7 Essential Items Every Writer Should Bring on Vacation (P.S. your laptop isn't one of them!)

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Every summer, my hubby and I are fortunate to vacation in Hilton Head for a few days. It’s a work trip, but hey, a trip is a trip! Am I right? Usually, I’m pretty stressed because I always have a grad paper due around the same time. This year, however, I pushed myself to the limit and worked ahead to complete my grad assignments. That was the BEST decision ever!
What was even better is that I left my laptop home. Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. I thought I was going to hyperventilate, but after the initial shock wore off, I was okay. 
This trip had me thinking about what items I was most grateful to have with me, and I wanted to share them with you. 
Everyone knows good writers read. I have a handful of unread magazines, e-books on my Kindle, and I even bought a copy of Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give (which is really good so far!). This trip was the perfect opportunity for me to finally pull out all the awesome reading material I had been meaning to get around to. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a good blog post, but there’s something special about getting lost in a good book. 
Of course, I didn’t want to spend my entire vacation reading. Like Moana, the water was beckoning me. Unfortunately, I don’t swim (long story). However, that didn’t stop me from getting in a good hour worth of power walking on the beach. I also managed to be brave enough to walk calf-deep in the ocean water. (Yay!) I even saw two dolphins! I encourage all writers to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Taking care of your health is essential, and exercise can also give you more energy, making you more productive during your writing sessions
Although I suggest taking in as much of the calming ocean noises as you can, I know how exciting it is to listen to good music. Maybe you’ve been wanting to check out the new Mali Music release. Or maybe you’re playing catch up (so you can finally say you’ve listened to Chance the Rapper’s album in its entirety). At any rate, all writers should listen to music. Research shows listening to music has several benefits to your physical and mental health, including being able to increase your verbal communication skills. 
You’re going to need those verbal skills as you try your hand at filling out handwritten thank you cards. Let’s be honest, friend. Life gets busy. If you’re anything like me, you don’t always remember to write (and mail) that really cute stack of thank you cards you bought on sale. If you’re riding shotgun or you’re stuck at the airport, why not use that time to show some appreciation to some special people in your life?
You’ll feel so much better after showing some gratitude that you’ll be ready to try that new thing you’ve been wanting to try. Maybe you’ve been wanting to experiment with some hairstyles on YouTube. Or maybe you’re like me and want to practice your photography skills. Just do it, friend. Writers can produce content more easily if they are living life fully. Don’t be sucked into the stereotypes. Writers do not have to sit behind a desk all day and night. Get up. Get out. Live. You need to so you can learn and have more material to share in your future writing pieces.
Although I did not bring my laptop on my vacation, I had to bring my journal, notebook, and colorful pens. (Can’t risk forgetting a good idea!) I know some writers prefer electronic writing platforms like Evernote, but I’m old school. I love the feel of a good pen in hand as my pinky rubs ever so gently against fresh sheets of lined paper. If you’re going on vacation and decide to leave your laptop behind, don’t forget to at least tuck your notebook and pen away in your travel bag. 
There’s something else every writer should tuck away on vacation: a guilt-free conscious. A writer’s job is never done. There are book outlines, social media content, blog posts drafts, revisions, formatting, newsletter campaigns, and on and on. I mean, writing is serious business. However, on vacation, you shouldn’t be worried about meeting deadlines. Give yourself a real break and forget all that needs to be done. If you can, work ahead. If not, just explain to your loyal fans that you needed some time to check out for a bit. They will understand. 

What about you, friend? What essentials did I miss that every writer should bring along? Share in the comments below!