A New Tradition: Bug Out Writer’s Retreat

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Who would have thought a work trip could lead to the development of a new tradition? During our second road trip when we were visiting multiple clients, we stayed in several places as we completed our circuit. We enjoyed every place we visited, but one lodge charmed us. Perhaps it was the remoteness, the spacious cabins, the pleasant staff, the delicious meals, the surprise birthday set up for me during our first visit that will always be a treasured memory; maybe it was a combination all of these. Whatever the underlying reason, or reasons, this has become a very special location for us to visit.

Our Favourite Room

The second visit here was the first time we found our favourite room where we stayed during one of the most brutal cold snaps we have ever experienced while away from home. There was too much snow to do any hiking, and no one could possibly spend more than 10-15 minutes outside before feeling like their face was going to freeze off under the scarf. I do recall the temperature dipping down to -39 degrees Celsius one night for sure, and the days were not much warmer. That weekend was spent inside in front of the fireplace, enjoying favourite snack foods, reading, writing, and visiting; it was probably one of the best weekends away we have ever had. With new fond memories and being able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time, it is a small wonder we wanted to come back.

Our third visit is being spent in our favourite room and it has been just as great an experience as the last one, if not better. We are already tentatively planning another retreat in the new year, and I have written a specific line in our budget for it to ensure we can keep these mini retreats as something to look forward to throughout the year.

The distance and change of location offer a kind of jump start for the brain that we have found to be beneficial for furthering our personal interests and the skills associated with them, and it is an excellent way to unwind and regroup.

Bug Out!

I now call these Bug Out Writer’s Retreats because it is a sudden break to get away from all the demands of everyday life to recharge and spend some time focusing on what we really love to do. The day we leave, we throw together our most basic necessities into an overnight bag, pick up munchies (healthy and unhealthy foods), the dogs and their food, and our writing and reading materials, and hit the road. Whatever is forgotten is forgotten. It is a quick change of location without too much planning, other than those are the days and nights we are going to be gone, hence why we call it a bug out.

Divisions Between Work Time and Your Time

This is not to say we do not enjoy our work, but we all have our guilty pleasures that may not cover the bills as well as other more stable sources of income. We all need a change of pace, a healthy balance between work and play, and the opportunity to fully decompress. We are living beings not machines, and there are times when we can forget that work does not have to take up every waking moment in our lives.

As someone who has been self-employed most of my adult life, I know how easily those divisions between work and personal time can become blurred. It takes drawing a line in the sand and having the self-discipline and stubbornness to maintain such a boundary. When it is time to work, you give it everything you have to do what needs to be done. When it is your time, you give it everything you have for how you want to spend your time (family, hobbies, etc.). Outside pressures will push against them, but you will be able to create a little more of that balance in your life if you hold your ground while offering some strategic flexibility.

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