Gotta Getaway | alive
Stay or go That’s the winter travel question this COVID year. Given health concerns, precariousness at work, and financial pressures, many of us wonder how to take a break. Should we or
After this intense, often surreal year, it is no wonder that many of us long to get away from the reality of it all. Linda Graham, MFT, author of
And Marika Chandler, director of Outward Bound Canada in Ontario, notes that “escape” is a time when new memories are created, immersed in a different kind of present than in our everyday life, and the connections with one another and with the natural are deepened World.
The pleasure of planning
But it doesn’t just feel so good to get away. It starts with planning a trip – the joy of hope, the imagination and the anticipation of short breaks. “There is new research,” says Chandler, “on the psychological benefits of investing time researching and visualizing your goals.”
How can people minimize their risk of COVID infection when opting for an outdoor getaway? “From the beginning,” says Chandler, “spending time outdoors has been identified as a lower risk activity.” To avoid unexpected surprises, she recommends taking the time to check the details before setting off.
Avoid the 3 Cs
The three Cs we need to avoid or minimize during COVID:
- narrow spaces with poor ventilation
- close contact
- crowded rooms
Before you set off, take the time to consider the small but important details that are less easy to control:
- common surfaces
- Food preparation
- Disinfection of shared devices
- Sleep arrangements
Roaming on the weekend
Start small and close, says Chandler for weekend getaways. For Chandler, this means visiting the small lakes that dot the Muskoka landscape and enjoying the rocky outcrops and rivers. For Chandler, weekend trips mean the opportunity to enjoy the magic of winter: “Sun bouncing off ice crystals or moody clouds.” Wherever you have access, Chandler recommends staying active throughout the winter, from cross-country skiing to snow biking for skating over a frozen pond.
From renting or renting a winter tent to booking a cabin in a provincial park, there are a multitude of ways to experience the beauty of winter for beginners and experienced campers alike. “Winter camping can be daunting to the uninitiated,” admits Chandler. Although crawling out of a warm sleeping bag on a frosty morning can be a challenge, winter expeditions are especially rewarding and poignant because of their unique obstacles.
Some provincial parks offer winter camping workshops that cover the basics like travel planning, amenities, and safety.
For extended stays outdoors, Chandler recommends yurts, including those found in Algonquin Park, Arrowhead, and Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve, for those living in Ontario. Check with the provincial park departments to find out which areas are open for winter activities and, if necessary, for reservations.
A careful road trip might be just the thing to alleviate that travel itch. Driving east from Toronto is Chandler’s personal favorite, cruising through Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, and Gaspé en route to New Brunswick, where Chandler suggests exploring Grand Manan Island and the Bay of Fundy tides before he continues to Nova Scotia.
“There are rewards big and small at every turn,” explains Chandler. “Follow the St. Lawrence to the sea, beautiful all year round.”
“Our eastern provinces have been closed to travel by other Canadians this year,” says Chandler, “and their economy has benefited greatly from tourism. Support when you
Make sure you check for any COVID travel restrictions before heading out.
Questions to consider
“The key to escaping in 2020 is making sure you are up to date on the status of the area you are traveling to,” says Chandler. Assuming the destination you are considering is open to visitors, there are a few more questions you should consider:
- Is the local health system overwhelmed?
- Are you increasing the local or regional system?
- How do you affect your residents?
How can that go from the cost of equipment to a lack of inclusion in the outdoor expedition realm?
Chandler’s priorities to address this inequality have included providing access closer to home, accommodating shorter getaways, and providing lower cost opportunities. It also prides itself on initiatives to improve accessibility, including the park bus (
Chandler is also an advocate for greater representation and diversity in the outdoors, for both those who participate and those who lead, instruct and administer.
As important as safety is during this time of COVID-19, it is also important to take the time to understand and appreciate the history of any country you are traversing or staying on.
Learn about new places
Find out who lived and cared for where you are camping or vacationing, delving into the history of land claim and contract, and exploring the local history and political context of the location of your yurt, hut, yours Campsite or your eco-resort rental.
A pleasure to retreat to
Times of rest and retreat are a necessary and natural part of our basic rhythms. The human nervous system dwindles between activating to deal with the world and deactivating to relax, rest, and renew.
Maybe your job is running out of time at the moment, or maybe you are uncomfortable with the thought of going far away. Regardless of the factors that make it feel safer to stay close to home, staying close to home can help us find the supplies we need.
Say “yes” to yourself
“Give yourself permission,” urges Graham, “to take some time off.” A stay is not selfish or indulgent or an unnecessary luxury. In this time of uncertainty, it is true self-care that revives you so that you can go back to dealing with hard things with new energy and purpose every day.
You can use the sabbatical of a stay to learn something new. By focusing on one learning project, ”stresses Graham,“ we can give ourselves the gift of joy and structure and meaning. “
Take your time to enjoy small delicacies
Staycating gives us time to enjoy the little things, says Graham. And these little moments and micro-pleasures, which often go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of our day, can play a crucial role in restoring our wellbeing. Take the time to notice and enjoy. Don’t just let the moment pass.
“If you experience moments of laughter, joy, or awe during your stay,” suggests Graham, “take half a minute to really notice, appreciate, and enjoy them. When we look at every detail again, we install these experiences in our long-term memory as a resource that we can refer to again and again. “
A time to disconnect, connect, or reconnect
Consider creating your own tech-free, quiet retreat for your next stay. Or, when you’ve had enough of isolation, Graham suggests adding some pre-planned catch-up to your home vacation. Conversations; Dinner; and trivia, card and board games via video hosting.
Here, near or far
Whether on vacation or during a stay, escaping – here, near or far away – can promote our well-being
- Providing time and space for reflection
- broaden our perspectives
- include different interests
- move our bodies in different ways
- take a much-needed break
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