There was an interesting bit on one of the online groups about what do we take to retreats. I start with a couple of lists. One of the stuff I need and one of the other things to take. The lists, the one the retreat sent and also one of what I am taking are so handy when I pack up going and coming home I can check off what I have with me. I include on the list my medications and vitamins so I don't get an hour down the road and have to go back. I also take my prescriptions as I can't go a week with out my pills and if for some reason I need more due to an accident or whatever it can be hard to find a doctor.
My medications are in the kitchen so I can take them with meals and it is so easy to forget them.
Definitely a light I have a daylight book light that takes batteries and clips onto a book or a hoop, also I take a torch - Just a little one that will fit in my toiletry bag and help me get to the loo in the night. Depending on room when travelling I might also take an electric kettle, my coffee plunger and coffee. I like my coffee in the mornings and don't drink instant.
If I am driving I take my pillow and a quilt. If driving alone it is handy for a nap on a long trip or at the retreat you will usually get one pillow so if you like two you are stuck. An extra quilt or blanket is always handy. I take a coat too in Australia you get big weather extremes even in Summer and a coat is handy. I fill up the car believe me. The last retreat I went to was Fibre Forum at Ballarat and as there were three of us in the car I only took exactly what I needed and bought stuff there. I will do that again this year it is a lovely excuse to buy more stuff.
The first retreat I ever went on was a Women's silent retreat. Yes that's right you took whatever you were working on and didn't speak to anyone for two days. After the first hour it was bliss. The only ones who spoke were the leaders. I got heaps done and had a wonderful break and went home to find my 3 children under 8 with chicken pox. I haven't been to another silent retreat but it was surprising restful and also a bit challenging to only have yourself to talk too.