Creativity and Compassion: The Art of Travel


Travel is defined to go from one place to another, as on a trip or journey. Since the beginning of time animals and people have travelled. Traveling can range from simply walking three blocks to go to the store, to going on a trip around the world. There are many components that can be thought about when you think about travel. You can think of travel form the perspectives of the four modes of inquiry. However, in this paper, I will be discussing the artistic side of travel along with the creativity and compassion of travel.   I would like to start off this paper by comparing two different views of travel that I found. There are these two articles that talk about traveling; one is called “Why we travel?’ by Jonah Lehrer and “Why Creativity Requires “Travel” “ by Ross Hudgens. Jonah Lehrer says, “Travel, in other words, is a basic human desire. We’re a migratory species, even if our migrations are powered by jet fuel and Chicken McNuggets.” (Lehrer 1) Lehrer says that travel is something that all humans have a need to do. All humans have a need to go to different places, not stay in the same place forever. He goes on to talk about how by traveling we open our minds to new ideas and we become aware of the world and the different things in it.

Ross Hudgens’ article is a response to Lehrer’s article.  Hudgens believes that the breakthroughs and ideas proposed in Lehrer’s article make perfect sense. However, Hudgens says “the hypothesis is stated appropriately, and it locks people in to the idea that the physical concept of travel is what sparks creativity. Here, the “physical” act of travel means little.” (Hudgens 1) He doesn’t believe that the physical act of travel is what sparks the creativity; he believes that it is the brains movement from a place of familiarity to a place of unfamiliarity is what sparks the creativity. In conclusion, “creativity is the innovative spark of our own experience rallying against freshness to create something new and cool and useful.” (Hudgens 1)

Now I would like to talk about the artistic side of travel and how that can be both creative and compassionate. The first big example that I have is Leonardo Da Vinci. When many people think of Leonardo Da Vinci they think of him as a great artist responsible for paintings such as the Mona Lisa, Madonna of the Rocks, and The Last Supper. But Da Vinci was a lot more than just this great artist. He was also one of the best scientific minds of his time. “He made painstaking observations and carried out research in fields ranging from architecture and civil engineering to astronomy to anatomy and zoology to geography, geology and paleontology” (Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519). Many people thought that he had so many gifts and was very talented. A man named Giorgio Vasari wrote “Leonardo Da Vinci, who had. . . an indescribable grace in every effortless act and deed. His talent was so rare that he mastered any subject to which he turned his attention. . . . He might have been a scientist if he had not been so versatile.” (Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)

Now why I am talking about Leonardo Da Vinci in a paper that is suppose to be about travel? What’s artistic and creativity or compassionate about anything he did that could relate to travel? Da Vinci focused on another subject in his lifetime. Da Vinci designed drawings and diagrams for the world’s very first flying machines. This is how he was artistic and creative in the field of travel. He created five main flying devices: the glider, the glider with maneuverable wings, the helicopter, the codex atlanticus (ornihopter), and the parachute.

The glider was the first plane design ever that was capable of flight. The prototype is one of the most usable designs for a flying machine the Da Vinci created. On the other side, Da Vinci created a glider with maneuverable wings. This was a lot different from the original glider. The glider with maneuverable wings “The wings, an imitation of the wings of bats and of large birds, are fixed in their innermost section (closest to the person) and mobile in their outer section; The latter in fact can be flexed by the flier by means of a control cable maneuvered through handles.” (Leonardo Da Vinci and His Flying Machines) The designs of the two gliders were very different.

The helicopter that Da Vinci designed was the first ever helicopter concept. The design uses an aerodynamic screw, which had previously only been applied to a children’s toy from Asia. The Codex Atlanticus is a little bit more complicated. The design consists of  “contains three drawings of articulated wings, operated by means of belts strapped to the legs and body of the flier. Leonardo streamlined the wing structure to its simplest form, with wings attached directly to the flier’s body (ornithopter)” (Leonardo Da Vinci and His Flying Machines)

The last of Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machines was the parachute. A parachute is just an instrument that allows you to gradually fall from a great height. The parachute could have been created for a Patron to escape a castle if it becomes under heavy attack by enemies or Leonardo Da Vinci could have invented the parachute as just another form of flight.

All of these designs show that a great artist, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, can take an artist approach to travel and make it creative. All of the designs the Da Vinci created were very creative and very different for his time period. To this day is still as a very artistic and creative style when it comes to this idea of travel. The designs that Da Vinci created helped to inspired future flying machines, such as the Wright Brothers creation of the first airplane. The air traveling machines that we have today are in a lot of ways due to the creative designs of Leonardo Da Vinci.

There has been a lot of talk about the creative side of travel, but what about the compassionate side of the art of travel? What could possibly be compassionate when it comes to travel or the artistic side of it? Well, there are a lot of components of travel that can be compassionate.

The first thing that I want to take about are some the different organizations that travel around the world helping people in need.  However, there is really only one organization that I want to focus on in this paper. The one organization is UNICEF.

UNICEF is an organization that raises money to help children all over the world. Volunteers travel to the places that are in need of the most help and do a lot for them with the money they raised. “UNICEF and its partners are leading global efforts to end preventable child deaths, working with governments, national and international agencies, and civil society to support effective and life-saving actions at each phase in a child’s life ¬– from prenatal care in a mother’s pregnancy to effective and affordable health care through childhood and into adulthood.” (UNIEF home page) UNICEF shows compassion by traveling to these places and helping out these people in need. They volunteer their time and energy into helping these people in need when they don’t have to at all. They truly show compassion in their action of traveling around the world and helping the needy people of other countries.

One question is still unanswered about all of this. How is the artistic side of travel compassionate? There is one name that I can throw out there that will show any person the answer to this question. The name is the title of a song: “We are The World”.  This shows the art of music and I am going to explain how this song shows compassion. The song was original written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Riche for the people of Africa in 1985.  The money that the song and album raised was sent to help the people of Africa to help them and keep the health and alive. This song was used many for the people of Haiti in 2010 because of the massive earthquakes that they experienced. A group of musicians got together and sang a remade version of the original song that Jackson and Riche had created. Both the song and the We Are The World foundation are “dedicated to raising money for charitable purposes and to making grants to charitable organizations with meaningful and efficient relief and development programs that are responding to the continuing crisis in Haiti” (We Are The World Foundation Website).  These musical artists show great compassion by using their artistic abilities to raise the money to travel across they world and help the people of Haiti.

The artistic side of travel, and just travel in general, are both very creative and compassionate. Travel as inspired many artistic minds to do compassionate and creativity things. Things that range from Leonardo Da Vinci and his flying machines to a group of musicians singing a song to raise many to help people in other countries. In conclusion, you can’t spell travel or creativity without art, you can’t have art without passion, and you can’t spell compassion without passion.

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