A first taste of solo travel via a solo writing retreat


westbrook-court-minimal-bedroom (1 of 1)

Ever longed to go on a solo travel adventure? Perhaps a whimsical escape to a cottage in the countryside with the sole intention of spending quality time with yourself and your creative pursuits, 100% guilt free? Me too. And just the other month, I did it!

I’ve always been a lover of adventure but I’ve always played things safe. I admired friends who, seemingly fearless, set off around the world with little more than a backpack and their wanderlust. Their stories still fascinate me and make me green with envy, but the thought of staying in a hostel always filled me with dread so I never gave it a go. I’m not about to start now either.

As well as dreaming of a solo travel adventure a la Cheryl Strayed in Wild, I’m forever looking for new ways to boost my productivity and get a handle on my love of procrastination, so when I read an article that suggested a DIY solo writing retreat I was all in. It was a two birds with one stone kind of moment. I found a picturesque countryside B&B on the edge of Brecon Beacons National Park, packed up the car with the essentials and off I went.

I’m embracing a new desire to be brave and more independent as I edge closer to thirty. Starting this blog has taught me so much in the space of 8 months. The most surprising discovery has been that I’m more creative than I ever gave myself credit for and I’ve rediscovered my love of writing. On the flip side I’m often terrified of what that might mean. Creativity takes courage and although I know that to make things happen I need to lean into my fear, that’s easier said than done.

I’ve never been anywhere overnight on my own before and I was surprised by just how scared I was when it came to setting off and then again when arriving at my destination. Luckily I needn’t have worried and as it turns out – leaning into that fear was just what I needed. Everything was just as whimsical as I could’ve wished for.

Westbrook Court B&B - Jessica Rose Williams

Westbrook Court B&B - Jessica Rose Williams

Westbrook Court B&B Breakfast - Jessica Rose Williams

Westbrook Court B&B - Jessica Rose Williams

I enjoyed every minute of the experience I’d initially felt afraid of. The long drive allowed me time to indulge in the podcasts I enjoy and the alone time gave me a chance to write uninterrupted. There was nothing to be afraid of, least of all my breakfast appearing outside my barn door in the morning – I think we could all get used to that.

The thing with creativity, and writing is no exception, is that it needs to be nurtured. You have to make time for it, show up and invite inspiration in. I still can’t quite believe what a difference being away from all the distractions of day to day life made. The article I’d read wasn’t kidding. I wrote in excess of 7,000 words in the space of 24 hours! That’s unheard of for me. It’s amazing how being somewhere away from home can free up your mind. 

When it was time to leave my little countryside retreat I felt strangley proud of myself, like I’d had a confidence boost. I was in no rush to check out and even squeezed in a wander around Hay-on-Wye (the town of books) before I set off home. I’m so glad I gave myself a nudge and dived into some solo travel. I refocused on a lot of things and realised just how scared I am of travelling alone. Something to work on.

Hay on Wye - Jessica Rose Williams

Hay on Wye Bookshop - Jessica Rose Williams

Hay on Wye

Part of me felt guilty about taking the time away from our business (all my creative stuff isn’t my full time job remember) but I realised I’d been too hard on myself once I’d felt the benefits of my trip. I didn’t just come home with words and photos. I came home feeling inspired, more confident and focused. If I compared the time and money it cost me to what I used to spend on meaningless stuff and all the time I spent procrastinating over writing at home – it was a bargain! It’s okay for us to be selfish now and then, we owe it to ourselves.

If you’re an adventurous soul but suffer from that same fear I do, try leaning into it and do the thing that scares you anyway. You might be surprised by what you learn and what you create along the way. I’ll always be happy I gave myself permission to experience some solo travel and I’m determined to go again. Cheering you on!

Thank you for having me Westbrook Court B&B and thank you to Yes and Yes Blog for the idea

Have you dared to travel solo? How did it go? Does the thought of travelling alone fill you with excitement or fear? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Solo travel via a solo writing retreat | Solo travel | Creativity tips | Simple living |





8 comments on “A first taste of solo travel via a solo writing retreat”

  1. Hi Jessica,
    I totally get this desire to travel solo. I’m a single gal and only just recently, within the past year, started going to movies and ballgames by myself. Previously I had felt like I was dragging someone to do things I wanted to do, trying to lure them into coming with me with the promise of a free ticket and maybe a cocktail if available. I’m over it! Next up is for me to travel to upstate New York on my own but my struggle is coming up with money for a rental car and an airbnb. That’s a benefit of traveling with others; You can split the costs!

    Good for you for venturing out there! It sounds like you had such a peaceful time.

    1. Definitely a benefit! Surely a bus, train or plane would be cheaper? I’m doing more and more on my own and loving it. I thought eating out alone when I was away would be weird and scary but I loved it. I clocked up some great people watching time.

  2. I’m an expat and I moved abroad on my own, but there were systems in place that made me not feel solo (school, work, etc) but since I’ve been in the UK the past 8 years I hadn’t really traveled alone. So last year I decided I would start doing the occasional foreign weekend break without my husband. It was really terrifying at first and caused me lot of anxiety but it made me feel a lot stronger too! (I have a whole blog post about it – but since I first started traveling solo I’ve been to 6 different countries on my own!) x

  3. As a solo traveler of everywhere from California to Saudi Arabia, I’m thrilled to see you got to experience how it’s like. (And what a beautiful place to experience it for the first time!) I find the fear for me when I started was more the fear of being alone. Leaning into it has made me more confident and comfy in my own shoes, and I’m all the better for it. Have fun going on more solo adventures!

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