What to Bring on a Retreat?

For your Retreat, you need to bring the basics. You don’t want to bring too much that will be a distraction but you certainly don’t want to be left wanting for something either. Your retreat can last up to a day. You’ll need more than just a notepad!


I’m a big advocate for eating a good breakfast in the morning. Your brain is going to need a little fuel to get started. Making good choices before you head out will certainly help. I would suggest avoiding caffeine if you can. I say that because it can help lead to distraction. Now, I know a number of people feel that they need caffeine to function. I’m no stranger to caffeine headaches and that’s the last thing we need on a retreat.

Bringing some snacks and a lunch are both going to be very important. I can tell you there’s nothing more distracting than being hungry.

Here’s some thoughts about food and snacks here that might be a little unorthodox. You see, I do like to treat myself from time to time and if I consider a “good” breakfast, I might have some bacon and eggs. Now my usual daily fare is not quite like that so it is a little bit of a shock to my digestive system. In fact, some foods just might create some distractions that are probably pretty unwelcome.

I’d say try to pick things that are satisfying but not amazingly delicious. A simple sandwich for lunch. An apple, banana, and/or some mixed nuts might be just perfect. All we’re trying to do is stop some stomach growling. Doing so simply and quickly to get back to the work at hand!


I know a lot of people are just not big fans of water as a beverage. I certainly don’t want you to be miserable on your Retreat, but hear me out a second.

Sugary drinks can make your mind hop around a bit. Caffeinated drinks may as well. Both can also compel you to hit the bathroom more often. I’m the guy looking to cut down on distractions, so I’m going to say – Drink Water!

Now, going back to the miserable Retreat idea – if you can’t manage, I get it. Here’s some things you can consider to minimize those distractions.

  • Take just SOME water.
  • If you feel that you are getting distracted. Take a short walk. Stretch. Burn off a little of that energy.
  • Take a drink you can thin out a bit. I add water to lemonade (it’s pretty sweet already).
  • When you pick a place for your retreat, make sure there’s access to a bathroom.

There’s a way around it, but you have to bring something to drink. I think being thirsty is probably even more distracting!

Other Stuff

Bring the right clothes for the day. Consider the weather, precipitation or indoor temperatures. Layer appropriately to maintain your comfort. Nobody wants to go home early because it’s too cold or wet; this is an event we’ve been looking forward to!

Your mobile device is OK to take along, but plan to have it on Do Not Disturb. That means no ring tones or vibration. You will take breaks for you to check your phone, but it’s WAY too easy for it to be a distraction.

Lastly and most importantly, bring one or two notepads and plenty of working pens, not pencils. You want to record all your thoughts, even if they might seem fractured or a little silly.

This is entirely for your benefit, nobody else’s. Every one of your thoughts and feelings should be cherished by you, because they are yours. You might not have any particular meaning to a word you jot down that pops into your head in the moment, but later, when taken together with everything else you created, it just might become the best new idea you’ve ever had for your life.


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