Guest Book: Gina Kong

My boyfriend, David, took me to go zip lining at Callaway Garden in September.  To be honest, I invited myself on his trip. He’d planned it with some work friends, but I  just wanted and needed  to feel far away from home after we’d spent so much time cooped up. 

Let me tell you something about myself—I tend to get a little nosey when I get to know people. That’s how, while David and I geared up for zip lining, I found myself deep in conversation with a (hopefully) new friend about her relationship. She told me that she started dating a new guy and as a spontaneous gesture they booked a Getaway. I remember asking, “What’s Getaway?” She quickly pulled out her phone and started showing pictures from her trip, and as she raved about her experience and how affordable it was I was falling in love already. 

David and I booked our Getaway about a month later. I, of course, wanted to go sooner, but it was booked every weekend for months. Finally, we decided not to wait any longer—mainly because my impatience was becoming obnoxious. We took time off work and booked our trip for a one-night stay on a Monday night. I researched as much as I could before our trip. I looked up hashtags on Instagram, read all the comments, perused Reddit forums, asked around, but I didn’t meet a single other person that had experienced Getaway. The website for Getaway provided answers to my questions, but I wanted more stories from actual guests. I was so excited. 

Shortly before our special Monday arrived we received a message from Getaway with more details about our booking. We were all ready to drive to Suches, Georgia, a little less than 2 hours from Atlanta. We’d be staying in “Frank”, a cabin named—as all Getaway cabins are—after an employee’s grandparent. I loved that thoughtful detail.  

With a fully packed car, we finally reached Getaway Chattahoochee. It took us a few minutes to find “Frank”, but once we did we grabbed our belongings and headed in to get acquainted with our cabin. Everything was so clean and organized! There was a small two-person table that had a welcome note, activity book, and a cell phone lock box neatly waiting for us.  The bed was nicely made and above the kitchenette there were neatly stacked pots and plates just waiting for us. I was hungry already, and there were snacks and other goods available for purchase, like you would see in a hotel room, didn’t help.  

David and I decided to explore the area and went for a short hike.  I picked flowers along the way in hope of decorating “Frank”.  When we reached the end of a path it led to an open field, and as I stared out into the distance it hit me that we were completely alone.  There was no reception to check social media and no incoming text messages or email notifications. We stood in comfortable silence and I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I noticed silence. 

We headed back to get an early start on dinner.  David was in charge of the steak and I was going to cook the potatoes. I was grateful that we didn’t have to worry about packing every small thing to make dinner happen. I did accidentally burn the potatoes, and after that,  David and I both agreed I made a better bartender. It started raining during dinner, which meant we had to skip out on making a campfire. I didn’t mind though. The peaceful sound of rain while we sipped wine created a very serene mood. We left the door open to hear it come down (and also, admittedly, to air out the smell of the burnt potatoes). We got very involved in a game of  Connect 4, which I maintain requires no real skill. If that’s the case then I must be extremely unlucky to have lost 6 times in a row. 

After my losing streak we worked through the Getaway activity book. We played some cards and David flipped through the read a bit while I started to doze. Later we took turns sharing what we found in the little library of books curated by Getaway. Our favorite was the Atlas because a different artist designed every map, and we got to see their colorful interpretation of a city.  I’m awful at geography and we had a few laughs at me trying to guess what city each map represented. We talked late into the night, finally falling asleep to rain on the roof of “Frank.”  It felt different to be able to do this because I’m so used to falling asleep to a glow of a screen. 

We woke up early the next morning and cooked breakfast together. After we packed up our belongings we took one last look at our little cabin.  I waved goodbye with a full heart. I felt thankful to have deepened my relationship with David, but it was more than that. This experience helped me to relive a bit of  my childhood. When I was a kid I could entertain myself by playing pretend for hours. I didn’t need a smart phone, or a TV, or social media. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, I lost that sense of imagination and grew dependent on other things to stimulate me and bring me joy. I’d been struggling lately with an odd mix of boredom and pressure to constantly be doing something.  Whether I was at home eating dinner or sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, I just couldn’t sit there and relax.  Instead  I needed my time to be constantly filled, and it grew into a harmful habit. But that night at Getaway, David and I just being with each other was enough—more than enough. 

I didn’t realize how much my need to be productive around the clock was wearing on my relationships with others and myself.  I had developed an unhealthy relationship with technology where I expected it to make me feel more fulfilled. This trip helped me to reset boundaries with my phone and laptop. It forced me to be away from them, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. I was actually able to be present. It’s a special experience to intentionally disconnect from the modern world and reset with nature.  I was thankful for all of the quiet moments. 

We drove away from “Frank” and headed to our next adventure, Mercier Orchard. This apple orchard was 50 minutes north and further away from home, but we were excited to keep our adventure going.  Mercier Orchard has a huge storefront that sells apples, cider, pies, and other baked goods, but it was a way for us to include more nature in our trip. Bringing home apple cider doughnuts for our families wasn’t bad either. 

After I returned I felt that pressure resurface, but I felt more equipped to face it. I’m already looking forward to our next Getaway—to which we will not be bringing Connect 4. I encourage everyone to let nature help you disconnect in order to reconnect. Getaway is a great way to do that.