Hello, dear readers!
I'm back from a blissful solo writing retreat to Venice, CA! (I was there last month with the family, and came back for some creative time away, and it was WONDERFUL.)
I had a plane voucher for a couple hundred dollars which I had to use back in October. Wisely, I remembered that I always get depressed and restless in February in Colorado. I always feel ready for winter to be over around now, but here in Ft Collins we get snow through April.... and I desperately crave warm weather.
I'm also a girl-of-the-sea at heart, and I can't get enough of the ocean....
So back in October, I scheduled this trip, and man oh man, am I glad I did! The past couple months in Colorado have been rough-- with some days never getting above the single digits, freezing one's nose hairs within minutes outside.
I found this abracadabrant place to stay on Air B n B, in the heart of Venice... in a sixties trailer! Heaven!
The couple rents out this trailer as well as an Airstream, and they did a great job renovating and decorating them. (As you might know, I have my own vintage trailer that serves as my creative space, and find it really cozy and inspiring.)
I loved traveling alone before I was a wife and mother, and I still love it... maybe even more now! I love not having to cater to anyone else's needs or compromise with anyone... I love being able to follow my whims as I explore. I love not having to talk to anyone unless I want to... and spending days conversing only with my notebook if I feel like it.
Ian was very sweet to encourage me to go on this trip... I have several author visits coming up this spring (that I didn't know about when I bought this ticket back in October), and I was hesitant to ask him to do solo childcare for Lil Dude... but he told me I should definitely go. And I did (and of course, I missed them both), and I feel SO refreshed and invigorated now.
The courtyard area of this place was artistic and eclectic, filled with flea market finds, from antique globes to tribal statues to vintage farm tools.
I love this lifestyle, where there are no boundaries between indoors and outdoors. The owners are artists-- Tao is an Italian film-maker and photographer who works out of another trailer in the yard. Roisin, from Ireland, does some kind of research and takes a lot of care in arranging all the plants and artwork. It made me want to work more on having more indoor-outdoor flow in my own home, but of course, that's harder to do with the weather extremes in Colorado. But I resolved that during the windows of time when our weather is gentle, I will do this!
Tropical plants galore... bouganvillea and honeysuckle vines and bamboo and a million varieties of succulents and what I call "Dr. Seuss plants." It was just a five block walk to the beach and to the yummy food on Abbot Kinney Blvd. I ended up getting most of my food to go (cheaper), and ate it back here in the courtyard. Gjelina's Take Away (GTA) was other-worldly delicious... I got ideas for new things to try making at home. (In fact, this morning I'm making their salmon toast. *mouth already watering*)
I love reading about creativity, and how brains work, and one thing's for sure: Creativity depends on you seeking out new, stimulating experiences to make new and surprising neural connections. I try to honor this in my everyday life, by taking new routes on walks with the dog, or wandering around flea markets to discover strange old things. And I'm adamant about making travel a big part of my life... for me, that's what travel is: zap-zap-zapping new neural pathways and opening new worlds and ways of thinking.
Okay, I'll wrap up the little tour now. The bathroom! It was outside, in this little art-filled room.
And the cherry on top of my excursion was seeing my adorable cousin, Michelle (and her new husband and wee dog) . I hadn't seen her for ages, but we caught up with each other this trip, and had brunch at this cafe right on the Venice beachfront.
I also read part of Shine Shine Shine (loving its weirdness) and Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. (Not as crazy about that, but glad I read two of the stories and love the evocative title.)
I also learned about Dadaism, from a book in the trailer (and I guessed that might be the philosophical framework behind much of Tao and Roisin's art?)
If you're considering a trip there, here's the link to the trailer I stayed in. It's only for one person, but the Airstream on the same property is for a couple. Also, if you're considering going, note that I didn't need to rent a car... I just took a Supershuttle from the airport to the property, and walked everywhere.
All right, time to finish making this salmon toast! Thanks for reading... I hope you're finding a way to survive February, too!