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How Travel Fuels Creativity: Paralympic Artist Gregory Burns On Finding Inspiration Around The World

Meet Gregory Burns, an American Paralympic swimmer and artist who translates his athletic achievements into abstract impressionist paintings. He's achieved international acclaim for both his athletic feats and artistic expression

Gregory Burns is an American athlete, painter, author, motivational speaker and member Photo: The Westin Goa

Despite his several accolades—five Paralympic medals for the USA, five world records in swimming, and over 80 solo art exhibitions across 15 countries—Gregory Burns maintains a refreshingly humble demeanor that bursts with youthful enthusiasm. It's a quality that stands in sharp contrast to his lengthy list of achievements.

Perhaps the key lies in the life perspective of this 67-year-old athlete, painter, author, and motivational speaker. Despite contracting polio at a young age, leaving him paralysed from the waist down, he views this experience as a "source of heightened sensitivity." This resilience is evident throughout his life. By three, he was already in the water, swimming. By six, he began exploring his artistic side with painting lessons. His competitive spirit later flourished as a Paralympic swimmer, representing the USA and bringing home medals in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Games.

This past weekend, OT spent time with Burns during a Marriott Bonvoy wellness retreat at The Westin Goa. He spoke at length about his journey, passion for art, travel experiences, and the profound connection between the two. Excerpts from the interview here.