The challenge for any artist is to find a balance between the overwhelming urge to create and all other commitments. So far, for most of my life, those other commitments have won without a contest. It is time for change.

I am embarking on a 3-month field trip to Berlin from November 15, 2012 to February 15, 2013. I will soak up inspiration in the form of art, culture, and history, in an exciting city that is known for attracting artists from all over the world, and is also the capital of my native country. I have lived in Canada for 30 years now. I went to high school and university in Canada, and spent most of my working life runnning a graphic design business here. I feel fortunate to be a Canadian, I love being Canadian. This is my chosen country. I was never even homesick for Germany.

But it’s time for a refresher on where I’m from: my childhood, my native country’s culture and heritage, the rediscovery of some odd and familiar things that only someone who grew up in a certain time and place in Germany would relate to.

I have visited Germany many times in the last 30 years, but only for days at a time. I know I will be an oddball in my old country. I am far more Canadian than German after all those years away. I sound like a real German, yet my life has veered to a different continent. I have missed enormous changes. The wall came down in Berlin in 1989. A capitalist country was unified with a communist country. Berlin once again became the German capital. The grammar and spelling of the language has changed. There are many new words that I don’t know. There is a new generation and a half. The complex social etiquette confuses me. So does the telephone and banking system. Wine is cheap. Good sushi is expensive.

But I hope to discover and learn many new things, to soak up culture and inspiration like a sponge, to take a lot of photos, to do some sketching. For what use? This may not be apparent until much later, after I have returned to Vancouver. As an artist I trust and allow myself to be guided by my creative instinct, and make some space for the inner child to play — finally.