ABOUT THIS RETREAT
iF you're like most writers, you've never got enough time, space, or support to devote to your writing projects. The solution, obviously, is a writing retreat!
Come join me for this women's writing retreat in Mérida! Far from the glitz and partying of Cancún, you'll spend a week in a safe, historic, colonial city with a cool creative vibe. This is a small retreat, meant to facilitate empathy, connection, and give you plenty of space and time to work on your own writing. (Lamentably, I can't accommodate children on this retreat.)
Why retreat with me? Two big reasons. You get:
All the time and space you need to write at your own pace to reconnect to your writing again.
A built-in community of academic women writers to help you feel connected and supported in your writing.
Plus, as an added bonus, you get a lot of unstructured time so that you can get out and get to know Mérida! Browse markets, (and eat the amazing food!), soak up some history, and practice your Spanish.
This retreat is open to academic women writers of any rank or institution (or of no rank or institution!): graduate students, adjuncts, alt-ac people, or tenure-track and tenured faculty.
Mérida was once a major hennequen producer and boomed in the early twentieth century. Hennequen is a native fibrous plant used to make ropes, nets, and other things. When the price boomed, local families struck it rich and built some truly spectacular and ostentatious homes. Many of these can still be seen lining the historic Paseo Montejo. When the market collapsed, those same families decamped for Mexico City, leaving their homes vacant for many years. Fortunately, a lot of these homes have been restored to their former glory and are available for rent.
I've rented a really lovely house in Mérida's centro, in the Santiago neighborhood. It's pretty central to everything, though if you aren't used to walking, you might want to think about taking a cab or Uber if you want to see something that isn't right downtown. Don't miss the plaza or the historic cathedral! :)
Some rooms have double beds and one has a triple. I'll be putting people in touch through a secret Facebook group before you arrive so you'll have some idea about who you might be rooming with. I'll try to honor roommate suggestions. The house has five bathrooms, which should be enough. There's a pool, so bring your suit!
We've got a kitchen and internet!
Check in is at 3pm on the 22nd, check out at 11am on the 28th. If you arrive early or need to leave later, let me know and i can help you figure out what to do with your stuff so you don't have to haul it around everywhere until we check in or depart.
I'm planning to offer a continental breakfast (and the fixings for a protein breakfast if you need that) and a lot of coffee.
Thanks to local family members, we'll be eating traditional Yucatec food. Mexican cooking is very regional and Yucatec food has lots of Maya influences. You can expect local delicacies like queso relleno, frijol con puerco, and even the famous pib. :) If you're a vegetarian or have food allergies or intolerances, let me know and I'm happy to accommodate you!
Lunch is the main meal in Mexico and usually happens between 2pm and 4pm. Here's my tentative daily lunch plan so you get to try a bunch of local food:
For Sunday arrival, I'll have food of various sorts and snacks and wine and beer (and non-alcoholic beverages) for when you get here. I'll also have a list for you of great local places to eat out if you prefer.
Monday: frijol con puerco (black beans with pork. Everyone eats this for lunch on Monday.)
Tuesday: puchero con tres carnes (has a lot of meats, veggies, noodles)
Wednesday: queso relleno (my personal favorite--Gouda cheese filled with ground pork)
Thursday: pib! (This is super special--it's traditional food of day of the dead and is amazing!)
Friday: salbutes and panuchos (traditional on Fridays--like tostadas)
Saturday you'll depart and I'll have stuff on hand that you can eat before you leave and take with you to your destination so you don't starve on the way home. :)
Dinners will be on your own and I'll have a list of places that you can find amazing food nearby. You're also welcome to get food and cook it at the casa!
What We'll Do
Write a lot. Make some new friends. Devote time to our own creative ventures. Support each other. Explore the city. Soak up some sun. Jump in the pool. :)
Early arrivals or Late Departures
You may want to arrive early or leave later than the retreat dates. (And really, who could blame you?) The retreat officially starts on July 22nd and ends the 28th, but if you've got some more time to spend here I'm happy to help you figure out your travel details and logistics and make suggestions for some stuff that you shouldn't miss!
Getting Here and Away
You'll want to arrive on the 22nd of July and plan to depart July 28.
There's few direct flights to Merida, although I believe Delta now runs one from Atlanta. You have a few options for arriving here:
1. Arrive directly to Merida from Mexico City, Its very easy to get flights to Mexico City and then a connecting regional flight direct to Merida. I can come meet you at the Merida airport!
2. Arrive to Cancun from any major city. Cancun is Mexico's second major international airport. Flights to Cancun are often significantly cheaper than the Mexico City option. After arriving in Cancun, you can either take a bus direct to Merida or I can send a driver to pick you up. Cancun is about four hours from Merida. The bus line is ADO and will cost around $35. The fancy "Platino" line has wi-fi, electrical outlets, and bad movies. If you'd like to skip the bus and get a ride in a private car with a driver, be sure to select that add on ($150/one way).. If Cancun is your route, it's probably best to get to Cancun by early afternoon so you can catch the bus or meet the driver and arrive in Merida at a reasonable hour.
All deposits are non-refundable if you cancel. (Deposit is 50% of total trip price.)
Final balance must be paid by 6/1/2018.
If you decide to cancel your trip. I require written notice.
Cancellations 30 days (until 6/22/18) or more prior to the retreat receive a 100% refund (minus the deposit. At this point, for example, you'd receive $900.).
Cancellations 30 to 15 days prior to the retreat (6/22/2018-7/7/2018) receive a refund of 50 % of the full price minus deposit (you'd receive a refund of $450).
If you cancel within 14 days of the retreat start date (7/7/2018-7/22/2018), I regret to say that refunds are unavailable.
If you think your travel plans might change (stuff happens!), consider purchasing travel insurance.
If I have to cancel for any reason, I'll refund you 100%. I need a minimum of five people to make this retreat a go, so maybe invite your friends along too?
I'll email you a packing list!
But keep in mind that Mérida has a pretty tropical (read: hot and humid) climate most of the year, especially in July. (You can think Florida-ish.) We'll have A/C, but you'll probably want to bring clothes that you'll be comfortable in. Nights will be pleasant. This house has a pool, so bring your suit!
Sidewalks anywhere in Latin America are often uneven and full of obstacles so you'll want some sturdy walking shoes (Keens, Chacos, Tevas, etc.). It's possible to walk to the mero Centro (the central plaza at the heart of the city) and the Paseo de Montejo--you can expect a walk of 10-12 blocks.
I'll be in touch soon about more details!
If we've never met (and even if we have!), I'll want to talk with you before you sign up. Retreats work best when the group members can write in harmony. Let's make sure that this is the right retreat for you before you sign up.
You can schedule a time to meet with me via phone or video on my calendar: https://calendly.com/lisa-194
Start by arriving. Put down your backpack or suitcase. Stretch a bit. Let yourself just be here. Walk around. Hang out. Swim. Nap. Sample some local food. Your choice.
You can arrive directly to the Mérida airport if you wish or fly into Cancún. If you arrive directly to the Mérida airport, I can have a driver come and pick you up. If you arrive to Merida on the bus from Cancun (around $35), I can have a driver come and meet you at either the Camé or Fiesta Americana bus terminals and bring you to the retreat site. I'm also happy to arrange for private transportation from Cancún if that's easier for you (probably around $140 USD).
Upon your arrival, we'll likely be hanging out by the pool, having snacks and beverages of your choice, and just enjoying the evening. I'll have a list of nearby things you might need (ATMs, a map of the centro, places to eat, points of interest, etc.). I'm really proud of this place and I'm happy to answer any questions you might have!