Ivo Bozukov is vice president of energy transition at Forum Energy Technologies, a company dedicated to providing equipment and products that lower the carbon footprint of its customers. In his spare time, Ivaylo Bozoukov enjoys travel and immersing himself in cultural experiences such as music festivals and local art. This article will look at the various different ways that art serves as a conduit, adding depth to travel by providing an authentic taste of different countries and cultures.
In the 2020s, modern travellers are increasingly seeking out experiences that go beyond the traditional ‘sun, sea and sand’ remit. Indeed, a new generation of ‘travel like locals’ adventurers are seeking a much more profound experience than the typical package holiday can provide.
Art is an effective expression of culture, vividly demonstrating lived experiences. Each artist’s work is a visual manifestation of their feelings, thoughts and inner being, enabling observers to see life through their eyes – a viewpoint moulded to a large extent by their experiences and environment.
Art and travel have crucial connection points. Experiencing local art provides travellers with a unique opportunity to learn from other cultures and gain a deeper understanding of the countries they visit. As Saint Augustine once reflected, the world is a book, pointing out that those who do not travel read only a page.
Travelling offers multiple benefits from a personal growth perspective, presenting opportunities to make new friends, live new experiences and gain new stories to tell. Ultimately, travel helps to broaden an individual’s viewpoint, enriching their attitude towards life. According to some scientists, it can even make people more creative.
Relatively few people are lucky enough to have the means to spend an entire summer in Europe. Indeed, not many individuals have the good fortune to live out their days in one of the world’s great cultural capitals. For many, the concept of a personal art collection is confined to a selection of framed posters or resin statuettes. Too often, the closest people get to the world’s most iconic works of art is in the form of mass-produced reproductions that do precious little to convey the experience of seeing them in real life.
In reality, experiencing art is neither an indulgence or luxury but nourishment for the soul. While it may not be possible for people to spend their lives travelling the continents in search of humanity’s most important masterpieces, travelling to experience art wherever and whenever possible is a truly worthwhile undertaking that yields powerful spiritual, mental, intellectual and physical rewards that many would never have dreamed possible.
Museums are not just a treat for the senses. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that spending time in museums, galleries and art fairs bestows significant and demonstrable health benefits. Researchers have also found that participating in cultural activities actually decreases a person’s risk of anxiety and depression while boosting their sense of mental and physical wellbeing. Neurological imaging reveals that viewing art has a physiological impact on the brain, stimulating the release of dopamine, the human body’s feel-good neurochemical.
Few activities are more enriching than travel, and when the traveller adds art to the experience, the benefits are amplified. Depending on where their journey takes them, they may find themselves immersed in a language and culture that is completely different to their own. When tourists travel to experience art, not only do they get the emotional and physical ‘high’ that attaches to surrounding themselves in beauty but they also cultivate their cognitive faculties.
When people allow their love of art to guide them, taking them away from the digital screen and their home to new cities and countries, they not only immerse themselves in new experiences but also benefit from a profound opportunity to connect with a whole world of like-minded individuals enjoying their own personal adventure. A person need not venture far in order to experience such powerful networking opportunities, with art exhibitions and gallery openings in cities all over the world serving as terrific icebreaking occasions. When an individual engages with strangers in this context, they typically do not stay strangers for long, presenting an effective means of forging friendships and building professional relationships.
In these uncertain economic times, amidst a spiralling cost of living crisis with rising interest rates and energy prices, it is tempting to push travel and art to the backburner, regarding them as an unaffordable indulgence. However, it is impossible to deny the essential nature of art when experiencing it first-hand, with the arts and travel feeding the soul in a way that no mass-produced replica can ever come close to. The good news is that, even though an individual may not be able to travel the world due to financial constraints, ‘travelling’ right in their own community may be very possible, with talented new artists and the cultivation of an arts community right in their own hometown enabling even cash-strapped art afficionados to experience masterpieces in person.