Getting to Hawaii for Spring Break, and Other Miracles of Creativity

There's never just one way of doing things

"Spring break!!!"

That's what I excitedly texted my 16-year-old at the beginning of this month.

"Yeah, right," came the unenthusiastic reply. "I'm super looking forward to more time at home."

"But you're not going to be home this week!" I said. "You're going on a spring break trip!"

"OK, sure. Where am I going?"

"You tell me. Where do you want to go on spring break? Anywhere in the world."

After a long pause without any texts, the answer came back:


"Cool," I said. "We'll build the itinerary."

Abby didn't know it yet, but when she woke up around noon on Monday (ah, teenagers), she started a week of Hawaiian vacation, with hula lessons, snorkeling and surfing trips, ukulele lessons and more—all thanks to YouTube. By Wednesday, an inflatable six-foot palm tree arrived via Amazon, and served as the spot for our big luau dinner, for which she made leis and other decorations. The big Friday conclusion? A trip to a live volcano. Thanks to a Scientific American make-your-own-volcano-experiment-at-home kit.

Spring break in Hawaii. 

Kind of. 

Sort of.

It's not the spring break she wanted, and sure, it's all a bit silly, but we found a different way to do it. And it's created some fun along the way, regardless. Or at the very least, some cool posts for her Snapchat and Instagram.

As we all face yet another week of our Covid-19 self-isolation, I find that, like Abby's trip to Hawaii, we are having to find alternate ways to do a lot of things. At our agency, campaigns we planned on shooting with big groups of people have to be rethought. Videos we thought we could shoot live on location with b-roll now have to be animated. Designs we hoped to bring to market soon have to be delayed, and we're having to think up new ways to get through the next few months with older work or new work altogether.

Is it frustrating? Disappointing? Absolutely.

Is it impossible?

Absolutely not. 

Here's the thing about creativity: It means there's never just one way of doing things. With creativity, there is ALWAYS another answer. Always a chance to take a different approach and yet still achieve what we want to achieve. 

All of us have been gifted powerful imaginations and the many tools of creativity—the ability to improvise, collaborate, look for connections and possibilities where others don't see them. And if we choose to focus on the opportunity change brings, rather than the frustrations, it opens up a whole new set of wonderful ways to move forward.

As you face your own challenges at home (and at work-from-home) this week, remember: 

There's more than one way to get to Hawaii.

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Aaron S. Dotson
Aaron S. Dotson is co-founder and executive creative director at Elevation, an integrated branding and advertising firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

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