A Season of Taking Leaps: A Bookish Solo Adventure

Published by The Connected Reader on

I’m in a season of taking leaps.

At least for me, they are leaps. 

  • I spent money on a blogging bootcamp course this past summer. I felt guilty about it, but I did it. It was so informative, real, and the coaching sessions were like group therapy. Jannese Torres, her podcast, and her business, in general, are amazing to me.
  • I started to put my writing out there on the blog this past fall. Even when the writing and blog format are imperfect. 
  • I left full-time work in education after 16 years. Still grieving this, but it was – is – the right choice for me.
  • I was a guest on a book podcast. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when the episode comes out. You can hear my dog barking in the background because I am such a professional. It’s fine.
  • I committed to writing a chapter in a parenting book through a non-traditional publisher. I’m not a bit anxious about this.

All of this is sometimes painfully uncomfortable for me. 

It is also wildly energizing and validating. I feel more like me than I’ve felt since before becoming a parent.

There’s a safety net, so I am not completely reckless. There is also a ton of privilege. I know these leaps are not possible for most people.

A Bookish Solo Adventure

I felt moved to take another leap a few weeks ago. I was scrolling Instagram when I saw an independent bookstore that I follow and love post about a ticket that came available for their upcoming Reader Retreat.

A few things:

  • This bookstore is in Thomasville, GA, a small town 45 min north of Tallahassee Florida and 3.5 hours south of Atlanta.
  • It is difficult to get to from where I live in Houston.
  • I have been wanting to go to this Reader Retreat since they started doing them in 2018 or 2019, but the expense and travel logistics never seemed doable. There was also a pause during the height of the pandemic.

Anyway, I responded to the store’s Instagram post and they provided me with the contact info for the person who was selling their ticket because they could no longer attend. I didn’t reach out. The leap seemed a bit too much.

A week later, the store posted again. The person was still trying to sell the ticket. I Googled flights to Tallahassee. $1000. Nope. I Googled flights to Jacksonville. $300-ish. 

I called my husband. He was in.

I DM-ed the person selling the ticket. I gave myself permission. And by that evening, I was in possession of a ticket to The Bookshelf’s Reader Retreat.

I don’t do things like this. I don’t spend a lot of money on myself. I don’t book solo trips that require flights and then a 2.5 hour drive to a place that I’ve never been and where I don’t know anyone.

But I did it. 

And it was delightful. The quiet, solo travel time. The connecting, in real life, with other readers who follow all the same bookish people on social media. The supporting a vibrant small business in a small town. The being inspired by the leadership of Annie Jones, the owner of The Bookshelf, and the amazing all-women staff of The Bookshelf. The chat with staffer Felicia Dilbert about life and the journey it takes us on.

I left feeling validated that my writing about books and connecting with other women who see reading as self care matters. I left feeling in awe of the older women at the retreat who prioritize this self care, participating in so many book communities, and building friendships across ages in the process. I left with a bag full of books, of course.

I can see the bigger story a bit better now, too. I was in a season of staying grounded – building a career, a family, a safety net. That needed to happen.

And then I outgrew that season. I’m finding now, the more leaps I take, the more that seem to pop up. I’m excited, and anxious, to see where they take me.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.


3 Comments

Trisha · February 21, 2023 at 8:06 pm

This. Is. AMAZING! Sometimes those leaps are just what we need! I’m so happy for you to take this leap! And so glad you enjoyed it! Stepping out of our comfort zones can be scary but that’s where we grow!

Jen · February 22, 2023 at 3:48 am

This is inspiring! Leaping is hard enough, but doing it in such a grounded and thoughtful way makes it seem achievable. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Kasia · March 7, 2023 at 1:24 am

I love that you did this retreat! All from an Instagram post … amazing that it all worked out.

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