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On Taking a Creative Work Retreat.

I think of creative movement as a breaking open.
It’s the opportunity to remove pieces of your generic shell and reveal the rich colorful gooey goodness that’s living behind it.

I think the need for a change creatively becomes apparent. It’s like an itch that you can’t stop thinking about until you’ve scratched it exactly the right way. In order to see the need clearly, I believe we have to put ourselves in the right position. Like an intentional Humpty Dumpty. Sitting on the wall waiting for the right moment to fall.

It was a few months ago that I started to feel the itch. I knew that something needed to be figured out for me. I went in search of that and as I grew closer to the answer I knew that I needed time.

As many of you know, time is not something that I’m particularly rich in at the moment. I went in search of the right place for me to do my breaking open. To take the time to ask myself the right questions and to put some steps to my dreams. I figured that I had about $300 to spend on a plane ticket and so I made a list of cities I could get to in that time. I put it to a vote and you all chose Portland and shortly after I purchased my ticket for what I’ve affectionately called my creative work retreat.

Portland was the perfect city for my personal inspiration. I’m thrilled to try new coffees and inspired by any sort of complexity in flavor. I also loved being able to get everywhere that I needed by walking or taking public transportation.

I used my time to write, sometimes several times a day. I read a great book that inspired me, worked on projects and plans in different coffee shops, I put myself in the position to feel inspired and even wrote up a plan for my next steps.

Here are the highlights of my trip:

1. Where I stayed.

I stayed at the Northwest Portland Hostel. It was the perfect place for me for several reasons. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, the rooms were clean and comfortable, having the interaction with other travelers meant a lot for my degree of inspiration, the price point was such that I was able to stay for a longer period of time, and it was in an amazing location that made my trip easily walkable. I could not recommend a stay here enough!

my bed…

2. The Aerial Tram. 

There’s something incredibly inspiring to me about being up high. I’m a sucker for a literal change in perspective I guess. I also like that little rush when you think that there’s a chance that you could plummet to your death if one tiny thing goes wrong. I think it’s invigorating to think of how much there is to live for. One afternoon I made my way to the aerial tram. (side note: I grabbed a cappuccino and a macaron from the little shop where you get your ticket. If I were to do it again, I’d definitely grab the macaron and pass on the capp. There’s too much great coffee in Portland to waste time on anything mediocre.) Once you reach your destination on the aerial tram you end up at a hospital. That feels weird at first, but, I took some time to explore. It was really lovely to sit on one of the patios and watch the tram make its rounds.

3. Multnomah Whiskey Library

I was intimidated to walk into this place. But, I was determined to buy myself a great bourbon and to take time to write and what better place to do that than in a whiskey library. So, I made my sweaty way upstairs into the fanciest bar I think I’ve ever entered. The friendly staff made me feel less like an outsider and the menu was designed in such a way that made me feel comfortable trying something new without feeling overwhelmed by their incredibly large selection. I felt like I stepped outside of time when I entered. Whiskey with a little bit of whimsy may be a writers dream.

4. Walking across the bridge. 

When’s the last time you were so happy in a moment that you stood by yourself and beamed ear to ear like a fool? Mine was walking across a bridge in Portland from Water Ave. coffee back to my hostel. There’s just something about the water, the cars zooming by and the sweet smiles of strangers that sent me over the moon with joy.

5. Getting lost. 

My everyday life is filled with routine. My weeks are usually scheduled out for me before they even begin. It’s helpful for me to keep track of everything that I have to do. But, it’s not always the best for inspiration. One of the highlights from my time in Portland was having free time and getting to choose how I used it. One particular day I hopped on a train and rode it until there was a stop that sounded interesting to me. I ended up at the zoo and a small walk across the street led me to this spot where I got to sit and read under the trees and spend just a few moments in the bliss of having nowhere that I needed to be.

The gift of a change in perspective, of time, of conversations with myself is everything that I could have asked for. You will begin to see a few changes around here. Slowly but surely my hopes for this website will begin to take a stronger form and it’s all thanks to my time in Portland and a little bit of quality time with myself.

I know that we can’t all take a trip across the country for perspective. There are a myriad of reasons why that may sound insane to you. (although, if you do, can I recommend portland as your destination?) But, maybe you can take a step away. Take a day trip, take a long walk or even take yourself camping. Whatever it is that inspires you. Maybe even just take this week to ask yourself every single day what would make you feel a little more connected to yourself.

I promise, it’s worth it.

with love,

Sarajane.

 

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