Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 14, 2013 - 8:09pm

I have some time off work coming up, and not that I'm planning on using all of it to write, I got to thinking:  If you could take a week long vacation anywhere at all for the sole purpose of writing, where would you go? Quiet, or bustling? Alone, or with friends/partner/family?  Bare-bones, or high-end?

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 14, 2013 - 8:19pm

I have done this and can attest to its awesomeness. http://www.esalen.org/

 

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 14, 2013 - 8:32pm

.... that does look awesome. Huh, I just missed the Dangerous Writing workshop. Is it worthwhile just to go and not enrol in anything?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 14, 2013 - 8:48pm

I'd suggest some place in the upper peninsula in Michigan. Very pretty and shouldn't be too hard to find a spot to just be alone and write. 

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder March 14, 2013 - 9:19pm

I've always wanted to visit the upper peninsula, and I'm too close to not have been there quite yet. Nice suggestion.

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig March 14, 2013 - 10:18pm

I would send everyone else away and sit at my desk... but that would probably cost more.

Other than that, I'd go somewhere with weather that afforded the privelege of keeping windows open, and somewhere nice and quiet to wander when I need a break. My personal favorite place in Coronado Island out here in CA. OR I'd go somewhere with a great culture of creativity, like NOLA.

And if my intent was to write, and do nothing but, I would go alone. I love weekends away with my significant other, and I do tend to write on those trips, but I wouldn't want to feel like I was obligated to do things with him, or that I was missing out on something he was doing. I'd just avoid that distraction completely.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 14, 2013 - 11:08pm

@Renee - I'm sure that is a cool place, but I was thinking of things closer to our part of the continent. Cheaper and all that. And this is only like 70% an excuse to use the word continent and have it make sense in the sentence.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 15, 2013 - 8:40am

....  Is it worthwhile just to go and not enrol in anything?

Nick, I would say yes! Wholeheartedly.  I'd been toying with the Spanbauer workshop, too but couldn't make the logistics work. Quelle shame. 

The Henry Miller Library is just up the road in Big Sur. Guests at Esalen have 24 hour access to the mineral pools which are perched on cliffs above the Pacific, there are daily art and movement classes, the food is mostly organic and the majority is grown on the site. Here's something to consider; there is an upcoming workshop this summer with Cheryl Strayed and Pam Houston. While it has been sold out for months already, if you register in another workshop running concurrently with that one, you can talk to the registration desk and switch workshops once you're there. There were 3 people in an abandonment workshop who did just that, which was hilariously ironic. 

From YYZ, fly into SFO and rent a car. The drive down is half the fun and while in SFO, you can go to City Lights bookstore, take a day trip up to Bolinas and Stinson Beach where the beat poets used to hang, etc. 

 

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 15, 2013 - 8:54am

Before I got sick awhile back, my plan was to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, and write a novel as I did so.

With my lung capacity permanently diminished to the point that a full-on through-hike is pretty unlikely, I think just getting into some deep wilderness with a couple notebooks and pens would be my ideal writerly vacation.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 15, 2013 - 9:05am

Apparently I am in the wrong line of work and should be offering vacation planning for writers: 

Two of my other favorite writing vacations have been to Paris/the Loire Valley and Portland. The great thing about both of these places is that they have established writing communities and can be done quite economically if you are a savy traveller. 

Paris is a no-brainer; writing in the Duex Magots and Cafe de Flore with the ghosts of Hemingway and de Beauvoir, Barnes, Stein, et al, drinking and dangling your legs over the hill at Sacre Couer where Morrison sat and watched the sunset, Shakespeare and Co, the Seine, the parks, the people, the art, the eternity of it all...just GAH! 

Portland is super stimulating: I went directly to Powell's City of Books and then went back three more times over a five day visit. You can't throw a rock without hitting a reading there. The neon, the strip clubs, the pancake houses, the pedi-cabs and cyclists, the recycling, the upcycling, the bridges, the food trucks. Sigh. 

All of the above trips can be done on less than $2000 CDN, including airfare. 

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 15, 2013 - 9:09am

Drea, you've single-handedly made me want to move to Portland now. Thanks a lot.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 15, 2013 - 9:22am

I even deliberately left out the donuts, dude. 

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics March 15, 2013 - 11:37am

Oh, I already know all about the donuts, so that's just frosting.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 15, 2013 - 12:23pm

I tend not to get a lot of writing done while on vacation, but I like to think of it as time and money invested in inspiration. My favorite destinations are the Swedish highlands and London. I started writing when I lived in London so the city has become something of a muse, plus it's the kind of place where you feel it's ok to to cuddle up in the park and have champagne at noon.

At the moment I work too hard and make too little money to go on vacation. This is my spot though. It's good for listening to the ocean, and occasionally going on marinetraffic.com to look up the ships passing out in the bay.

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig March 15, 2013 - 1:10pm

Dwayne-- Coronado Island is as close to the continent as you can get and still be an island, haha. But it's expensive to stay there. We stay at the on-base hotel so it's as cheap as anywhere for us. So... take that rec, and interpret it as "somewhere near a beach, where you can write with the windows open".

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 15, 2013 - 1:56pm

@Linda - That looks like a damn fine spot to me! My family of origin is Swedish and the closest I've been was looking North across the Baltic Sea from Ustka. One day...

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 15, 2013 - 2:13pm

@drea - It is a damn fine spot, but west of the baltic so all you can see is Denmark. I really hope you get to go some day, just make sure you make it past Stockholm. I've never been to Canada, but in my imagination it's a lot like Sweden. To be honest though, 95% of that image probably comes from what I know of your climate, healthcare, and correctional system.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 15, 2013 - 2:53pm

How about a "cultural exchange" in 2014 or 2015? I went on a travel binge for five years and when the world didn't end in 2012, I had to revise my financial planning strategy. And despite my heritage, all I know about Sweden is Lutfisk, meatballs, Ikea, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, ABBA, and how to say var är katten. I actually used that once. 

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day March 15, 2013 - 4:25pm

@ Linda I've met a handful of Swedes in Toronto and they seem to like it alright, but I get the impression they like Sweden a lot more.

re: Portland... I've never hidden my feelings about hipsters, but that still seems like an awesome city. But Big Sur is really tempting...

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 16, 2013 - 2:30am

@ drea - That's an awesome way to spend the false end of days. Where did you go? And 'Var är katten?' is indeed a useful phrase, even dogs will know what you're looking for. If you want to see a good Swedish film made in modern times, I recommend Låt den rätte komma in. There's an American remake (I think it's called Let the right one in) but I haven't seen that one. Now, if you recommend a Canadian film, we can call it a soft launch of the cultural exchange. 

@ Nick - I'm not surprised, but I think most nationalities have a kind of born and bred nostalgia for their country. Same reason people end up settling down in places they grew up dying to get away from.      

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 16, 2013 - 3:20am

@Renee - I meant more distance from here & Toronto then the fact that it is an island.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 16, 2013 - 9:26am

@Nick, let us know where you settle on! You should totally do a writerly vacation - it can be as simple as a quiet cottage in the country or as exotic as some of the options I've suggested. Williamsburg/Brooklyn/NYC is another great writer destination. 

@Linda - I have actually been meaning to see that film! Thanks for the reminder. As far as quintessentially Canadian films, we are so culturally influenced by our neighbours to the south that there is very little distinction...I'd say try One Week, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, and FUBAR (which is a cult classic). 

As far as travel, I went to Florida, Poland, France (twice), the Mayan Riviera, Big Sur/San Fran, Los Angeles and Disneyland, Portland, New York, Vancouver and Vancouver Island. France, Big Sur, Portland, and to some degree NYC were writing vacations. 

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore March 16, 2013 - 8:40pm

I did this several years ago when working on my first novel. (I actually wrote that book in about six different cities, all told.) Took four days in Manhattan, New York City on a writing vacation. Was all I could afford. By myself. It was my first time there, so I spent a third of it doing tourist things, part of the time writing, and the rest sleeping. Kept a journal, too, which isn't something I would usually do. At home, alone time is not a problem for me, so I wanted the stimulation of an urban environment as opposed to a pastoral one.

The room cost a freaking fortune, because I was right next to Central Park, which I spent about an hour per day walking. But it also blocked out all the sun, so I could keep my own hours, usually sleeping four or five at a time and then waking up to write for a while. I tried to talk to people as much as possible, including Rupert from the Letterman show, and I technically "had lunch with" Amanda Peet at a deli, even if we only spoke a few sentences to one another. It was a great experience, extremely productive, and yet still a vacation at the same time.

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 17, 2013 - 1:44am

@ drea - I can tell just from reading the synopsis that I will enjoy Fubar. Have you seen Anvil (used to be called The story of Anvil)? That one's a fine example of Canadian filmmaking, haven't seen an American documentary that even comes close. 

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 17, 2013 - 7:45am

@Linda - How have I not seen that?! Consider soft Launch launched. And definitely watch FUBAR 2; so so good. 

Profunda Saint-Sylvain's picture
Profunda Saint-... from Calgary, AB is reading Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series March 17, 2013 - 7:51am

Oh my god, living in Calgary I've had way too many run ins with those FUBAR boys that I can't even watch the movie anymore. Also, I probably need to see Anvil right now.

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 17, 2013 - 10:11am

@Profundia - They played with Forbidden Dimension at the Premiere afterparty in 2010. I was at both and shotgunned a Pil with them in a closet before the movie premiere. I still have the beer can and photos : ) That's the same night I met John Dunsworth (Lahey) and we talked writing for an hour. GAHHHH! 

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 17, 2013 - 2:47pm

Just thinking about Anvil makes me all soft inside and wanting to go to every aspiring musician's concert, alternatively adopt middle age rockers. It's just heartbreaking in all the right ways. Dreamers keep dreaming.

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 17, 2013 - 5:21pm

@Linda -

Dreamers keep dreaming.

That is so interesting. Because I always say that, but I think my thought process is different.

Dreamers keep dreaming. What they need to do is get a real job.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 17, 2013 - 5:34pm

wow. to all of this, wow. i can't sell the wife on letting me go someplace really cool to write, it's my desk in my office, or nothing. even when i was down in kentucky for my MFA i wrote NOTHING. having too much fun. although, i'd love to rent a cabin up in wisconsin and take a weekend, if it wasn't too much. i've seen someplaces go for $100/night. but i'd have to write 30k words or more to rationalize that time, and writing 10k a day is my max for sure. i just can't type any faster, my wrists and arms get sore, and as much as i can channel the story in a great stream, you get worn out at about that mark. 8-10k, yeah, that's my max for one day. if i thought i could write an entire novel in a weekend? maybe. drea, damn. you are quite the inspiration.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 17, 2013 - 6:21pm

@Richard - Have you considered a cheap hotel near your home? No distractions from either home or the unfamiliar. 

drea's picture
drea from Rural Alberta, Canada is reading between the lines March 17, 2013 - 8:35pm

@Richard, I basically spent the equivalent cost of a degree on travel. I'm not some born with a silver spoon in my mouth brat; 40 is creeping up and I had a lot of living to do to make up for the suck that was the first 35 years of my life. 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like March 17, 2013 - 8:42pm

I'd like a whole month of nothing to do. I would go cold turkey on nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. It would take me exactly one week to die. Then, I would be dead for another week. After that, I would reemerge as a human bullet in a state of eternal ricochet.

Profunda Saint-Sylvain's picture
Profunda Saint-... from Calgary, AB is reading Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series March 17, 2013 - 10:08pm

@Drea Haha that's funny! I've been dragged out of metal karaoke a couple times by those guys for my terrible drunken Rob Halford falsettos, and the first time I met Andy (Tron) he totally threw a hot dog at me. (Did you ever see a Helvis show? Seriously the best shit ever...) 

Linda's picture
Linda from Sweden is reading Fearful Symmetries March 17, 2013 - 11:54pm

@Dwayne - OR, they get a job with Meals on Wheels and keep trying.

I get what you're saying though.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated March 18, 2013 - 12:06am

I'm not getting onto the unemployed, just a very lazy subset that give others who enjoy artistic endeavors a bad name.

Tim Johnson's picture
Tim Johnson from Rockville, MD is reading Notes From a Necrophobe by T.C. Armstrong March 18, 2013 - 8:23am

It's hard for me to get writing done whenever I go on vacation because I really like to explore. But I have used vacation time in the past to stay at home for a week and basically live my dream life: wake up, write, maybe go to a cafe, write, read, etc. Staycations are the best.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore March 18, 2013 - 10:58am

Most of my vacations have been staycations with no agenda but writing. That said, I still got more done in my four days in NYC than I would've here, aided by a change of venue plus the urgency that came with an abbreviated stay.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 19, 2013 - 9:45pm

@dwayne - i have, but i can usually get my office to myself. three years of an MFA and a week residency with Writers in the Heartland plus several AWP conferenced out of town (NYC, Denver) have pretty much soaked up my travels for a bit.

@drea - great idea. i wish i'd spent my MFA money on travel!