Hi, I'm Julie, and I'll be your cruise director.

Could it really be a coincidence that I share my name with the character Julie McCoy of Love Boat fame? When I was a girl, I watched that show religiously with my family every weekend and dreamed that one day, I too would be a cruise director. I mean, how cool of a job was that? All Julie had to do was greet people with a wide smile, schedule fun festivities for cruisers (most of them on the Lido Deck) and to ensure they had a fantastic and yes, transformative, experience. This was The Love Boat after all.

Well, now that dream has become reality. I get to take you on your transformative cruise – only it’s in the form of a writing retreat to Florence. If you ask me, that’s even better!

In seriousness, the reason I’ve wanted to lead a trip like Writer’s Renaissance for so long is because, over the years, taking retreats has changed, and possibly even saved, my life.

On my About page, you can read all about how I left a high-paying, high-stress corporate job to take a chance on this career called writing – my true dream.

It took me years of taking retreats like Writer’s Renaissance to finally build up the courage to pursue my dream, find my voice, and turn my passion into purpose. On retreats, I could find the quiet, away from work and family, to hear my inner voice. I was able to connect with like-minded people who had already taken this leap and who assured me I could too.

Eventually, I began to believe them. Eventually, I began to believe in myself. Now I want to say – I believe in you. Whatever stage you are in with your writing, the fact that you have read this far assures me that you have a calling to write. You have the need to honor that calling, and I am here to answer that need. So register today and take that next step in your journey. From wherever you are, when you return, you will be one giant step forward.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

Hi, I’m Julie Hedlund, and I’ll be your cruise director!


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