Training at the same spots all the time can be boring. Granted, you might be able to find some new fun challenges each and every time you visit, but if you’re lacking motivation and inspiration the best way to reinvigorate is to explore. If you have the funds to fly somewhere interesting, you should. But exploration can just mean hopping on the train and going to a new city close by, or exploring parts of your own city that you haven’t before!
1. Meeting new people and experiencing foreign styles of movement
One of the most inspirational things I find, and what really makes me want to start jumping around, is training with new people. Generally, especially with foreigners, you’ll find they’ve been exposed to a totally different mix of inspiration. This means their way of moving will be totally unique to you, and offer a plethora of new and exciting ideas. Interestingly however, sometimes it can be new people who move similarly to you that can be equally inspiring. When you find a new training buddy who thinks along similar lines to you it can be fun to play around. Having two brains on a problem is better than one!
2. New and different surfaces
In new locations, especially abroad, wall textures and surfaces can be completely different from what you’re used to at home. For example in England, we’re used to solid, rough brick and concrete. In Tunisia, they use a lot smoother concrete, often with a whole load of uncertainty and lovely top layer of dust. Stuff isn’t as well built, and often mortar isn’t used in brick walls. Now, at first glance, admittedly this seems like a big problem, but it’s just a whole new challenge. Being presented with surfaces you’re not used to can quickly get you moving in new and different ways, either because you have to or because it presents opportunities you wouldn’t have at home!
3. Different styles of architecture
Cities, countries, and even continents have strong architectural styles, there’s often bold similarities from structure to structure. So this obviously means going somewhere new offers a whole new range of architectural styles for you to explore and play with. You can find tiled roofs in towns of the UK, and flat roofs in north Africa and the Middle East. There are amazing bar parks in Russia, and great parkour parks in Denmark. Explore the world around you and see what new environments you can find to inspire.
4. Weather and sun can affect mood dramatically
Often freerunners can feel unmotivated during the winter, especially in the northern hemisphere. We have short days, freezing cold weather and lots of rain – not particularly inspiring for most people. Going somewhere more temperate and sunny could be exactly what you need! Exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin production, which is one of your feel good hormones – basically, it biochemically makes you happier! That’s always a good thing!
5. The process of travelling forces you out of your comfort zone
Being immersed in a new culture miles away from home, really pushes you out of your comfort zone. This is a good thing! The area outside of what you’re comfortable doing is where the fun stuff happens. It’s great for parkour, because in this frame of mind you’re more likely to try and experience new things, and you’re more likely to think outside the box. You can easily take this into your movement and try stuff which is a bit different from your usual repertoire, and that’s always super fun and inspiring!
6. Enjoying the moment
Holidays are one of the few times you don’t have the usual concerns and worries you have in your everyday life at home. When you’re travelling it’s all about making yourself happy in the moment and enjoying the experience. This way of thinking, having a relaxed and laid back approach often lends itself to creating some really cool movement. You move at your best when you’re totally in the moment. You become more creative, precise and skillful because you’re at one with yourself and what’s happening around you. Being in the moment is the best way to move, and when you’re travelling you find yourself there a lot more.
Any one of these on its own is a good enough reason to book yourself a ticket and get out there, but the combination of all of these means training is incomparably more inspiring when you’re out exploring and travelling. So get out there! Drew :)