I have spoken of the benefits of flying solo and unplugging, but there is another form of escape I have found immensely transformative: retreating with friends. Based on the nature of this blog, you might expect me to make a pitch for a yoga retreat, and while I would highly recommend such an experience, the retreat I am dreaming of is a simple escape - without an agenda, without expectations, and with dear friends.
As an introvert, I love the idea of withdrawing from the world and spending time alone with a few books, a claw footed bathtub, and space to breathe, but there is something immensely restorative about setting out for a destination where all such things are possible - with the added benefit of sharing the experience with those who know and love you best.
Last year, the babe, the sposo, and I joined dear family friends for our first joint family vacation. We rented a home in the mountains just a few hours away, and enjoyed three nights and four days of cooking, laughing, exploring, and relaxing. To be honest, at the outset I wasn't sure how it would work. There were the logistical challenges of traveling with a five month old; the complications of coordinating packing lists, groceries, and cooking responsibilities; not to mention the fear of being separated by a routine from which I derive immense comfort, but away from the minute-to-minute demands of daily life, I was able to let go and simply enjoy the lazy afternoons, beautiful scenery, and late night conversations by the fire, made all the more rich by my fellow travelers.
This year, we decided to return to our previous destination for an even longer stretch, and we leave this week! Surrounded by beautiful vistas and safe from deadlines and the "must-dos" of life at home, I am looking forward to slowing down, focusing on connection, and being present for whatever arises, and I encourage you to find time to do the same.
You don't need to carve out a week to travel away from home; simply find the space to step out of your routine with someone you love and without an agenda. Take a day trip somewhere in your city you don't normally visit. Spend an afternoon at a museum. Schedule a movie and coffee date. Sit in the backyard with a glass of wine.
Take a break...and take someone with you.