Take your brain on vacation

  • Sometimes, after so much thinking and worrying, your brain just needs to get away for awhile.

    It’s a good thing brains are so good at dreaming up vacation spots.

  • STEP 1 OF 11

    Gather your supplies:

    For this project you will need your journal, a large piece of paper (at least 8 ½ x 11), a pencil for sketching, and a few colored pencils and pens. 

  • STEP 2 OF 11

    First, you will need to create your own personal island. 

    The best way to dream up an island is to close your eyes, so if you can, find someone who can read this next part to you. If you are doing this project on your own, it’s totally okay to read it to yourself, then afterwards close your eyes and use your imagination to travel to your island and explore all that’s there.


  • STEP 3 OF 11

    Imagine yourself taking off into the sky in your very own airplane. Or, if you prefer, take off into the sky without an airplane!

    Keep flying higher and higher until the houses and cars below are the size of bugs.

    Now fly away until you leave your neighborhood behind. Fly until you come to an ocean.

    Just below you there is an island — not just any island, your island, and it’s the most peaceful place you’ve ever seen.

    Maybe it’s a tropical island, or maybe it’s a snowy island. Maybe your island is on another planet where the sky is green and the sand is blue. Your island is in your mind so it can be anything you imagine.

    Now find a place on your island to land.

    Once you are on the ground, walk around a bit. What do you see around you? What’s under your feet? What’s up above? What kind of weather are you having today?

    Do you hear anything? Waves? Wind? Birds? The sound of a stream?

    What do you smell? Ocean? Flowers? Cookies baking? Anything is possible on your island — even cookie trees.

    Speaking of trees, what else grows on your island? What kind of food do you eat there?

    Are there animals on your island? Birds? Is it an island of cats? Puppies? Super friendly bears?

    What else would make your island feel nice and peaceful? A hammock? A treehouse? A grassy hill with a perfect view of the ocean?

    Stay on your island as long as you want, exploring or just relaxing, and when you are ready, open your eyes.

  • STEP 4 OF 11

    In your journal, write down as many details as you can remember.
    What did you see?
    What did you hear?
    What did you smell?
    What did you feel?


  • STEP 5 OF 11

    After you’ve written down everything that’s on your island, make a list of everything you do not want on your island. Here are a few examples.

    Not allowed:

  • STEP 6 OF 11

    Your island will need a name, of course. What do you want to call it? Write down a few ideas until you come to the name that feels just right.


  • STEP 7 OF 11

    Now you’re ready to design a map of your island.

    You can use symbols to represent all the special features of your island, or fill your island with words, or use a combination of art and words — it’s up to you. For inspiration, here are a few examples from our gallery.

  • STEP 8 OF 11

    If you want to look at more maps before you begin, you’ll find a lot of good inspiration on Pinterest.

    While you’re working, you might want to play some nature sounds or island music. For nature sounds, we use a free app called Relax Sounds. For music, you should have no trouble finding an island music channel on your app of choice.


  • STEP 9 OF 11

    When you’re finished with your map, try one (or all!) of these writing exercises:

    1. In your journal, write a guided tour of your island.
    “On your right, you’ll notice a maple syrup waterfall…”

    2. Write a description of your island for a travel guide or magazine.

    3. Design a postcard. On the front, draw a scene of your island. If you want, include a message. For example: “Greetings from Paradise Island!” On the back, write a note to a friend, telling them about your time there.


  • STEP 10 OF 11

    Now that you have your own island, you can go there any time. Next time you’re feeling stressed or worried, just close your eyes and fly away.

    Want to give it a try now?

    Start by getting into a comfortable position. With your eyes closed, and taking very slow deep breaths, imagine yourself flying away to your island — or you can imagine yourself already there, relaxing in your favorite spot. See if you can really feel yourself there, taking in all the beautiful sites and sounds of your island.

    Keep relaxing on your island for as long as you want, and when you are ready, open your eyes.


  • STEP 11 OF 11

    Want to add your island our gallery? Great!