A couple of months ago I came upon an Instagram meme describing a dream trip for me: a group of book-lover friends going away together for a reading retreat where everyone brings a stack of books, reads all day, and discusses the books over dinner in the evening. When I saw this I immediately knew I had to take a trip like this and I also knew there was no better group to do it with than my book club. I pitched the idea and everyone was eager to pick a date and location and to make it happen. Out of the nine women that make up the book club, six were able to come to Florida for the weekend. All of us have busy schedules, many of us work, and between us, we have sixteen kids. But, the idea of reading all day on the beach with fellow book-obsessed friends was worth the logistics of figuring everything out to make it happen. And I’m so glad we did! We truly had the best time.
One thing that I really love about this group of women, aside from our shared love for all things books and reading, is that although we aren’t all best friends with each other (although deep friendship does exist between various ones of us), we all share a desire to connect and to think deeply. We run the gambit of political opinions and religious affiliation, but instead of dividing us, it gives way to great conversation and many opportunities to learn and grow. So in addition to reading a ton over the weekend, we had great conversations.
In regards to how the reading retreat went, I loved every minute! We truly spent most of our time reading. Each of us brought a stack of books in all formats: hardbacks, copies from the library, audiobooks, and Kindles. I finished a four-hundred-page book while there which felt supremely satisfying! A couple of us were reading books by Taylor Jenkins Reed or had recently read something by her so we had many great talks centered on her writing. One of the evenings we discussed our book club read for that month: Of Mice and Men. It was so fun to sit around the table after a relaxing day, eat pizza, and discuss the ends and outs of John Steinbeck’s writing. Are we a nerdy group? Maybe a bit.
We planned our meals to be as low-key as possible. We definitely didn’t want to spend much time cooking but we also wanted to enjoy good food. One night we ordered pizza and the other we did salsa chicken in the crockpot. We had sandwich supplies for quick lunches and we ate yogurt and granola one morning and went out to breakfast the other. I originally envisioned us watching a movie one evening, but nope! Instead, we piled on the large sectional couch and, you guessed it, read! Of course, we chatted in between reading as well.
Our only complaint was wanting more time! We left early Friday morning and came back late Sunday night. We said next time we’d want to leave Thursday evening in order to have two full days at the beach and one-half day. We picked Floria because my in-law has an amazing condo there where we can stay for free, but of course, we could also go to a closer destination to decrease our drive time. But honestly, our kid-free road trip was a blast! Overall, we had a great time and I can’t wait to do it again!