I didn’t set out to Berlin for six weeks this past summer to claim my travels as an inspirational ordeal, but as I spent time away from home, friends, and ultimately comfort, I began to reflect on the environments I was in. I recognized the contrasts in each - the habits I’d grown into, the people I interacted with every day, the graffiti I’d seen on my commutes. I didn’t look for inspiration and it ended up slapping me in the face.
I saw a certain phrase in museums, tombstones, and music videos throughout the summer, so much so that I couldn’t help but question what it meant and how I could apply it to my life. “Memento Mori” was my summer’s calling card. The phrase means “Remember that you must die.” For some reason, I’ve always been one to balance my congenial mood with sobering reminders of mortality - something about recognizing the impending end helps me to appreciate the present. The constant reminder pushed me to interact with others, travel, and go far outside my comfort zone to learn more about myself and those around me.
Wherever you are, ask yourself what you see and why you’re seeing it. Two simple questions to take into account where you are, where you came from, why you’re there, and the context of your viewpoint. There’s a common phrase saying that “luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity,” and I see inspiration as sharing that same intersection. Inspiration is something that won’t be found if you’re looking for it, but you need to be prepared for when it’s revealed.
Be observant and curious about your context and you’ll find inspiration wherever you find yourself.