choose a standout. There was the night before in L.A., where our gracious hosts Bob and Carol not only picked us up at the airport, but drove us into downtown for a dinner and shows at the legendary Magic Castle. Then there was the drive on the Pacific Coast Highway to board the ship, the “Duck” tour of San Francisco, the carriage ride in Victoria, the walking tour of Chinatown in Vancouver… that’s really a taste of the banquet we enjoyed. Oh, and then there was the dinner…

The missus had discovered that we could register for a chance to win a dinner with one of the officers, so we signed up and crossed our fingers. Several days went by with no word, and we’d kind of written it off, until we found an invitation in our door. We had been invited to the fancy steak house restaurant, to dine with the Chief Engineer and the Chief Refrigeration Officer. Cool (pun intended), but I wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into.

A pretty amazing evening is what we got. The Chief Engineer, Rolf, was from Sweden, and was gracious and funny as hell… full of stories about the ship and her history, and ready to answer any question… and believe me, the more drinks we had, the more outrageous the questions got. The Refrigeration Officer was as quiet as Rolf was gregarious, but accepted everyone’s praise of “the great air conditioning on the ship” with the humor intended.

We weren’t the only guests, which added to the fun of the evening. There were 2 couples from Australia, 1 couple from Canada and another from the USA, but we were all citizens of the Norwegian Pearl that evening, laughing and reminding each other that, despite geography, we were all just a bunch of party animals, really.

 So, I could go on and bore you with more of our exploits at sea, or I could get to the point. OK, here it is… TAKE A VACATION. Perhaps you’ve just rolled your eyes and muttered, “Duh,” but I know that maybe you didn’t, and maybe you haven’t in a very long time. Even if you think a vacation is an obvious must, but keep going to the same getaway spots over and over, year in and year out, I’m speaking to you.

There’s nothing more dangerous to a Creative than monotony. Same breakfast, same drive to work, same clients to write/produce for, same lunch, same ignored deadlines, same late drive home, same dinner, same bad TV… same, same, SAME. Everything becomes expected, no surprises, no originality… and that dull blur is a leech on your Creativity. Have you ever written a script on “auto-pilot?” Or did a one take “rip and read” on a piece of copy? How about grabbing a random CD and using the first cut for an underscore… whether it fit or not? Did any of this even bother you? If the answer is yes, it’s time for a real vacation.

It doesn’t have to be a week, it doesn’t have to be a ship, but it DOES have to be something different… something you’ve never experienced before… because if you just go hang out at the lake for the 10,000th time and drink beer with your buddies, that’s just another example of “same.”

So, what’s different? Ever take a tourist’s eye view of your town… maybe a Segway tour? How about driving about an hour to that neighboring city and checking out the restaurants? Or maybe you take advantage of an airfare deal and spend a long weekend in a city you’ve never experienced before. Or you could spend an hour taking a class in yoga or basic auto mechanics or pasta making… anything that you’ve never tried before.

A true vacation has nothing to do with the time spent, but how you spend that time. If you allow yourself fresh experiences, new viewpoints and unique sights and sounds and smells, you can’t help but come back changed, different… and it won’t just be your Creative that benefits. Bon Voyage!