Ask 10 writers what vacation vibes inspire them and you’ll get 10 different answers. Baptism by hot spring. A beachy paradise set on the Pacific. A remote lakeside AirBnB with a mountain view and elk that literally stop by to visit.
Inspiration lives all over the map. Places where the prose-worthy can re-energize, re-calibrate and reset away from the noise. When you’re freelance, it’s easy to get caught in a rut, tethered to the same spot, laptop in tow. We’re creatures of habit so it’s understandable that you’d not want to shake things up for fear the inspiration fairy would flutter away.
But don’t forget: the gift of penned gab resides within you young grasshopper. Do not squander it. But do feel free to wander it — the country that is — to unleash the digital nomad within. Great fruits may await when you arrive. And, when you return, who knows what might pour out of you — a script, a short story, a novel. Even just a novel take.
Regardless of what it is you seek, here are five places you can travel where the worries go, the words flow and ambition grows.
CLICK TO TWEET>>>Stuck in a writing rut? These top five vacation destinations can inspire freelance writers everywhere. #thewriterslife<<<CLICK TO TWEET
#1: Kauai, Hawaii (or any Hawaiian island for that matter)
True, Hawaii isn’t the cheapest place to go in the U.S. That’s the price you pay for visiting a place built by volcanoes. However, if you’re looking for a spot that’ll leave your spirit feeling anew, what better place to visit than one that’s still forming. Kauai is one of the more aesthetically pleasing of the Hawaiian islands, and one of the quieter ones, a nice place for a solo writing retreat. Cruise the jagged ridges of the Na Pali coastline or hike the lush landscape in search of cascading waterfalls. You can seek out life’s answers in Waimea Canyon or just find your center by the sea. Whichever way you choose to go, get ready for ideas to flow.
#2: Palm Springs, California
There’s something about scorching temps that light a fire under the arses of the apathetic. That’s Palm Springs in the summer, but most people go during more moderate times (and climes) when the pitch perfect, 85-degree dry desert heat is hard to beat.
Whether it’s the palm tree-lined streets, mid-century modern masterpieces or the dramatic silhouette of the San Jacinto mountain range at dusk, there’s inspiration to be found wherever you look. You can get all spiritual at a place like Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs or lounge like a desert lizard at the kind of hotel you’ll only find in P.S. like Parker Palm Springs or the Avalon. Not into hotels, just rent a house for a weekend, which I’ve done with many times with friends (see below). Whichever way you go, prepare to breathe again as you treat your mind and body to the Vitamin D it so badly needs.
#3: Sedona, Arizona
Much has been written about this high-desert escape (90 minutes north of Phoenix), where red rock formations, steep canyon walls and tempting trailheads dare you not to find perspective. Then there’s also the energy-filled vortexes, which if legend has it right, can send a gust of cosmic energy surging through your system for a quick wake-up call.
Inspiration comes in all forms here. You can gaze at luminous star clusters in the dead of night. Or snag a cozy panoramic view at one of the hotels at the foot of the formations such as Amara Resort & Spa. One thing is for sure: Once you’ve bowed at the altar of one of Mother Nature’s red rock temples, the creative well will feel replenished.
#4: The Colorado Rockies
Great writing is filled with big ideas, and big ideas are filled with inspiration gathered from those who’ve lived. To that end, there’s much to discover amid Mother Nature’s playground (and potentially your soul) if you spend some time in the Rocky Mountains skiing, hiking, and sucking up less oxygenated air that may or may not be mildly tinged with legalized marijuana.
Summer or winter, it doesn’t matter. Vail, Boulder, Beaver Creek or Aspen. Choose your perch high above humanity below. Simply find an itinerary that suits you — a cabin with a panoramic view of the rugged terrain or a luxury hotel with lifts and spa treatments. Keep in mind that whatever muse you choose, your soul (and maybe even your next editor) will thank you for it.
#5: Key West, Florida
Of the Florida Keys, Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “It’s as if an imagination is intermingling salt water with desert, sea with plain, creatures of the deep with creatures of the bush.” Whether you’re a fan of the great Hemingway or just familiar with this exotic paradise from watching the Rayburn family do bad things on Netflix’s ‘Bloodline,’ the keys to writerly inspiration are alive and well in this coral cay archipelago at the southernmost tip of the United States. And none more so than Key West.
After all, Hemingway made it famous by writing novels like ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and ‘A Farewell to Arms’ there during his 11-year stint on the island (1928-1939) and it never hurts to occupy the same coordinates of the man who did that. It’s also proven to be a prose-worthy paradise for scribes like Shel Silverstein and playwright, Tennessee Williams. Not to mention singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett who coined a lifestyle based on the place. So, whether you want to fish the waters Hemingway once fished or just fish inspiration from the island life, the ocean here proves a mighty metaphor for endless possibilities.
Need honorable mentions? Here are 5 other destinations that can help writers find words… and why:
- Monterey, California – sea otters, Steinbeck and the epic 17-mile drive.
- Portland, Oregon – bike trails, coffeehouses, craft beer and Shakespeare Festival (adjacent).
- New Orleans, Louisiana – jazz, absinthe, the French Quarter, and the lure of Mark Twain.
- Chicago, Illinois – Second City, Ferris Bueller and the river that runs through it.
- New York, New York – skyscrapers, ‘SNL’, Central Park and a whole lot of Broadway.