Retreat Is Right.POST (1)
As I mention in “Why You Need to Escape on a Solo Retreat” sometimes you just NEED to get away.
To find yourself again. To catch your breath again.  Sometimes it’s just to get a good night’s sleep!    Maybe you just want to escape your life for a while and that’s great too.

I’m a big fan of retreats. 

So what type of retreat is right for you?  

There are as many types of retreats as there are clouds in the sky, so here are a few of my favourites.  Each type has helped me in a different way. Maybe there’s something here that’s right for you?!

#1.  I need to get ‘x done’ type of self-retreat.

If you’ve read our “About Us” page, you’ll know that I’m also writing a fictional novel.   I’ve always wanted to write a novel but it wasn’t until last year that I finally began the process. I’ve had short stories written and piled up forever, carting them all over the world with me, but one night I had a dream. No, not the Martin Luther King kind.  My dream was of a very clear scene . When I woke, I wrote it down  – and then kept writing for 18 hours straight. That was the start of my novel.
In April, Natalie (who is also a writer) and I took a ‘writer’s retreat’ together. It was fabulous. We booked a cabin in the NSW Snowy Mountains and basically sequestered ourselves for four days. We woke, we ate, we dressed and then we wrote – for hours. It was only when our fingers were cramped did we get out and explore. Then, we returned to our cabin and wrote some more. I wrote 55,000 words in that time, working on my novel rewrite.
I have found, like many writers before me, that sometimes you need to sequester yourself.  You need to get away from the ‘have to’s’ and simply focus on the task. That could be said for any project really.  The hardest part is taking that first step to making it happen but once you do…. eureka.

#2. Hobby-based retreats.

Connecting through travel is a big thing for me.  Traveling provides you with memories you will never forget, but I don’t want to forget the details of those travels I’ve taken.
I have always kept journals about my travels where I’ve sketched out my thoughts and impressions. I’ve also created photographic scrapbooks. These scrapbooks join the stories of my travels with the photos I’ve taken.
The scrapbook retreats I’ve taken have been wonderful. There’s nothing like spending a weekend with like-minded people who are focused on their projects, but are also happy to come together to share ideas, products, and stories. Attending these retreats has allowed me to churn out a huge number of pages that I wouldn’t have gotten done at home because I’m able to avoid the distractions home entails.
The thing I’ve loved most about these retreats is the lifelong friends I’ve made along the way.

#3. “I need to regroup” self-retreats.

The most memorable self-retreat I’ve ever taken is one alone to Eureka Springs in Arkansas, right after I had Nat. I think she was about six months old. (That entire time is a bit of a blur for me).
By then, I was already a single Mum. I was struggling with motherhood; I was trying to come to terms with the shock of my husband leaving me just after our daughter was born, without any forewarning; I was in a country not of my own and missing my family; I was dealing with how I was going to get medical insurance, as I was working as a contractor at the time in a Fortune 500 company; and I was dealing with how I was going to pay the mortgage each month on my own  (Do I get a roommate or sell the house?)…
You can say that it was all just too much and I really just needed an escape – to breathe for a while.
I spent three days in the Ozark Mountains – it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I NEEDED that time. I needed the space to think, to breathe, and plan.
The time I gave myself allowed me to pull myself up by my bootstraps. As a result, I was able to make a good life for my daughter and I.
This is me, before escaping life for a while.
Before Retreat.
TaraMarlow2013
After (any!) Retreat.

#4. Spa Retreats

I’ve saved the best – at least the most fun – for last. I love spa retreats, but I have to admit, I have not done them enough in my life. I’m just too frugal. If you have the funds, go for it! I recommend them highly.
I have indulged in a spa retreat twice in my life (so far!). Both times, I walked in an emotional, stressed-out wreck and walked out refreshed and ready to tackle whatever came next.
The first occurred after that instance above when I was trying to get a handle on my life. Two friends surprised me with a Day at the Spa retreat. I handed over my 4-week-old baby to my best friends, and walked in a blubbering mess. I really didn’t know what to expect, but when I was finished late that afternoon, after being completely pampered, I was whisked away for dinner and drinks before going home to sleep more soundly than I had in weeks. Well, months really.
The second time I indulged was right after I quit my corporate job. I had been working 70 hour weeks for months and after an ‘ah-ha’ moment with Natalie (see our About Us page for that little nugget), I said ‘enough.’ I gave four weeks notice, documented everything I did and then some, and walked out the door. A week later, I went to the spa and it was amazing. It was like a cleansing of all the negative ju-ju. I walked out revitalized and ready to tackle the next stage of my life.

So many options…

Everyone is different and you have to find what works for you. The key is to realise you are important enough to take this time for yourself.  It’s not selfish.  It’s necessary.
Retreat.PIN image

NOW IT's YOUR TURN:

What's the best escape you've ever experienced?

Leave your comment below and let us know how you escaped from reality for a while.   Tell us why it was so great.
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