Tuesday, September 20

Reflections on a Gift of Vacations . . . and Friendship


It was two weeks ago that Liz and I left for our Michigan vacation/writers retreat. I had a glorious week, enjoying first of all, Liz’s company. We are very companionable travelers and it’s rare to find someone you can travel with well. Our clocks are pretty much in sync, so one of us isn’t sleeping late while the other rises at the crack of dawn. Neither of us are particularly night owls, so we pretty much crashed each night at about the same time. Our energy levels are on par and we both enjoy walking, even though the weather was almost too sultry to go outside much during the day—unusual in Michigan. We’ve vowed to make our trip be later or earlier in the year next year to avoid uncomfortable extremes of weather.

The river walk was delightful and I loved walking along the bluff above the lake, watching the waves and the brave souls who wind-surfed or swam. I wasn’t quite bold enough to go into the icy water this trip. As a kid, I learned to swim in Lake Michigan and although I remember the water being cold, I don’t remember letting that stop me from forging into the surf. Age, on the other hand, occasionally stops me from doing stuff I did as a kid. We enjoyed visiting the Maritime Museum, a boat ride up the Black River, and trying new dishes at several nice restaurants in South Haven.

This trip was different because instead of staying in hotels, we rented a cottage, and I have to say, I liked that. Having our own kitchen, spreading our laptops and notes out on the dining room table, being able to get up in the morning, make a pot of coffee, and sit in our pjs to talk and write was incredibly freeing. So much so that I freed myself from the confines of Willow Bay and started a brand new story. 

We got to bounce ideas off one another and as Liz pointed out, although we both read aloud in the privacy of our offices at home, sharing what we’d written with each other was great. At one point or another, each of us was heard to say things like, “I need a word for . . .” and “Does this sound awkward?” or “Listen, what do you think?” Brainstorming story lines or character arcs, figuring out exactly how much is too much backstory and whether or not a plot line is believable while you’re actually writing just works for me. 

There aren’t very many people I could do this kind of trip with—writing and relaxing and talking—man oh man, did we talk. Not just about writing, but about everything and that was another true blessing of traveling with Liz. She listens, offers wisdom, doesn’t judge, and even if we don’t come from the same place, we usually always end up in the same place on any given subject. Each time we travel, we discover something new that we have in common and we never ever run out of topics to discuss. I’m looking forward to next year—maybe doing something different and taking two shorter trips—one in spring and one in fall—because even though we had a wonderful time, both of us missed the spouses terribly.
The trip was a gift, but more important, the friendship is a gift—one that I never expected to get so late in my life. Thanks for a terrific time, Liz! Looking forward to next year!

8 comments:

  1. It was wonderful, for all the reasons listed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Man, am I ever glad you agree! ;-) Hugs!!

      Delete
  2. ...and I say again: I want to tag along! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We should totally find a place for a Word Wranglers retreat--how fun would that be??

      Delete
  3. Agree with Kristi! I wish you all lived a heck of a lot closer. To me. You live close enough to each other already. Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margie, we could talk about a Northwest Retreat--I'm open. ;-)

      Delete
  4. I love retreats. I used to go on a retreat every spring with some writing friends, but the group has kind of disbanded and I miss it terribly. I live far away from ALL of you (I think) but I'd certainly consider travelling.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds fabulous! The perfect retreat!

    ReplyDelete