I’ve met some of my closest friends online. (I’ve also met some nutballs, but I’m choosing to ignore that.) Way back when we met, in 2008, (which is the dark ages as far as the internet is concerned, lol), I knew that I wanted to meet in person. I thought the idea of having a retreat together would be buckets of fun.
That dream became a reality and we’ve been meeting ever since on an annual basis. It reminds me, to be honest, of my friend’s family reunions – when she started, it was just a few people, but she’s grown it to a huge affair with over a hundred people. Now, I don’t intend to have such large gatherings for our modest little writing retreat, but here are some travel tips I’ve put together for people who’d like to meet in real life, and not just virtual.
Five Travel Tips
- Pick a weekend and camp on it. For example, the last weekend in such-and-such month will be our regular meeting time.
- If you can, host it in locations where a member of your group can have people camp out. It’ll be like a giant slumber party, but for adults.
- Watch out for time zones. Traveling from Chicago to Portland, for example, means going back two hours in time zone, so you want to account for that when making travel plans. This means, allow for a day to travel on either side of the event itself (say, Friday and Monday for travel, which allows a full day Saturday and a full day Sunday for play).
- Not everyone is used to travel. Make sure to prepare a list of everyone’s travel plans and include their mobile phone numbers, as well as their spouses who have stayed behind, in case it’s needed on travel days.
- Not everyone can afford to travel. Avoid making someone feel left out and utilize technology to your benefit. Google Hangouts and Skype are both free, and with some careful scheduling, the people who can’t attend in person can attend virtually. Make sure you have someone, or more than one someone, take photographs and document what’s happening during the retreat as well – this will be for your own memories, of course, but also so that people who cannot come can feel like they’re a part of it.