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Everyone Should Have an Awayday Once in a While

Emma Tekstra > Adventures in Nature  > Everyone Should Have an Awayday Once in a While

Everyone Should Have an Awayday Once in a While

Awayday may be a British expression. Apologies to my American readers if this doesn’t resonate. You might call it a retreat but that sounds extensive, or an escape but that sounds negative. I just needed to get away from all my commitments and re-assess my priorities after leaving my corporate job of 25 years and starting my own gig.

An awayday more typically involves a team of work colleagues getting away from the office to plan and strategize, steering clear of distractions. I have participated in many of these over the years but this time I needed an individual awayday.

I had thought I would take the month of April to rest a bit, plan my next steps, sort out some basics like my own laptop, and ease into my new work life May 1. I must have forgotten who I was dealing with! I am a racehorse. Turns out when I worked for a big corporation there was always a client or a colleague to slow me down. I was constantly waiting for someone to get back to me. Without these limitations I am in grave danger of burning out my brain.


April has flashed by in a whirlwind of experimenting with website technology, entering the mysterious world of book publishing, out of state travel, setting up a blog and web pages, tidying out my home office, addressing various family challenges, writing…a lot… with nothing to slow me down. I told my husband I needed to climb a mountain and clear my head; to get a handle on my new work/life balance. This was my awayday.


For me it needed to involve nature. The more remote the better. I headed to Santiago Oaks Regional Park about a 40min drive from my house. You can read more about my adventure in this hidden gem in north Orange County below and enjoy the photos I took. Here’s some tips for your own awayday.  

Top Tips For Your Own Awayday

Put it on the calendar. Make sure to schedule it ahead of time so you can clear all other commitments. Then stick to it come what may!

Location. I recommend out in nature so you get the additional health benefits of what the Japanese call Forest Bathing. For those of you nature-averse you could find a coffee shop off the beaten path but if it’s just dirt and bugs you’re avoiding I still recommend you have a view of the natural world.

Journal/notebook and a pen. A pad of paper will do. While you will be thinking a lot, the act of writing down your thoughts has added benefits such as clarity and the ability to go back and review later. I also find that writing my thoughts down gets them out of my head so I am not carrying around all that baggage.

Topics. You might pick your topics in the few days leading up to the awayday. This ensures you will not forget any aspects of your life you need to review. A few of mine were work priorities, kids, marriage, spiritual disciplines, personal health.

Think and sit. While it’s always good to incorporate exercise make sure you have time to just sit and write.

Pray. If you are the praying type this is also a useful way to spend the time either between topics or while walking/hiking. If not, you could contemplate the nature/life around you and your place in the world.

Remember some key commitments. As you get back to your life make sure to remember the commitment or two that stuck out to you as being most important. For me it was – do one thing at a time!

Santiago Oak Regional Park in Orange County, California

I am at my most relaxed in nature and given I had less than a day to disappear (I was back home to cook dinner for the family) this wonderful location fit the bill.  It has endless trails with names like Grasshopper, Mountain Goat, Bumble Bee and Cactus Canyon. All of these were on my route. I took water, snacks, a journal and a pen. I also took my small Sony Cyber-Shot camera as I love to take photos even though it wasn’t to be my objective this day. I started out heading for a lookout at the top of a ridge thinking it would be the perfect reflection point but after a steep climb (requiring hands on rocks at one point) there was no bench or well placed rock to sit on so I kept going until I found a bench with a great view. I sat there for over an hour and got my priorities and 5yr plan recorded. I also achieved just the right amount of Zen before I headed back to life.

Emma Tekstra
  • Anamaria Gamboa
    Posted at 4:05 am, May 1, 2023

    Love the idea of an awayday! Love the pictures and the journal too (;

    I’ve got to plan my awayday soon, very soon!

    Thank you!

  • Elaine
    Posted at 11:25 pm, May 1, 2023

    You are amazing!!!!

  • Mike Orszag
    Posted at 12:33 am, May 6, 2023

    It’s great to see the fresh perspectives and the great thinking!!

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