Getting Away, Unplugging and Challenging Your Comfort Zone

48 hours in the woods: no cell service, no wifi -- oh my! Words that may strike fear in many modern travelers, myself included, piqued my interest as I read about Getaway and their tiny cabins. 

For those that are new here let me tell you a little about myself: I’m a 30-year-old city girl that has never been camping. I’m used to being scheduled to the minute, regular internet access, hairdryers, and other creature comforts -- I am not accustomed to stepping outside at night and hearing a symphony of (for me) unidentifiable nature sounds. Sure, I’ve spent time hiking and exploring nature but always for a day at a time and easily within a stone's throw of the modern conveniences that I have always known. For a more accurate mental image picture Meredith Blake from The Parent Trap in the camping scene. Got it? So why did I want to “Getaway” from it all? I knew that this was the perfect way for me to ease out of my comfort zone and still have the safety net of a locked door, comfortable bed, real shower and cozy atmosphere -- no tents for me (yet)!

As someone that has worked in the beauty and fashion industry for several years, one of the first things I noticed when I entered the cabin and beelined for the bathroom, was that there are no mirrors! At first, this was puzzling to me, it’s not as if I want to sit around and stare at myself all-day but I like to do my hair and check my appearance as I get ready to head out. However, after preparing for bed the first night I quickly realized what a distraction mirrors can be. My nightly routine consists of brushing my teeth, washing my face, applying my serums and moisturizers and whether I like it or not scrutinizing my bare-faced appearance in the mirror. I strive to practice self-love every day however I too fall into the trap of negative self-talk. For me the lack of mirrors rapidly took on a new meaning, it was less about not doing my makeup or styling my hair and more about being kind to myself and staying in the present moment. I immediately started to feel more relaxed and ready for bed instead of trapped in a loop of negative thinking. A change that I was very grateful for.

Waking up the next morning with a view from the gorgeous picture window was entirely new for me. I usually sleep with dark curtains tightly drawn. As someone who lives on a busy NYC avenue, I don’t like the idea of someone being able to easily peer in, not to mention the large amount of light pollution in the city which prevents it from ever being truly dark. Even when I’m away sleeping with the shades closed has always given me peace of mind. So when it came time for bed I instinctively went to close the curtains.  My partner countered saying there is no one else out there, no lights to keep me up, and waking up with the view of the trees might be nice. After a brief hesitation, I consented. My reward was waking up with the sun filtering through the trees and watching a small deer meandering and looking for food. 

In less than twelve hours I was already feeling the positive effects of being away from my routine, away from the city, unplugged from my phone and immersing myself in nature. As I sat at the built-in table, sipping my coffee I almost couldn’t believe how relaxed I felt. I didn’t realize how much I needed space from my day-to-day habits and responsibilities. 

In an effort to truly let go, Matt and I decided not to be on a schedule. For someone that insists on a shared calendar and tends to make plans with our friends 3 weeks in advance, this was a big change. All we decided ahead of time was that we were going to go pick up some snacks, go on a hike, come back to the cabin and cook over the fire. Ordinarily, I would want to set a time for each of these tasks and commit us both to an itinerary. We kept things loose and instead enjoyed a leisurely morning together. 

The Getaway cabins are all conveniently located near hiking trails and other areas to explore during your stay. We took a short 15-minute drive and parked at one of the many trailheads. We initially planned to hike to the North-South Lakes and take a swim but since there were no lifeguards on duty we changed course. Instead, we decided to hike to North Point, a 5.5-mile roundtrip from where we parked the car with an 850-foot elevation gain. I was admittedly nervous, I am a novice hiker at best and this trail was marked as “difficult” on the guide map however I was motivated by the promise of beautiful views.  

The hike itself was healing for many reasons, I enjoyed the scenic surroundings, it is amazing how immersing yourself in nature immediately enhances your ability to be in the moment. However, what moved me most was the feeling of accomplishment I gained with every step. I have struggled with self-esteem on and off for as long as I can remember and when it hits me it permeates every part of my life. Taking on a new challenge helps me see myself for what I am: a strong and capable woman. The sense of triumph and achievement that comes from these challenges helps me get out of the dark corners of my mind. 

Back at the cabin Matt and I decided to cook over the open fire -- something new for both of us! It was an exercise in teamwork, timing and for me: bravely facing the bugs and bears. To say that I’m jumpy is an understatement, at one point in the evening I yelped in fear at what I thought was a wild animal -- it turned out to be my own sock-covered foot. Despite my fears we made it through the dinner with only a few scaredy-cat outbursts. 

The next morning was our last, I savored the sunrise view through the trees, made blueberry pancakes with Matt and prepared to head back to the city. I left our temporary tiny home feeling renewed, recharged, connected with my partner and grateful for my tech detox. Though our stay was brief I will be holding onto this sense of serenity until the next time.

Photo: Matt Licari

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For more photos of our stay click here.

For more information about Getaway House click here.

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