Once you have committed, the first most common question is where to go on retreat? A Personal Retreat can be done just about anywhere, but there are some things you might consider. There are also plenty of problems to avoid.
I’ll share a few tips that will help you make this important decision on where to go on retreat. These should help you ensure your retreat is successful and fulfilling.
One of the most common destinations I have seen people take is on some faraway place. Kind of make a holiday out of it. What better place to go on retreat? This decision is fraught with a few possible issues. The first is expense! Most retreats should be done by yourself, or where you can be alone most of the time. When you go somewhere alone there is not much money saving when it comes to accommodation and food.
So, you have the money to spend? Well, consider the amount of time your retreat will take. You will have travel time to and from the destination to plan for. Depending on your flexibility, this could be a significant hit to your available time.
Still thinking of that getaway destination on where to go on retreat? One more thing to think about are some of the unknowns. Even though I took a retreat which was 15 minutes away, and the timing ensured few people, an event upended everything. You see, I decided to go to a part on an off-day and have my retreat. Typically empty, but on the day I showed up, there was a huge event happening. I could not have known because the even schedule had changed a day or two before.
Imagine traveling a few hours, or even days to reach your destination only to find a surprise wedding taking place nearby. Rambunctious revelers staying up late and robbing you of needed rest the night before your retreat. I’m certain you could push through it, but I think we can agree it’s a situation best avoided.
Where to go on Retreat
When you are planning your Personal Retreat, consider what some of your goals might be. Are you looking for a lot of silence? Very few people? Little to no chance of interruption? There are surprising places much closer to home that you can consider.
If it is a warm and dry time of year, you might pick a park or nature preserve. These places are sometimes quite large, and it is easy to go lose yourself (make sure you have your cell phone).
Even these places can be busy on weekends. Consider taking a retreat during the week. When you do not have as far to travel, it might be easier to get the time off. Picking a day like Monday or Tuesday might help avoid any unwelcome distractions from your retreat work.
Perhaps you live in a colder area or it is a season which does not make the outdoors a great solution. In my research for the Personal Retreat, I tried some alternative locations that turned out well. My first one was the public library. Most libraries are quiet places, and they try to remain so. This is not universally true, however. My community has a library which is often frequented by adolescents spending time after school. Generally, that is not a big deal, but they can get a little excited and create distractions that you might not care for. Going early enough that you can complete your retreat before they arrive could work out well.
The other place I tried was a small community college library. Most are free to the public (you pay for them after all), and you can find a quiet corner to focus. Even more quiet during the times of year that college is on break and most students are at home, and not studying.
If you go to church, you may ask the leader if there is a time of the week that the facilities may not be in use. Retreat should be a sanctuary and what better place than an actual sanctuary?
A little thinking outside the box can be helpful in choosing where to go on retreat. You might ask friends or family for ideas, perhaps they are going on vacation and their house will be empty. A house sitter is probably a welcome guest!
I hope you enjoyed my ideas about where to go on retreat. You’ll find these and a few other ideas in the Personal Retreat, and in the Coaching Programs I provide. If you have a retreat location that really worked well for you, please let me know! I’ll make sure to mention it here to help others have the most productive and insightful experience possible.