Last week, a rare opportunity arose for me to get away by myself for a few days. It was perfect timing for a change of scene, so I grabbed it, leaving the city behind for the lovely Gulf Islands, leaving the pile of work on my desk behind with the intention of spending a few days focusing exclusively on writing.
I didn’t expect to spend it offline. The place I stayed has wifi, and I assumed I’d be connected as usual. But on the first day, I realized that if I stayed online on email and social media, I may as well have stayed home, because I wouldn’t get the change of mindset I needed to go with the change of location. So I turned it off. Almost. I checked email once and I looked up a couple of research items when I was working. The social media break was an unexpected facet of the time away, but one of the ones I liked best. The lack of internet noise combined with the quiet of the island itself made space, as my friend Mary once said to me, “for the muses to speak.”It was a good feeling, being alone with my own thoughts for awhile.
In the mornings, my dog and I would head out for some sort of adventure and a little exercise. One day, we climbed a mountain for the view.
Another, we walked on the beach and sat on a log, watching the local residents – a seal, an otter, seagulls, birds, a deer, and even a visiting sea lion – go about their business.
We wandered streets and trails, beaches and forests.
And then we’d return to the cabin, and I’d spend the rest of the day working. It even warmed up enough for me to spend a little time writing outside on the deck.
It was the first time I’ve had in a very long time to immerse myself in story to the exclusion of all else, and it was wonderful. Freed of the usual pressures and time constraints of workdays, not attempting to juggle anything but the stories clamouring for attention in my thoughts, my mind was free to explore and mull and plan and plot and write.
It was rejuvenating and satisfying and absolutely worth the overwhelming inbox and long list of regular life stuff I have to catch up on now that I’m home. I can’t wait to do it again.