Why We Need Creative Adventures

NikkiMcWilliams_AltSummit_California_2017_WEB-25

The Saguaro, Palm SpringsThe first entries for “Creative Adventures”, on Google are for a bunch of summer holiday camps and art classes…for kids.  There’s lantern making, weaving, painting and exploring. That (still) sounds pretty fun to me- but it really struck me that the importance of learning through play and adventure is emphasised much more when you’re little.

Booking a ticket to the Alt Summit conference in America was a leap for me. The furthest I’ve travelled for an event like this was a jaunt down to London…and even then folks are usually surprised that I’ve travelled from Scotland. Sure, it costs money and it takes time- but for me- travelling to have these experiences has always been totally worth it. The chance to take a little time out to learn alongside like minded people and to build relationships offline has created opportunities for me in ways that I would have never expected.

Kat Molesworth (one of the founders & directors of Blogtacular– the creative conference I usually attend in London) and I have become good friends over the years so I was excited that we were going to be travel buddies for the trip.

We’ve been on blog trips together before and we’re a pretty good team- and on a trip like this- that’s super important. We’re both on the same page when it comes to hunting high and low for the most colourful Instagram spots and delicious brunches. And when we have to spend an hour in the evening tapping away at our phones for work- it’s cool.

So what does a Creative Adventure look like to me? Let me start by saying that California is a total dream (and Mr Biscuit and I are heading back there this summer for our own exploits) but you don’t need to travel across the globe to get your brain into creative play mode. Everyone has their own ideals for creative adventure, but for me- I love taking photographs; trying different food and getting a little bit lost in a new place. All of this alongside the promise of learning new skills from professionals in the US blog scene made for the perfect creative retreat. Here’s how we did that on this trip.

Instagram Delights

You may not live nearby to your Instagram chums, so taking a trip with like-minded pals means that you can laser-focus yourselves on filling up your insta-bank with amazing content. Even just having someone (hello, human tripod pal!) to take a photo with you in it can make all the difference in mixing up your feed. Work together and make the most of your time on photo missions.

Snapping the most colourful murals in Downtown LA

Snapping the most colourful murals in Downtown LA

Love Heart Rainbow Steps - Silverlake Los Angeles

Falling in love with colour all over again on Sunset Blvd

Pink door - night time at The Saguaro Palm Springs

Palm Springs made me want to add more pink into our decor at home…I’ve started with a door already!

That Pink Door, Palm Springs

Leaping Across #ThatPinkDoor on our tour of Palm Spring’s incredible pastel architecture. A little group of us ventured out to shoot doors out with the conference’s scheduled tour. 

Stand Here and Think About Someone You Love

Dallas Clayton’s famous wall in Silverlake was the first stop on our list (Photo by @WhoCindyBoo)

 

Food in California

Kat and I met on twitter and realised that we were going to get along after we spent the afternoon tweeting each other photographs of burgers. Needless to say, meat sandwich-based meals are always high on our list of priorities when we spend time together!

I love to experiment in the kitchen, so I always feel super inspired to get creative with ingredients after a trip away. I think I’ve almost mastered the DIY Eggslut Bacon, Egg & Cheese, but the secret to excellent home Churros still alludes me.

Egg Slut - Bacon, Egg and Cheese on Brioche

Bacon, Egg & Cheese on Brioche at Eggslut, Downtown LA. I’ve recreated this at home!

California Benedict at Millie's Restaurant, LA.

Breakfasts in America are huge,  but Millie’s on Sunset Blvd is tasty and fresh. Try the California Benedict!

Street Churros

We ate churros TWICE. This fresh churro with Matcha soft-serve ice cream from Street Churros (West Hollywood) was my favourite.

Trying In-N-Out Burger

I tried In-N-Out Burger for the first time. Super cheap and quick for our first night in West Hollywood.

Dining in LA, 50's style

Dining in LA on our last morning. A Bourbon (liquor, not biscuits) shake pre-10am was tempting but I managed to resist!

Exploring & Getting Lost

While planned photo shoots and organised adventures are fun- I often find that some of my favourite moments happened by chance. I’m pretty much addicted to google maps when I’m abroad- as I’ll usually research the places that I want to go in advance. It’s important to go with the flow too though…getting a little bit lost in a new place can be fun sometimes!

Sun Rise in Palm Springs

An early morning run in Palm Springs helped shake off the jet lag. The streets were empty and the scenery was so breathtaking that I tripped and fell!

The Cabazon Dinosaurs, Palm Springs

During the conference, we led a tour into the middle of the desert to visit some fibreglass dinosaurs and eat fresh donuts. A winning concept in my book!

Hand Lettered Launderette

Hand-lettering has been largely been replaced by vinyl signage in the UK, so I always love taking in these old store fronts! (Photo by Kat)

Ombre Walls in Los Angeles

Driving is big in LA, but we avoided hiring a car by using Uber to get around. The bus to Palm Springs was cheap but infrequent.

The Saguaro, Palm Springs

Most attendees at the conference (us included!) were staying on site at the hotel. This meant there were plenty of chances to chat and hang out with fellow creatives at breakfast or around the fire pit in the evening.

The conference sessions were super varied and I chose to attend several on Youtube and video development after launching my Youtube channel and started Vlogging late last year.

Taking Notes - Nikki's creative way!

Some folks find note-taking useful, some don’t. Getting creative when jotting things helps me to remember points.

I didn’t take many photographs during the conference sessions- as I was usually too busy scribbling down notes (or learning new dance moves, if we’re getting technical about The Alison Show‘s keynote) and I finished each day feeling inspired and ready to use my newfound knowledge to drive my creative passions forward.

One thing I’ve learned about attending creative conferences- is that I feel that I get as much value from the organised workshop and keynote sessions as I do from the breaks in between. I mean- I really enjoy eating lunch (who doesn’t?) but chatting with peers about our work and lives as creatives, sharing our experiences and making friends with folks in real life? To me, that’s the best.

Kat and I both vlogged our trips- you can watch Kat’s via her channel here

Click below to watch my Vlogs:

My Vlog – Part OneVlog - Alt Summit & California Adventures

My Vlog – Part TwoNikki McWilliams Vlog - Deserts & Dinosa& LA Wall Crawl

How do you recharge your creative batteries? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas- leave me a comment with yours.

Nikki x

2 Comments

  • This has come at just the right time, blogtacular tickets are out today and I really want to go, I know it will help me get inspired and back into blogging which I love and have really missed since being hit with anxiety, it will probably help me be inspired about folding blogging and vlogging into my business and help me on my way to my dream career, but I can’t deny that I am terrified at the idea of travelling down to London and not knowing anyone (not London itself that’s scary really as I used to live there, more the not knowing anyone).

    I think though that you’ve just convinced me to press the button. The benefits of that adventure will far outway my nerves!!
    Georgina xx

    • Hey Georgina! I always get a bit nervous before I travel too. Happens every time! But I usually take that as a good thing…if it’s scary then you’re probably stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to grow. I felt totally SICK before I got on the plane to LAX. But as soon as I was there I had so much fun that I forgot all about my nerves! I’ll be at Blogtacular too- it’s such a lovely crowd there- you will love it! One thing I found useful before Alt (and Blogtacular) was connecting with folks online via Instagram and the FB group before the conference. Then when you meet in person it’s like you’ve known each other for years… 🙂
      Nikki xx

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