I’ve Been on Two Pink Pangea Writer’s Retreats, Here’s What I Learned

July 10, 2023
Here's what I learned on a Pink Pangea retreat in Greece.

I’m flipping through my notebook, a blue and white pen with GREECE printed on it firmly attached to the cover. “We wrote a lot in those five days.” 

It’s a sunny and unusually humid day in Paris. I’m hiding from city heat under linden trees in the Palais-Royal Garden, having settled into the last available green metal chair – a hot commodity in Paris whenever the sun is out – and sipping iced coffee. 

It’s not freddo cappuccino, my espresso drink of choice in Greece, but close enough to make the mind wander back to Rhodes. And if I close my eyes, the water splashing in the fountain behind me could be the sound of our swimming pool, a turquoise-blue focal point of the hotel.

3,500 km away, I’m trying to hold on to the blissful retreat feeling. 

Some women from our writer’s group are still in Greece, others have returned home to the United States, Canada, and Israel. I wonder if they too have the post-trip blues. Are they re-reading the stories they wrote on the hotel terrace? Are they writing more? 

I’ll email them when I get home. 


Spending a few days with other creatives, travelers, and expatriates – women that “get” my way of life – was a big draw. “Where are you from?” is a hard question to answer, we agreed during a conversation early on, and I knew I had come to the right place. Nobody was bewildered by my dual nationality, nobody called my freelance business a “fake job.” 

However, the main reason to attend the retreat was the prospect of writing without interruptions. My only job was to follow prompts and put pen to paper. 

I knew what to expect because eight years earlier, I had attended a Pink Pangea travel writing retreat in the Connecticut River Valley, USA. There, in the attic of a guest house surrounded by 12 acres of woods, I got over my writer’s block. It has not returned since. 

This time, I wanted a break from covering business topics and to jump start my return to travel writing. With tourism recovering from the pandemic, I have new projects in the works and more travel stories to tell. The retreat would help me tap into creativity. 


The schedule had the right mix of group writing sessions, tours of historic sites, and free time. Single rooms gave us privacy and a space to work on homework assignments. Each evening, we met for dinner in the hotel restaurant, where we became known to the staff as the “seven ladies.” They made sure we had a table on the terrace with sea views.

The retreat was led by Pink Pangea co-founder and writing coach Jackie. We would meet in the morning and again in the late afternoon to write for a few hours and share our stories with the group. Each session included guided exercises and interactive activities – after Jackie gave us a prompt, we would have 1-10 minutes to write. 

I’ve Been on Two Pink Pangea Writer's Retreats, Here’s What I Learned

Quite a challenge, but I found it easier than on my first retreat. I felt a sense of accomplishment whenever I managed to tell an entire story within the time frame. 

On a few occasions, I surprised myself: I played with the format and let my mind wander without self-editing. I was often in awe of the others: how vivid and emotive their writing was. And when my words resonated with them, it gave me energy to keep going. 

In the supportive environment, barriers quickly came down and even the most reserved among us started to open up. Sometimes our stories led to longer discussions and it felt like we were on a trip with girlfriends. We laughed, shed a few tears behind sunglasses, and offered words of support – for our writing goals and dealing with life’s challenges. 

During our downtime, we had the option to use the pool or private beach, go on a hike, and sign up for free pilates or yoga classes. I did all that, having learned on the first retreat that movement helps the writing process – it gives the body a break from sitting and allows ideas to flow freely. A writer’s best friend. 

I’ve Been on Two Pink Pangea Writer's Retreats, Here’s What I Learned


I was first published at the age of 12, but it takes a lifetime to sharpen writing skills. The two retreats with Pink Pangea have helped me grow as a writer, providing the tools to develop a healthy writing routine. My three main takeaways are:

  • Writing prompts are a simple way to expand the mind, boost creativity, and bring our emotions to the surface, resulting in more memorable stories.I signed up for weekly writing prompts from Pink Pangea and I always carry a notebook, in case inspiration strikes when I’m on the go. A phrase jotted down in a hurry can become an article or even lead to a book project. 
  • The importance of a supportive community and a skilled writing coach – people who can be our sounding board and provide honest, yet constructive feedback.
  • Taking active breaks helps stay in shape and write more efficiently. I have a yoga mat at home and when I need a break from the screen, I walk to the nearest park.

Thanks to the time in Greece, I gained confidence to tackle upcoming projects, even the most daring ones. I won’t let another eight years go by before I join another retreat – they keep my skills fresh, help me define writing goals, and are SO MUCH FUN.


I opened my inbox to find two unread messages in our group email. 

One person shared her recently published article, the other a finished story she had started on the retreat. Written on different continents and on subjects unrelated to each other, they’re linked by the brief, powerful experience we shared in the Mediterranean.

I’m rooting for our group of writers – may all the stories we carry within see the light of day. We’ve got this, ladies! 

About Pola Henderson

Pola Henderson is a writer, speaker, and communication consultant based in Paris. She runs Jetting Around Media.

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