Taking A Big Break (Sydney Salter)

A few months ago, I realized that I'd finally accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to visit these guys!

My sister-in-law with kids in downtown Sapporo.

My brother and sister-in-law teach at Hokkaido International School in Sapporo, Japan. That means my niece and nephew live a whole ocean away, too. 

I'd been muddling through my WIP, futzing with this and that detail as I doubted the whole darn thing. So I took a break. With a trip to Japan only weeks away, I set aside my writing and gave myself a crash course in Japanese history and literature. I wanted to understand what I'd be seeing on our trip. 

Did I feel guilty about not writing? Yes. Did I stop thinking of myself as a writer? Yes. Did I plan to use this as research and write something about Japan? No.

I just took a big long break.

We had a fantastic vacation in Japan. I loved being able to spend three weeks with my niece and nephew while watching my own daughters reconnect with their cousins and joke around with their aunt & uncle. None of us had our electronic devices--all that media that distracts us from each other during our regular lives. We saw amazing sites, made incredible memories, got to know local Japanese people, and bonded as a family.

I wrote in my journal every night, barely keeping my eyes open as I scribbled a hasty account of the day's sights and experiences. Travel doesn't do much to enhance my prose. I suppose I honed my observation skills as I bungled my way through such a foreign culture. Maybe...?

Sometimes it's okay just to have a good time.

Our whole motley group in Tokyo. I'm wearing a hat--just like my brother!
I opened my WIP last week. And it's not nearly as bad as I feared--before I took a nice long break.


  1. I am so bad at taking breaks...but sometimes life forces me to and it almost always ends up being a good thing. Congrats on what looks like a break well-spent! I would love to visit Japan someday.

  2. Japan! What a neat experience, and great that you were able to visit family too!

  3. I'm very envious of your break! Japan sounds amazing! And I think travel does hone the sense of observation, plus it is important just to have fun!

  4. Fabulous! Sometimes, you just need to take a step away. And how cool that you got to take that step in Japan!

  5. I was born in Japan and loved reading your piece and seeing your pix. Travel is the ultimate recharging experience; you are so lucky!

  6. That must have been an amazing trip! Good for you for simply enjoying it!


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