Each year, I travel somewhere in the world, alone, for my own creativity retreat. I treat it as an Artist Residency – time away to focus on my songwriting and visual art. Sometimes I throw a dart at the map, and other times a place is suggested, but wherever I land, I make the most of my precious time by having somekind of plan for my daily activites. Yoga and meditation accompany my writing and art practices. And of course I leave lots of time for spontaneity because it’s important to recognize and follow where the muse leads.
This past January/February, I went to Safe Landing Eco Lodge on Nacula Island in Fiji. I flew from Boston to LA then onto Sydney and from there landed in Nadi, Fiji. I spent a couple of days in the city gathering provisions before taking the Yasawa Flyer Ferry to Nacula Island. My retreat starts the moment I get to Logan Airport. Getting ‘there’ is half the fun for me, thank god, because many of the places I go seem to take an eternity to get to.
The Fijian people are beautiful and remarkable. I was welcomed with open arms and quickly made friends with owners Tevita and Nia, and their staff. My bungalow was on the beachfront, and the waving coconut palms, warm seabreeze and cerulean blue water filled my senses.
After breakfast each day, I’d retreat to my cabin to do some writing exercises or work on a new song. When I needed a break from that, I’d walk the beach and pick up a few objects along the way. Many of these precious sticks and shells became tiny art installations around the property. On one occasion I decided the coconut tree outside my front door would look nice with some colour, and so began the painting of “The Happy Tree” – the most joyful tree in all of Fiji!!
Music and art together have always fueled my imagination. If I’m stuck on a lyric, I’ll do some art, and vice versa. Each has a way of ‘loosening the boot from the mud’, so to speak, and shows me the way forward.
Someday I hope to write a book about my solo travels and retreats. I highly recommend the practice, but you don’t have to go half way around the world to set up your own retreat. Start with a weekend away even if it’s just a motel around the corner, or a campsite an hour away. Have a plan and just do it. You will not regret the experience.