I’m on a return flight to Austin right now after wrapping up a 5-day trip to Sedona with my EO forum.
Each year we go on two trips together: a mini-retreat lasting 2-3 days and a full retreat like this one.
One person is responsible for choosing the destination & planning the trip and this one was mine.
This is the type of group that’s going to show up and have a good time regardless of the itinerary, but I still felt the self-imposed pressure of wanting to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone.
The ideal group trip needs to balance planned activities with downtime to allow for conversations and serendipity.
On this retreat, I took the guys on three morning hikes to some of my favorite spots in Sedona. We also blocked out time for our monthly updates and a presentation.
Figuring out meals for a group of seven can be stressful, so we went to the grocery store the day we arrived to get food for breakfast and some snacks. I also created a list of restaurant options in advance based on my own experiences and online reviews.
I chose the house we stayed in because it had scenic views of the red rocks from the heated pool and hot tub, making it more than just a place to sleep, but an appealing venue to hang out.
The problem with organizing a trip like this is decision-fatigue, so it was a relief when others took the initiative to start a food delivery order or suggest an activity during unscheduled times.
I made a mental note of how great it felt for me so I can provide that type of relief for the person who’s planning our next trip.
As I reflect on this retreat, one of my favorite memories was the conversation at dinner on our final night together.
The topic was what we could do to strengthen this group. As strong as our bonds are and as valuable as our experiences are together, a shared core value among us is growth.
Personal growth, professional growth, and continued growth in our friendship – this is why these guys are my friends.
PS. Photo from Chimney Rock in Sedona, AZ