In Search of Creativity: 5 Locations That Inspired The Greats
History is rife with tales of creatives travelling to far flung places on the hunt for fresh ideas. Here are a few locations that have inspired some of our greatest works of art.
After becoming interested in Indian culture during the mid ’60s, the Fab Four left London in February 1968 to travel to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s transcendental meditation centre in the city of Rishikesh at the foothills of the Himalayas. Much of the infamous White Album was written during the stay, and the bridging of Western and Eastern cultures by the biggest band in the world set a precedent which we still enjoy the results of today.
Hunter S Thompson
Big Sur, USA
The creator of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S Thompson, will always be remembered for his relationship with the open road because of his astounding books Hell Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later made into a successful feature film starring his friend Johnny Depp. In 1961 as a young aspiring writer he spent time hitchhiking along Highway 40, eventually arriving in the bohemian community of Big Sur, California. It was here that Thompson wrote The Rum Diaries, as well as seeing his first national magazine piece published. Thompson had been drawn to Big Sur by the presence of American literary great Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac also passed through the wild coastal region in the early ’60s and wrote a novel dedicated to its artistic community, cementing Big Sur’s place in literary folklore.
During his time there in the 1920s, journalist and author Ernest Hemingway helped create an image of bohemian Paris that endures to this day. Its cafes, late night drinking dens, and community of artists and rogues all came to life through Hemingway’s memoirs. The Illinois born writer would also famously spend time working in Spain, but it’s on the Rive Gauche where his spirit still inspires fans and artists alike.
Coldplay, Kasabian , New Order, Oasis, Paul Weller, Queen, The Stone Roses, and Black Sabbath are just a handful of legendary names who’ve looked to the Monmouthshire countryside for creative inspiration, or more specifically, to Rockfield, the world’s first residential recording studio based in a converted farmhouse. Aside from its musical heritage, the charming village of Rockfield, nestled in the picturesque Wye Valley, is one of Wales’ many hidden gems. It also helps that Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded there.
Forest of Dean, England
The Lord of the Rings trilogy evokes images of dense landscapes full of other-worldly beauty and mystery, so it may come as a surprise to learn that J.R.R Tolkien found his inspiration for Middle Earth in the Gloucestershire woodlands. Tolkien was a frequent visitor to the ancient Forest of Dean, and it’s not difficult to see how the labyrinthine greenery of Puzzlewood sparked the ideas that would become our most treasured fantasy novels.
Words by Tom Armstrong