Reading my book, sipping on a tea and looking out to the ocean. Not bad for a staycation.

Reading a book I wrote, sipping on a tea and looking out to the ocean. Not bad for a staycation.

So remember waaay back (10 days ago) when I announced my winter travel plans? Well, at the time I was in Shanghai and Hangzhou visiting my friends and having a lot of fun. Maybe a little too much fun.

Shanghai had always been a bit of a splurge destination for me. I usually went for 3-4 days at a time and blowing a wad of cash wasn’t a problem. Couldn’t do much damage in a few days. But for 2 weeks? Turns out you can. ( I regret nothing!!)

Which isn’t to say I’m a pauper. I managed to save a bunch of my salary this semester, but there was a reason and I need to save it.

So put those two things together and what have you got? A conflicted Becky. Technically I have enough money to travel, but I won’t have enough to travel and save. So I’m trying to be responsible here and do the right thing.

And I live in Xiamen, right? This is where people go for their holidays. Hell, even I came here 3 years ago during my winter holiday. The weather is 60’s and 70’s everyday and with the students gone the campus is nice and peaceful and the shops surrounding the school are actually usable now without the mobs.

But I don’t just want to waste my time. I have 9-weeks holiday this year (paid-yes, feel free to hate me) but I don’t want to waste it doing the same-old same-old. If I’m not traveling it needs to be for a purpose.

So, I decided I would go on a 4-week writers retreat. Everyday I will go out (home is too distracting) edit one book, and write a new one I have been thinking about. At night I will work on my freelance writing business, something I have been wanting to do for awhile.

No friends, no parties, everyday writing, writing, writing and solitude.

Actually I started this on Monday and I have to say it is going better than expected. Since writing at coffee shops is much easier for me (the slight buzz of noise and activity actually stimulates me and makes me feel more focused) I decided to go to new parts of town to work. After all, Starbucks is a perfect working environment for me and they are on every street corner even here in China. So while I prefer the cute little indie cafes I figured I could always find somewhere, no matter where I go.

So far, in two days I’ve written over 8,000 words (52 pages!), read the first draft of my book for the first time (I wrote it continuously without stopping an going back to read it, so it was the first time I read it actually), took notes so I’m ready to begin revising it, finished up 2 blogs posts and drafted out a third.

I’ve also explored some parts of Xiamen I haven’t been to yet (It was just too hot in the summer, and I was too busy in the fall) and managed to take long rambling walks around the city. (I need the walks to clear my head after writing for a few hours.) In fact, the biggest loser in all of this is my leg as it STILL hurts more than 2 months after I tore it. But that I can deal with. And saying no to friends has been hard too, but I’ve been strict (aka bitchy) about it and they support me, so it’s okay.)

So, I’m sorry for Singapore and Malaysia. I’m sorry that I’m not traveling, but I feel like this is really worthwhile and something I gotta do. Time to focus on my writing for a bit. The amazing people and places (and food) will still be there for me when I finally get there. But now it’s time for me to meet all the characters running around my head.

 

This is my "Shit, it's January and I'm sitting outside with no jacket looking at this beautiful view," face.

This is my “Shit, it’s January and I’m sitting outside with no jacket looking at this beautiful view,” face.

 

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