I had a quick break last week: a few days in Wales, the Black Mountains. I was camping, alone, and in a very not-glamping style. The purpose was for a recharge before I was pinned back into one place by travel or other commitments.
From a Pain Management perspective, being alone was risky and useful. Useful, as it meant I could take as long as I wanted to get up there; risky, in that pain may overtake the situation. However, on the way up I took frequent breaks, one even being a sight-seeing break and wander around Raglan Castle. Further, since I was alone, I could just crawl into the tent at the end and resst my arm up for a while.
Such a trip, though, was a recharge in several directions: creatively, walking and looking at natural and ancient, man-made sites and allowing the imagination to roam; and physically, going to a place I loved and in which I could have some time for retrospective thinking (meditation, some might call it) and release.
The campsite was fine, though the ground a little damp – at least there were no ducks floating in the puddles. Sure, I had to use groundsheets as walk-mats in front of the tent otherwise too much mud would come in, but I was warm enough and slept well. Though it poured one night and I had to pack most things away muddy and damp, they dried out okay when I returned home and I had the delight of lying in the tent hearing the heavy rain drum and spatter on the flysheet. Not to mention the satisfaction of waking up in the morning and eating breakfast in the snug whilst exposed to some exhilarating, but not freezing, fresh air. A walk in scouring winds and belting rain ended up with me having to shelter under my spare groundsheet, but the sun came out quickly after and in minutes I was feeling positively overdressed
The walking and castle-hunting during the day highlighted a few facts: I was still heavily buried in the previous book, the one I had just finished and which is now doing the rounds. So much so, in fact, that it was interfering with the current book, the one for my MA final. Voice was becoming confused and character directions and plot was crossed. The quick break, the focus on heavy walking and the childlike enjoyment of exploring a number of castles and new places and ruins helped detach my mind from that on which it had become focused. That different focus separated the past book from the present, as well as enabling the battery recharge.
In some ways it was like a walk during the day: as I have mentioned before, such walks help sort out all sorts of things in my head to do with directions, chapters, characters, motivation… except this time it was what was needed to separate one book from another. It also helped break some really bad pain: I was able to pace myself much better without the annoying pressure of bending over a keyboard and forgetting where I was.
I’ll have to remember to do the same next time.