I find myself thinking back on the cruise we went on, and all the special moments that we had. And I realize that my brain being what it is, I will start to misremember things, so now it’s time to write things down for my own future self to look back on.
This was such a momentous journey for Niklas and I, with both of us looking forward to it – Niklas looking forward to being away from home and the kids for a while, and completing his mission of tasting all the desserts on the ship, and I was so filled with emotions about getting to meet my idols – the hosts of the Writing Excuses Podcast. Not only that, we would meet other writers and instructors as well, and people that would become our friends.
I was really nervous when we arrived in Kiel, but there was nothing to be scared about – everything was handled to perfection by the team behind the retreat, and retreat veterans were encouraged to help us newbies, and that they did! We felt so well taken care of, and safe. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event that was this well planned on all fronts, and with the comfort of the participators as the main focus.
Before we boarded we were divided into groups. Hi, group!
It was so nice getting to know people in this way. I had no need to feel anxious after this Quest (we were the only Finns on the cruise, and didn’t know anyone beforehand, so I was a bit nervous!), because it immediately felt as if we knew some people. Which was one of the points of the exercise.
It took a while for us to solve the first riddle, but then we finally found the right bar and the people sitting in it, giving us the next clue: Jasper Fforde (who had the most amazing inspiring talk!), Kathy Chung (who I wish I had had time to talk to, but there wasn’t time to talk to everyone unfortunately…) and Piper J Drake (thanks for the writing sprint and the individual critique! I think about you every time I sit down to write my novel <3 )
Next stop, the Cyber Library where Dan Wells and his daughter Audrey gave us the next clue together with Aliette de Bodard. We had a funny incident at the SciFi bookstore in Stockholm when Dan and his family walked in and the girl at the counter got really starstruck! That was one of the highlights of the cruise – getting to brag to a fellow geek!
Before that we met with John Berlyne (thanks for all the advice!) and Sandra Tayler (thank you too! It was so helpful, I felt so at peace after talking to you, and got great ideas for writing at home.)
Then onto the bar where we spent most our time – listening to instructors or writing, because – geeks! Here we met Wesley Chu (who has awesome taste in movies!) and Kenna. Last, but not least Thomas Olde Heuvelt (nice talking to you about translations and also seeing you at WorldCon!) and K Tempest Bradford, who we had an amazing day with at the museums in Copenhagen.
These were just some of the instructors, and I so wish there were more hours to the day when we were on the cruise because everyone was just so interesting and interested and just awesome! We had so many wonderful conversations and I came back with new confidence and lots of happy memories. And luckily new Facebook friends, so that I can get my cruise-fix afterwards as well!