A writer's retreat

My son sets up our spot at Navio beach. Could you work here?

I’ve always loved the thought of writing on the beach. I’d sit under an umbrella, listen to the soothing sound of waves, and feel inspired to create. So when an extended weekend beach getaway approached while I was in the middle of a writing groove I thought I’d test my idea.

I packed my laptop, backed up my files on a flash drive, and made sure I had my outline. And then my family arrived at the island of Vieques, off the coast of Puerto Rico. Excited to see the pristine beaches I’d heard about after we checked into our charming hotel, I helped load the back of our Jeep with chairs, a cooler and towels. There was plenty of room left for my laptop, but I didn’t give my computer a second thought.

The beaches in Vieques were everything I had hoped for and more—it took a bit of effort to get to them by dirt road, but once we did, they were perfection. For the next two days we relished in the powdery white sand, soaked in the warm crystal clear waters with fish circling us, and watched the intense turquoise sea blend with royal blue sky on the horizon. Best of all, we were often alone. It was quiet and there were no distractions other than a crab running across the sand or the beautiful shells my son collected. I could have pounded out a chapter or two. But my laptop stayed safely stowed in our cozy hotel room, untouched.

The laptop came home with a tanner and slightly wiser version of me, as I learned a few things I probably should have already known. First, sand and laptops don’t really mix—a detail I hadn’t really thought through before. Second and equally obvious, relaxing and unplugging are not only good for the soul and for the family but reenergize and get creative juices flowing. Finally, if I’m picking a writer’s retreat location in the future, it’s got to be somewhere where it is really cold outside, preferably with a fireplace. Unless someone has some beach front property they are looking to give away—then I’d learn to get used to it.  

Caracas beach at sunset