I don't think I'm the only one who struggles to find balance in life. Balance between work, fun, family, travel…
I'll try to be concise about my struggle. And share with you how creative travel has helped me find balance.
First, my struggle. This millennium has been a challenge for me. There has been much change. I went from survival mode through my husband's illness to full-on development mode for Solo Traveler.
With the start of the blog I thought Aha! This is it! It’s perfect for me. I’m entrepreneurial and I love travel. Then I became obsessed with the blog – with working on it. After so many years of working on it and loving it I reached a point where I didn't know how not to work on it. It’s silly really, but I’ve been having trouble figuring out what to do for enjoyment outside of the blog. But I knew that there had to be something.
Then I went to Godderich in Huron County.
Finding Life-Work Balance Through Creativity
Visual art has never been my strength. After public school, I never took another art class again. My sister-in-law is an artist and a teacher. She has tried to loosen me up. Encourage me to play. But I've been knotted up with the need to do well. Concerned about being embarrassed by my results.
Sometimes one needs to give oneself permission to do something. Permission to do it and not necessarily to do it well. In Goderich, Ontario I did just that. I took four different creative classes and at some point during that visit I relaxed, played and gave myself license to create.
Acrylic Painting with Elizabeth
It just popped out of my mouth. “Terrifying!”
My first creative class in Goderich was in acrylic painting. Eight of us were trying our hand at a “Paint the Lake” workshop given by Elizabeth Van Den Broeck of the Art Gallery on Goderich's main square. Everyone started by painting the entire canvas one strong colour. Elizabeth explained that this would ensure that no white of the canvas would ever show and that the color underneath would give depth to our painting.
Painting the entire canvas a strong pink was easy. Then the next step. I had to actually paint the scene from the photo of Lake Huron that I had chosen. That's when, during all the fun banter amongst the participants, I came out with the word “terrifying”.
It wasn't what Elizabeth wanted to hear. She turned around in concern. But when she saw my face she knew that I wasn't really terrified. However, it does sum up my attitude toward creating art. At least, it summed up my attitude. By the end of the class, and especially after the four classes I took in Goderich, that word no longer applies.
Blue Owl Creative Retreats: So Many Ways to Create
Goderich is becoming a creative travel destination. To help people book their creative trip, Janie of Eldon Street Guest House has collaborated with nine artists to offer a wide range of creative classes through Blue Owl Creative Retreats. These are great for beginners (people like me) but if you have experience in a medium you may find the right artist/teacher to help you take your creativity to the next level. Through Janie I booked an encaustic painting class with Linda Wiebe, a photography walk with George Zoethout and a mosaics workshop with Rosalyn Cook.
And now? What About Life-Work Balance?
It’s better. I’ve decided that acrylic painting is the right creative choice for me at the moment. It’s only been a couple of weeks but I now have my own paints and canvas. And I'm painting. It's relaxing. Quiet. There's a reason that art is considered therapy. And I find that this relaxed attitude spills over into other things. I've found more interest in my garden and the like. All is headed in the right life-work balance direction.
I have given myself license to create.
Meeting Creative People in Goderich
The people I met in Goderich all seemed to be creative in one way or another. Having lunch at Pat & Kevin's on the Square I was served by Montina Hussey. She was incredibly modest talking about her talented and creative 8 siblings rather than herself. But have a look at Montina's Facebook page to see the results of her creativity. Amongst her siblings are musicians and filmmakers.
My thanks to Huron County, Ontario's West Coast, for arranging my stay and providing support for my meals and art classes.