Your Writing Retreat: Prepare for the Adventure

Third in new blog series that we’re running for the next six months. See all the posts here.

Travel & Writing- Flights of the Imagination Blog Series

Travel & Writing- Flights of the Imagination Blog Series

Travel & Writing: Flights of the Imagination Blog Series with Beth Barany and Paula Chafee Scardamalia

For the next 24 weeks, you are invited to join Paula Chafee Scardamalia and I as we share with you about the magic of travel and writing.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, novels, short stories, personal essays or keep journals, we will offer information, tips, techniques and tools for using travel to inspire, inform, enrich and empower your writing.

Look for posts from both of us at and every other Wednesday.

At the Chateau de Vincennes c. 2012 Beth Barany, All Rights Reserved_IMG_4408

At the Chateau de Vincennes c. 2012 Beth Barany, All Rights Reserved

And get information on our destination retreats, mine’s in Paris for novelists, Paula’s is near Delphi, Greece for writers who want to tap into their dreams. Check out Paula’s post this week on preparing for the adventure of your writing retreat.


Today’s theme: “Preparing for the adventure and what to pack for writing and exploring.”

Once you decide to go on a writing retreat abroad or away from your home town, here’s a list of things to do to prepare and a second list on the essentials of what to pack:

Preparing for the adventure

1. Mindset

There’s a lot to be said for having the right mindset for a writing retreat away. I’d say the key elements are:

  • Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Be opened minded.
  • Know your limits.
  • Be clear on your goal and motivations.
  • Also, be clear on your fears and concerns.
  • Tell people you love what you’re planning so they can both be supportive and water your plants (or feed and pet your pets.)

2. List making

Make a list of all the things you need and want. More on that next.

3. Budget for the time away.

Include the time you’ll need to recover when you get back. You’ll probably want and need time to recover from jet lag or road travel. Also, budget for bills that need to be paid when you get back.

4. Daydream about all the possibilities and be open to what shows up.

Notice what you’d love to have happen, what you want, and what you desire. And play!

5. Set your writing goals and be willing for them to change or shift when you arrive at your destination.

Write these down and be honest about your capabilities. Also, state a stretch goal.
For you: What are some essential preparatory steps you like to take before you leave on a trip?

Essentials on What to Pack

I’ve learned the hard way over the years on what to pack and what not to pack. I now prefer to travel as light as possible so that I can have my luggage on the plane with me, even for international flights.

1. Light-weight sturdy walking shoes
2. Favorite journal and pens. (I wrap my pens in a plastic baggie because they sometimes leak at 30,000 feet.)
3. Camera (or your smart phone)
4. Laptop
5. International plug converters for phone and computer
6. Favorite hygiene items that you think you can’t get abroad.
I had to get my floss from the US when I lived in France. Not something I could find easily on grocery shelves there. I think that’s changed, but I always bring my favorite flossers with me, just in case.
7. Light-weight hand-washable clothes
8. Backup drive(s)
9. International phone card
10. Foreign currency
11. Kindle or favorite book
12. Guidebook & map

What are your must-haves for packing?

You can get an essential packing list here: IngeniousTravel-PackingChecklist.


My big dream

Beth Barany's Big Vision vision board 2013

Beth Barany’s Big Vision vision board 2013. What is your big dream?

My big dream: To take a group of writers to Paris and have a writing workshop on preparing your novel in the beautiful City of Lights.

It’s happening! All the details are here.

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