No, of course you’re right. It’s great to have some time off and seclusion. But I am thinking about times when people have scheduled a “retreat” for a few days in the trip, which often feels like waste of time; not a real retreat, but not doing what I came for either. Anyway, like you say, just ask.
Oh I thought of another one. It should go without saying all these are personal, and others will differ!
When I travel to teach, I am not going to promulgate some special doctrine or other. I just want to connect with people in Dhamma. I like a challenge and I like to do different things. I can, yes, do an intro to metta meditation and the ABCs of Buddhism, and I love to do that—but not every day! People ask, “What do I want to talk about?” but I don’t really know what I want to talk about until I start speaking, and I actually see who you are with and where it is. Sometimes when I have taken the time to organize a series of talks on particular topics, the organizers politely let me know that they have changed them.
So what I appreciate is if people get to know something of the kinds of things that matter to me, and find some common ground where I can connect with the people there. Make specific, strong suggestions for interesting topics, something I can get my teeth into. You’ll get a much better talk if I feel like I’m being challenged than if I’m just going through the motions. And please, don’t ask me to talk about the institutional structures of Buddhist societies in Australia. (Yes, that happened, and no, I will not do it.)