Consumption turned creation: inspiration’s appetites

When my brother visited me in Croatia, I went out of my way to organize some more touristy outings than I tend to seek out by myself. One of these was a day trip to Plitvicka Jezera National Park, the most beautiful place I’ve ever had the privilege to visit.

Plitvicka Jezera is, in a word, magical. Despite clouds and even some rain during our visit, the park seemed more saturated than the world in which we normally live – and that was really the thing, it felt like entering another world, a fantasy, something that couldn’t exist in the same plane of reality as something as mundane as office parks, or gas stations, or the state of New Jersey. In between my regular and extended pauses for photography, Josh and I found ourselves constantly marveling over a shared new understanding of the idea of inspiration: a beautiful thing that captures the heart, that you find yourself driven to share, even knowing that your best efforts to give it to others can never come close to the impact made by its source.

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Image description: trees overhanging a a simple dirt path and a broad swathe of pale, intensely turquoise water. A young man in shorts is walking at the water’s edge.

The question of inspiration came up when we mutually admitted that every incredible scene we’d come across made us think about D&D. In some ways it felt like doing the experience a disservice that we were walking along awestruck, and all we could think about was putting it in a game when we got home. But then, what alternative could do it any better service? Putting our photos in albums, forgetting about them, and occasionally reminiscing? At least this way, dorky and small in scope as it might be, we were putting this extraordinary day to some use, furthering the sense of wonder in our future lives.

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Seriously, does this not just scream adventure? (Image description: a bright, leafy hill with two small waterfalls feeding into a pool. A wooden stairway and railing leads from the ground over one waterfall, continuing off at the top of the hill.)

It actually got me thinking about those hipstery travel Instagrams – you know, the sort that’s constantly posting brightly-colored photos of destinations, attending parties, going zip-lining or ballooning or who knows what else as though they’re made of money. I always thought they were cool, but I never totally got the appeal in following one. After all, from the outside, all those pretty scenes and lively parties seem to blend together after a while.

I have to admit, I have a different feeling about it after Plitvicka Jezera. I mean, I’ll never run a true travel blog in the constant cash-burning, photo-posting way, but I do think I’d like to try taking in more scenery than I have in the past. There was something about being in one of these beautiful places, completely surrounded by the fantastic, which was stunning, even consuming. It was a totally different experience from seeing photos online, or even looking out over a beautiful scene from above. It was so much more real when immersed in it, and utterly striking. It made me want to create. More than that, it made me feel like I had a new capacity to create, a world I had gained access to as a joy and a tool, one I could never have quite imagined or shared without seeing it firsthand.

It awakened an appetite: not just to see the world (as I’d already been doing), but to see the fantastic, and then to make the fantastic for myself. To be a part of beautiful worlds. I’m inspired to consume in the spirit of creation.

I have read more in the week since coming back from Plitvicka Jezera than I had in the prior six months.

I want to have a hand in incredible things.

 

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