I’ve Got A New Attitude

by Molly Greene, @mollygreene


A stretch of beach in El Sarjento, BCS

I’ve worked my rear off for years writing novels, blogging, and learning everything  possible about self-publishing. And as I noted in a recent post, the all-work-no-play finally brought on burnout. Big time.

I needed to go walk on a deserted beach somewhere.

Sadly, I haven’t taken a “real” vacation since 2011, but late last fall I decided it was time to get away, and by mid-February I finally made it happen. And it took a lot of effort, starting back in November when I submitted documentation to renew my passport. Then in December I chose travel dates. I bought my ticket Christmas Day. Then came the really hard part – vetting a person or place to care for my dog while I was away.

Yikes! I almost gave up over that task.

My planning was impeded by a very small budget and a lot of mental baggage, and both those issues were disheartening. But like most processes, when you make a decision and commit to it, then put one foot in front of the other and persevere despite setbacks and disappointment, it often comes together.

And it was perfect.

The Main House Palapa

Main house palapa

My sister-in-law’s sister has lived in a little village in Baja California for twenty years. El Sarjento wasn’t on the map when she arrived, but has since become a mecca for kite boarders, who flock there for the winds and the sun and the beautiful bay in “the season,” roughly November through April. During that time, over half the population speaks English.

I’d heard about the place, knew my sister-in-law would be there for a few months, and invited myself for a visit. Gratefully, they said yes. They also asked what I wanted to do while I was there, which, I replied, was “walk on the beach, eat a lot of fresh fish, talk, and drink beer.”

Mission accomplished.

A new friend in las montanas

I flew into La Paz – a pretty little town, the capital of Baja, and a place I’d like to return to and explore – and was picked up and whisked off to a compound an hour south and a hundred feet from the beach.

I walked on that beach every day but one, ate a lot of fresh-caught cabrilla and jurel, checked out a few local sights and one town, Todos Santos, an artsy little community over the mountains on the Pacific side where gringos are rocking organic farms and building second homes along the cliffs above the sea.

I practiced my abysmal Spanish and emptied my mind of thoughts of work, and to some extent, everything that had happened – or was happening – back at home. And I returned with a new attitude.

Is it time for you to do the same?


A new place, a new perspective

Have you been dragging your feet about taking a break, thinking “I can’t lose the writing time,” or “I can’t afford it,” or “who the heck is going to feed the dog,” or any of ten dozen other excuses?

If so, here’s my unsolicited advice: The attitude adjustment will be worth the cost, and you’ll return refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list.

Hot springs_Mexico

Sister-in-law Jean Greene!

Here’s what I spent:

  • Passport renewal: $110
  • Plane ticket: $145
  • Dog sitter: $180
  • Frugal food, gas, and misc expenses over seven days: $100

…And I’ll find a way to weave this experience into a future novel. Okay, people, that’s my two cents. Let’s go sell some books.


When and where was your last vacation? What did you discover about your mindset when you returned? Leave a comment and share!

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43 Responses to I’ve Got A New Attitude

  1. Ben Wallace February 29, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

    I’m heading to a cabin in the mountains fairly soon.
    Sadly looking forward to all the writing I’ll get done there.
    May use the setting to make some more author videos, too.
    I can’t turn it off.

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

      Such a good idea, Ben! I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I didn’t write a word, think about a plot or editing, or miss a single one of my characters. Must have been the beer. 🙂 GOOD LUCK!!

  2. Debbie Young February 29, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    Like you, I’m reluctant to switch off and find it hard to walk away – until the minute I’m on my way! Sometimes I fill notebooks while I’m away (writing longhand, so I remain offline and it feels more like a holiday); sometimes I read vast amounts rather than write. But whichever I do, I always return with my creative energies restored, new story ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

    I always liken time away from writing as lying fallow, i.e. a positive way of resting that makes you return stronger. That even seems to work when its illness that forces me to take a break, rather than a vacation.

    Glad you took time out, Molly. Now schedule another one in your diary so you don’t leave it so long till the next one!

    Best wishes, Debbie

    PS I’ve made it sound as if I’m always dashing off on exotic holidays – I’m not, we just go away a lot for very short breaks in our ancient camper van!

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

      Thanks so much for your support and the lovely comment, Debbie. Like you, I got what I needed from this time away and now that I have someone I trust to take care of the dog – AND I have my passport – it’ll be easier to go the next time. Mwah! Hugs to you.

  3. Anne Hagan February 29, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    Looking forward to a getaway and recharge in two more weeks myself. The wife is telling me no iPad on the trip but one of the things that helps me recharge is reading and I have about 900 unread books on there. I was looking forward to finally getting to a few of them…what to do?

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

      Ha! Negotiate. I took my tablet, too, and re-read two of my favorite authors’ books. Just make sure you don’t search for WiFi 🙂

  4. Pamela Beason February 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    I have to unplug from all things electronic on a regular basis (usually, at least one weekend day) to get out into Nature, and I also take longer kayak camping and scuba vacations. I can’t write about adventures in the wild unless I’m actually experiencing some!

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

      I know, Pam, you’re really good about getting away from the house. I wanted to get out of the state, lol …although there’s so much to do in San Diego, it would behoove me to get out and do it. Soon!

  5. Joe Campolo Jr. February 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    Excellent post; really has me thinking. But…my first thought was, where do you find a dog sitter for one hundred and eighty bucks a week!

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

      A local lady, rec’d by a friend. She charged $30 a night, spent more time with him than I asked, and left the house cleaner than I did! It was hard to leave him – first time since he was young – but he didn’t seem to pine for me much … next time it’ll be easier to go. Try Rover.com!

  6. Zelda February 29, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    had two holidays to the Baja quite a few years ago (18 in fact) and just loved the place! would go back in a heartbeat – glad you were able to enjoy it (one of the highlights of our holiday was when we were tenting on the beach, cooking over a campfire and a herd of cows and calves came to investigate – loved it)

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

      Hi Zelda, I was last in Baja decades ago, but didn’t spend time in La Paz, went to Cabo instead. At that time there was only one major hotel on the beach. I’ve no interest in going back to see what it looks like now!

  7. Jeri February 29, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    Good for you Molly for taking a vacation. Going places truly works wonders and gets us out of our daily routines. My last vacation was Germany and surrounding countries during Oktoberfest in 2014. It was grand and boy did I love traveling like that while I could. Since the divorce apocalypse I’m back to doing more camping and hiking, but there’s truth in even going on the shortest trips can work wonders. It’s all about the frame of mind that takes us to those places near and far.

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Thanks, Jeri! I don’t seem to want to travel the world, but getting away from home for a while is a must. It’s the only way to keep my brain from grinding through all the stuff I need to do … and all the stuff I haven’t done! Like Debbie said, I won’t wait so long next time.

  8. Kim Wenzler February 29, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    Hi Molly, so happy to hear you took some time off and relaxed. It’s so important to do that. We only get one shot and you have to enjoy yourself.
    Welcome back!

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

      Thanks, Kim! How’s your Book #2 coming along?

  9. Rob February 29, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    Hi Molly

    Nice article! When we get tired of writing how about we start a travel business together? Haha. I’d like to take one of those Viking Cruises in Europe. That would be pure bliss.

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

      I’ll pass on the travel business, but the cruise is a go. 🙂

  10. Sue Coletta February 29, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    I bought my ticket to Writers Police Academy in August, and booked a nice hotel room at the Radisson with 2 indoor pools and a casino. Though it’s not technically a vacation away from writing, I’m still really looking forward to it. I haven’t had a vacation since 2001. Too many dogs and a bad experience with a puppy sitter kept us housebound for over a decade. But with my husband home to take care of our dog, I don’t need to worry about him while I’m gone. It should be a blast. Can’t wait!!!

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

      Argggh, I AM JEALOUS! Another friend posted about it on Facebook and I followed the link and checked it out. I would sooooo like to go. Good for you! Expecting you to share your notes, BTW.

  11. Robert L. Slater (@RobertLSlater) February 29, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    I’m beginning to think that balance is the hardest lesson as a writer, especially one with a day job! Sounds lovely. Though I speak and teach Spanish, I have never gone to a Spanish speaking country! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Molly Greene February 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

      Robert, you’re right, balance is the biggest challenge. I had a full-time job while I wrote my first book, and the writing of it alone took me a year. But I’m here to tell you it can be done! On another note, one of the signs up in the little town I visited in Baja read, “Spanish lessons.” It was written on a surfboard. Food for thought 🙂

  12. Andrè M. Pietroschek February 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    Congratulations! You broke with a routine which burdened you. Many would just notice how many unresolved fears hold them back. And watching out for cost-efficiency is a wise reminder, too.

  13. Belinda Pollard February 29, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    Counting down to my writing retreat up near the Great Barrier Reef next month. Two whole weeks of writing and research and my goal is to write 50,000 words. Haha, let’s see if I make the target, shall we?? That might not sound like a holiday/vacation to some, but to me it sounds like heaven. My writing gets squeezed into the tiniest corners of my life lately, so to be able to do it all day is pure luxury. 🙂

    • Belinda Pollard February 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      Oh, and I get to take my dog with me, which removes that worry. (I know how hard it can be to find the right care for a pet, especially a “special needs” pet like my boy.)
      And I’m thrilled that you finally took a break, Molly. 🙂 🙂

      • Molly Greene March 1, 2016 at 7:22 am #

        Belinda. your trip sounds great! All writers understand the excitement of a writing-focused retreat. It’s just the getting away from the normal routine that’s important. And I think someday I’ll move into a “caravan” and travel with the dog and write and see the U.S. We can dream 🙂

  14. Jet February 29, 2016 at 11:14 pm #

    Good for you on taking a much needed break. It’s always nice to get away from it all. My last lengthy trip was a Caribbean cruise last year and it was wonderful. After I returned, I felt renewed. When I planned a recent short trips, I was torn as to whether or not I should take my computer to do some writing. But I managed to talk myself out of it with no regrets.

    • Molly Greene March 1, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      The Caribbean! *Swoon* That’s on my short list. And I’m pretty amazed at how regenerated I’ve felt since I got home, especially considering how exhausted I was just before I left!

  15. Jodi Aman March 1, 2016 at 4:07 am #

    Good for you!

  16. Lisa Maggiore March 1, 2016 at 4:29 am #

    Good for you Molly! Making yourself important is hard to do, but you took action…awesome! Last vacation was to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a family vacation. Hiking, fishing, just sitting and looking at the glitter of Lake Michigan relaxes my mind and soul. That vacation (which we do yearly) connects me back to nature and to listening to myself in a clear way. I hope that makes sense but living in a large urban area (Chicago) and with so many social media distractions, it almost feels like a lost art, reconnecting with nature and myself!

    • Molly Greene March 1, 2016 at 7:30 am #

      Thanks Lisa, and I know what you mean about connecting with nature. I live in the mountains surrounded by trees, and I still feel the need to take some time to really focus on what’s around me.I think that’s why I’m drawn to the ocean and the beaches and water for a getaway, it’s so different from what I typically see. Your annual trip sounds like a blast, can we all come with you this year?

  17. Linda Carpenter March 1, 2016 at 5:25 am #

    Yes, the heart and soul needs some time every now and then. I drive across country to Idaho a couple times a year and it does amazing things to rekindling!
    Many thanks for your post – looking forward to the follow-up book!

    • Molly Greene March 1, 2016 at 7:31 am #

      Well put, Linda … getaways are about feeding the heart and soul, thank you so much!

  18. Judy Nickles March 1, 2016 at 9:34 am #

    Wow, Molly, I can so identify! Good for you! I’m cutting way back on a lot of writing-related things for a while and taking day trips and some overnights to see the sights around my state. Each time I get away, a fresh wind blows through my soul!

    Welcome back!

    • Molly Greene March 1, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      Thanks Judy, and good for you, too. Day trips in and around San Diego are next for me, then we’ll see what I can come up with. Have fun!!

  19. Amina Ibrahim Didi (Amyna) March 1, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    I take several trips a year but unfortunately do not get much time for either relaxing or writing.

    Enjoyed reading this and all the comments. Thanks so much.

  20. Patricia Sands March 1, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    Yay, Molly! I’m so glad your vacation worked its magic! Travel can be such a panacea. I highly recommend it, as do you! Rock that new attitude, Ms. Greene!

    • Molly Greene March 2, 2016 at 7:37 am #

      Thanks Patricia, but it’s also exhausting. I was so tired the day I left for Baja I could barely keep my eyes open – don’t see how you do it so much!

  21. Laura Zera March 1, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    *So* glad to hear that you got away for a while! You seriously deserved it, and I hope it sets off all kinds of new creativity into motion. I just got back from my latest trip yesterday, but I was gone for so long that I feel both refreshed and panicked! 😀

    • Molly Greene March 2, 2016 at 7:38 am #

      I know, 33 days! But you have definitely mastered traveling, Laura, you should give classes. Welcome back!