I'm a list-maker by nature, and try to be as organized as possible when staying anywhere overnight. For those of you who go on several retreats a year (lucky witches!) you've probably got some kind of list or things you automatically get ready prior to leaving. Others who may be going on their first retreat or, like me, it's been awhile and your list is a little dusty and needs updating to fit your current projects and equipment, here are some of my tips and at the bottom I've shared the list I use to get ready:
- Read and then re-read any emails, directions, workshop supply lists, and other communications you've received leading up to the retreat. There are often small details pointed out in this communication that you skimmed over when they were initially sent out, especially if it was several months ago.
- If you're attending the retreat alone, try and sign up for at least 1 activity like a shop hop, progressive quilt, stash swap, etc... where you're more likely to meet people and have some fun. Heck, I think you should do this even if you're attending with your regular retreat "crew" - meet some new folks and expand your circle!
- Unless there is a planned "fancy" event or dinner, pack light and comfortably. Dress in layers, retreat rooms are notoriously "climate-challenged."
- Pack as many projects as you want, but keep in mind that you probably won't get nearly as much done as you'd like to. It's just the way it is. Better to keep 1 "must work on" project in mind, make sure you have all the supplies you'll need for that project.
- I have this on my checklist, but I can't stress enough how important it is to bring your medications AND headache/stomachache medicine. Yes, others may have some Tylenol or Pepto when you get there, but it's so much better to just have the stuff you like to use and know will knock out one of those unexpected but "down-for-the-count" headaches or stomachaches you get when in a new environment, eating not the healthiest of foods, lots of noise from sewing machines running for hours, loud-talkers, shouters, ups-and-downs to the ironing board, etc... even having lots of fun with a great group of people can cause some stress on your body and senses after awhile!
- Leave the guilt at home. This tip is mainly for the moms...you know what I'm talking about: "oh, I'm missing son's baseball game, I feel bad" or "it's going to rain all weekend, so the kids are stuck inside, I feel bad" or "hubby will have so much to handle with the house and kids by himself for 2-3 days...I feel bad" I could go on and on with reasons you shouldn't "feel bad" about taking some time for yourself to do something you love, but do I really need to? I think you already know this, so consider my "tip" the period on the end of that mental paragraph.
- Supplies-wise, don't stress about forgetting anything EXCEPT the power cord and foot pedal to your sewing machine. Seriously, just about everything else you'll need can be replaced or borrowed in a pinch. But those 2 items, along with your actual machine, MUST be the first to go in the bag. I can't demonstrate enough how bummed you'll be if you can't actually sew at a sewing retreat....yep, been there, done that, and it was a long round-trip home and back again. Yeeesh!
And of course, the most important tip of all: have fun! I know I plan to...my mind is already there.