Paying Attention to the Details: Why Travel Inspires Us

You go through your daily life, carried along mostly by habit. Absorbed in projects and the flow of your regular activities, you are buried in normal. You stop noticing the little details. You don’t need to notice them to function, so your brain filters them out. 

When you’re travellling, even to somewhere pretty similar to home, you suddenly have to pay more attention to what’s around you, or chances are you won’t find your hotel room or be able to feed yourself. This heightened level of noticing extends to everything around you. I believe its one of the reasons we tend to come back from vacation feeling reinvigorated. Not only have we likely had some needed rest and down-time, we’ve also juiced up our brains on all kinds of new information. Needing to negotiate an unfamiliar environment means our minds are suddenly open to seeing all the details. Suddenly we notice the landscape, the way people speak and dress, the variations in the architecture, and the different colors and vegetation. And many of us give more attention than usual to recording those new details in a journal or in photos, meaning that we are pushing even more new data into our mental machine.

  • Dreamy Rhododendron photo by Janet Taylor | Household Art
  • Soft Lichen Photo by Janet Taylor | Household Art
  • Soft Flower Detail by Janet Taylor | Household Art
  • Water on Hostas by Janet Taylor | Household Art


I’ve been in North Carolina for the past few days, and I’ve been photographing on our walks and in the gardens, noticing the details. It’s been foggy and rainy, and I know these photos filled with water and dreamy mist will influence my upcoming projects.

PS. If you’re looking for my previous work inspired by gardens and these colors, check out the Garden Study Paintings, or the In the Garden print series.