Embark on a unique exploration of Hawaii's Big Island. Dive into immersive experiences and creative prompts at diverse locations, stretching your creativity whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

*NOTE: Students may wish to also take “Myths and the Land” (beginning the previous week) to discover an ever-deeper relationship with the landscape and your connection to the magic of the Big Island.

CompanionsThis is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son, daughter, or partner. If you are bringing a companion you will want to rent your own vehicle for your companion’s convenience.  Companions may join the group sessions and for meals but are not involved in the class or review sessions. Transportation is not provided for companions. The companion supplement is $295.

Join us on a curated exploration of the Big Island of Hawaii, a magical place that will take us away from the ordinary and familiar and inspire our journey of imagination. Over the week you’ll be led in immersive experiences that take you beyond the ordinary tourist’s view of Hawaii.  Writing and multi-media prompts will lead you on a journey to explore the myriad geographies of the Big Island from multiple perspectives. We’ll use prompts and creativity exercises in different locations that expand and stretch your imagination. At the end of the week, you’ll have a journal of your travel experience that is deeply personal and uniquely tied to the magic of the Hawaiian landscape.  This workshop is open to anyone who is interested in exploring off the beaten path–beginners in any media (writing, drawing, photography) or experienced artists will discover something new.

What you will learn:

  • Translating experience into expression – both visual and written
  • Writing in any genre from poetry to prose to forms of graphic novels
  • Simple book structures that capture your creativity in a unique travel journal
  • Exposure to Hawaiian landscapes through four uniquely different lenses
  • Learn to bring your writing to life by developing imagery, senses, scenes, and characters

Our venues are planned to map your connection to place through the eye of a traveler.  Daily prompts will help to develop your unique perspective of the land, your memories, and your imagination.

Old Growth Fern Forest 2 - By Meg Weston

You’ll explore with us through four different lenses:  1) visit a Hawaiian rainforest garden introducing you to Hawaii’s rich and varied flora and fauna; 2) cultural landscape: mythology, music, and tradition; 3) cosmology–the night skies as seen from the heights of Mauna Kea, studying star maps of astronomy, astrology, and myths; and 4) the geological landscape on and below the surface of volcanic areas in Volcano National Park.  Tied to your sensory experience, you begin with awareness of the experience, move to a visual interpretation (sketching, photographing, drawing) and then go deeply into writing of any genre.  By week’s end, we’ll work with some simple book structures to create your unique travel journal.

With questions and multi-media prompts, you’ll engage with the layered dimensions of time, space, place and being.  You’ll be asked to consider contemporary notions of travel from ecological impact, sustainability, and cultural implications.  And you’ll reflect on questions that challenge what it means to be a traveler: Who are you in relation to this place? Are you bringing something that will be of value to the host, the people who live here? What will be your impact and your legacy be?  How are you changed as a result of the experience? And what creative insights do you bring home with you to share?

What to bring / How to prepare:

We will be using pens and paper.  Bring any favorite sketching or writing tools or none at all.  All materials will be supplied. 

Meg Weston and Jane Pirone will be your guides, working with prompts that give you the opportunity to combine sensory detail, imagery, and words to capture layered connections to place, time, and characters. 

Magma Intrusions, poems - By Meg Weston
Magma Intrusions – By Meg Weston

Meg Weston leads writing retreats connected to geological hot spots such as Iceland, Hawaii, and other places around the world. Meg is a photographer, poet and non-fiction writer who is passionate about the forces that shape the earth and the stories that shape our lives.

Jane Pirone’s creative and transdisciplinary practice engages with living systems, storytelling, and participatory futures from critical, queer and post-human perspectives. Jane is on the faculty of Parsons School of Design and leads international workshops.

Both Meg & Jane are trained as AWA (Amherst Writers & Artists) facilitators and use these practices that help guide you past the inner critique to access your unique voice.  

Tuition includes instruction, first and last night dinner, and admission to parks and locations.  We will have one or two rental cars for carpooling, however, students may opt to rent their own cars. Those traveling with companions are encouraged to rent a car.


Accommodations are not included. Meg & Jane will be staying at the Dolphin Bay Hotel, dolphinbayhotel.com a short walk from downtown Hilo and suggest that students book there as well.  All units have full kitchens, TVs and WIFI. Coffee/tea are available each morning at 5am, followed by pastries at 6:30am and fresh fruit all day.  The grounds around the hotel are beautifully landscaped with exotic orchids, plumeria, wild ginger, bird of paradise, palm trees and native Hawaiian ferns. There are several paths behind the hotel that lead to a jungle garden.  Maine Media has rooms reserved here for our students to book for a Saturday arrival and Saturday departure.  You must book directly with Dolphin Bay to secure your room.  BE SURE TO LET THEM KNOW YOU ARE WITH THE MAINE MEDIA GROUP. February is the most popular month to visit Hawaii, so please book your room by October 15 to ensure your room in Hilo. Nearby as well, is the Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

The weather in Hawaii is nearly idyllic and should be warm while we are there. However, when we are up in Volcano National Park, the temperature can vary greatly from the crater to the coast so participants will want to have extra layers for warmth.  Hiking shoes, a rain jacket and a hat are also recommended.

  • 1. Reservations & Payments
    • A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop.  Final payment in full is due 45 days prior to the start date of your workshop unless stated differently in the course description.  Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.
  • 2. Cancellations
  • 3. Basis of Rates
    • All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.
  • 4. Insurance
    • It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries, or illnesses. See our travel insurance recommendations here.
  • 5. Itinerary Changes
    • The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.
  • 6.  Passports and Visas
    • A valid passport is required for all international travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered.  Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.
  • 7. Medical Issues
    • All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.
  • 8. Liability Waiver
    • Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.   Click here to download.
  • 9. Responsibility & Photography
    • To ensure a safe experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive, or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop.

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Instructor: Meg Weston

Margaret A. (Meg) Weston earned an MFA degree in Creative Writing at Lesley University in 2008, and has completed training in the Amherst Writers and Artists method for facilitating writing groups. Her memoir, The Volcano Tourist, follows her geologic journey as she pursues a passion that’s been with her since childhood. Her passion for volcanoes and geological hot spots around the world, as well as themes of memory, family, and self-discovery are the subjects of her writing. As a member of the core faculty of the Maine Media she mentors students in their creative writing projects.