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4 reasons to vacation with an artist for your next holiday

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Vacation with Natural Dyeing Designer Vu Thao. Picture Courtesy: Ben Reich

Raise your hand if you’re eyeing the calendar, counting the days until sayonara to 2016.

It’s been a rough year. A series of upsetting headlines have dominated domestic and world news, including more than a couple eyebrow-raising political and economic displays on the global stage: Brexit; Zika; global terrorism; the loss of music and art icons Prince, David Bowie, and Zaha Hadid; and the entirety of the U.S. election, which might as well be termed America, the Reality Show.

These events have social media users around the globe asking, “Who let Quentin Tarantino direct 2016?”

As we ponder the final months of the year, many of us are looking forward to the comfort of the holidays, connecting with loved ones, and the promise of a fresh slate in 2017. As we daydream about holiday travel and a much-needed re-set, it’s worth considering: What’s the most effective way to replenish and recalibrate?

When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. Here are a few reasons why you should focus your next holiday around an artistic escape to kick start the new year with positive vibes, creative energy, and a fresh outlook.

1. Sensory stimuli help you tune inward and turn down the volume.

The simple truth is that we spend too much time hiding behind screens. It disrupts our sleep; it disconnects us from our senses; it exposes us to information overload on a daily basis.

One of the best ways to get back to the basics is to seek stimuli for your senses — real, physical senses, like touch, smell, taste — in unfamiliar settings. This dilates our pupils, it changes our brain chemistry — and it’s just plain fun. Deep down, we know this truth. It’s ingrained in us on a primal level. But we become numb to it after days, months, and years wrapped up in the minutiae of our day to day, which frequently involves far more multitasking than concentrated enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures.

So get dirty. Inhale the earth. Enjoy the sensory smorgasbord of Thunberg lily, chrysanthemum, cotton bush flowers, and eucalyptus as you craft a Japanese Ikebana arrangement. Work with wood or clay or cloth, and let the simple act of creating something with your hands pull you inward, toward a sense of calm.

2. When creative juices are flowing, they foster connections that transcend cultural differences.

Taking a break from the daily routine to focus on an artistic endeavor is a much-needed jump-start; it leads to a renewed flow of ideas and taps into surprising wells of creativity we may not even know exist. Think of it like fixing an internet connection on the fritz: a simple flip of the “off/on” switch.

At the same time, spending one-on-one time with other creatively minded individuals in an unfamiliar setting puts you both on the same wavelength, cutting through cultural barriers. You’re no longer an American tourist or an Australian traveler working alongside a Porteño artist; you’re all simply creators on a mission to bring a small amount of beauty into the world.

3. There’s deep satisfaction in the unexpected.

By venturing to lands unknown, you redefine your notions of comfort. Although this can be challenging in the moment, it’s well worth the lasting impacts.

Familiar comforts are fleeting — but when you conquer a new skill, it leads to a deep sense of fulfillment. Instead of falling back on your grandma’s killer stuffing recipe, for example, doesn’t homemade fish head curry in Malaysia sound like an infinitely more interesting — and not to mention adventurous — dish to master? Instead of buying a holiday gift off a shelf, doesn’t hand-crafting a piece of jewelry in a foreign land seem far more likely to elicit tears of joy from your loved ones?

This year, consider foregoing the Insta of a flawlessly decorated tree to learn firsthand about how a culture halfway around the world views tradition.

4. Novelty is exciting, plain and simple.

It’s often said that variety is the spice of life. We’d argue that it’s actually novelty that adds delicious flavor to a travel experience: a new setting, a new language, a new culture, a new form of caffeine to ingest. These are the things that permeate our default lives when we return to the computer screens and disheartening headlines; they stick with us and permanently rewire the way we view the world.

They’re the ideal foundation for the fresh slate we seek. Our brains respond to artistic exposure in astounding ways — and the only way you’ll know how your mindset will change is to try it for yourself.

VAWAA provides unique opportunities for creative escapes all over the world — and the perfect way to spend your next holiday. Learn more and book your Vacation With An Artist today.