Packing your bags for a transformative retreat is an important first step toward a seriously life-changing experience.
So, how do you make the most out of the square footage your suitcase affords? According to Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz—frequent retreaters, sisters-in-law, and co-authors of Just Sit: A Meditation Guidebook for People Who Know They Should But Don’t, preparation (both mentally and physically) is key.
Below, they share the essentials you don’t want to forget—plus, answers to 5 frequently asked questions about how to maximize the good vibes on your wellness getaway.
I love the idea of a retreat uniform. Why is that important?
Elizabeth: You wake up in the morning, and it’s just one more thing not to think about. You don’t have your phone; you don’t have this. It’s not about your clothes, it’s just about showing up.
Why do I need sneakers? Won’t I be sitting the whole time?
Elizabeth: Most retreats you’ll have time for yourself and most are held in beautiful, natural places. So you’ll want to be able to go out exploring, or go for a walk or go for a run. Usually, you’ll know in advance because of where you’re going.
You both highly encourage bringing your own snacks. Any favorites?
So, comfy clothes and snacks definitely make it into the carry-on. But what about entertainment, like books?
Sukey: It depends on what your intention is. If your intention is, “Okay, on this retreat I’m just going to get all down on Pema [Chodron]. I’m just going to spend the whole time getting this sh*t down.” That’s fabulous. Make it a whole, full-on party. But if the intention is like, “Okay, I’m going to work on this, but I’m going to give myself 30 minutes every night to just read my favorite author.” That’s okay, too.
There’s one thing missing from your list that you clearly always pack: each other. What’s it like to have a travel bestie?
Elizabeth: We sleep on beds like one inch apart from each other. We are together literally from the moment we wake up until we pack up. We have done so every couple years. We also really know how to quiet down when the other one gets agitated, but we don’t really seem that agitated when we travel.
Sukey: If you go by yourself, you make friends. You have this intimacy, right? But when you’re taking someone who you already have an intimacy with, they can remind you of those moments. It’s a reminder of your growth, where you’ve been.