Disconnection can mean something different for everyone. Whether it’s reading in bed, walking outside, or – for Getaway guest Renee Searcy, a personal chef and food stylist – cooking.
Renee loves experimenting with new recipes, so it’s natural that when she booked her escape to Getaway Chattahoochee, she had plans for what to cook over the campfire. Enjoy this delicious recipe, ready for your next campfire cooking session.
Beef Smoked Sausage and Veggies (serves 2)
What you’ll need:
8 oz beef smoked sausage, sliced on the bias
1 medium potato, cut into a small dice
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small sweet or vidalia onion, sliced
Roasted tomatoes in oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
Heat a large cast iron skillet on a grate over hot coals or on the grill. You can also cook on the stovetop on medium-high heat.
Melt the butter and oil together.
Add the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the sausage, peppers, and onions. Cook until the veggies are starting to get tender (about 3-4 minutes).
Add tomatoes and some of the oil from the container. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Serve hot and enjoy.
For more recipes from Renee, you can visit her website. To make your next favorite recipe over the campfire, make your escape here.
Your Getaway is about finding time to disconnect and recharge. Your time of relaxation shouldn’t have to wait until you get to our Atlanta Outpost though, it should begin the minute you leave the city.
Change your journey to Getaway from a commute into a fun road trip. Whether you’re looking for exciting hikes, delicious food, or something to sip on, we’ve found some great stops for you to enjoy along the way.
Attractions Along the Way
Consolidated Gold Mine, 185 Consolidated Gold Mine Rd, Dahlonega, GA 30522 ~ 35 min fromOutpost Descend 200 feet underground into this 100-year-old mine to see how turn-of-the-centuries miners found gold in Georgia. After panning for your own gold, visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum nearby, housed in the 1836 Lumpkin County Courthouse.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards, 180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega, GA 30533 ~ 35 min fromOutpost Tucked at the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest with views of the North Georgia mountains, Wolf Mountain has earned over 200 medals for its wines. Its grounds are landscaped beautifully, transforming the vineyard into a lovely place to taste wines and brunch.
Helen, GA, Visitor Center at 726 Bruckenstrasse, Helen, GA 30548 ~1 hr from Outpost This German mountain town is the third most visited town in the state. It boasts beautiful views, fun outdoor activities, and well-known vineyards, so it has something for just about everyone.
Grumpy Old Men Brewing, 1315 E Main St, Blue Ridge, GA 30513 ~ 45 min fromOutpost The couple of retired beer enthusiasts who founded Grumpy Old Men Brewing in 2012 began by brewing their stores in an outdoor shower and eventually opened their microbrewery in Blue Ridge. In 2018, the original two migrated to the other side of the 18-tap bar, passing the company onto “another Grumpy Old Man & his Crabby Lady.” There’s lots of space in the tasting room to play games and chat with other brew-loving folk.
Brasstown Bald, 2941 GA-180 Spur, Hiawassee, GA 30522 ~ 1 hr fromOutpost Take in the view from Georgia’s highest peak at 4,784 feet above sea level. You can walk the half-mile climb to the top where, on clear days, you can see four states with the help of on-site telescopes.
Amicalola Falls State Park418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville, GA 30534 ~ 1 hr fromOutpost This state park, which features the highest waterfall in all of Georgia, is visited by hikers, climbers, and zip liners. Go for a hike or check out their other adventure activities.
Lake Lanier, 1820 Mary Alice Park Rd, Cumming, GA 30041 ~1.5 hrs from Outpost Popular with boaters, swimmers, and jetskiers, this frequently visited lake is a great stop on your way to the Outpost. Stop at Mary Alice Park for a picnic and to get some sun.
On the Local Menu
Capers on the Square, 84 Public Square N, Dahlonega, GA 30533 ~ 40 min from Outpost For delicious Mediterranean fare with good gluten-free and vegetarian options, Capers is a Dahlonega staple. After narrowing down your choices off the menu (good luck) you can sit by the restaurant’s big windows or outside in the square and people watch.
Bratzeit, 77 Memorial Dr, Dahlonega, GA 30533 ~ 40 min fromOutpost Born in Switzerland and Germany, the owners of Bratzeit bring their native cuisine and Swiss-German tastes to Northern Georgia. The schnitzels are fantastic, and order a classic apple strudel to top off the fare.
Shenanigans, 87 N Chestatee St, Dahlonega, GA 30533 ~ 40 min fromOutpost With its hole-in-the-wall atmosphere and snug quarters, Shenanigans plates Irish-American classics (try the fish ‘n chips) and a diverse beer menu.
Lake Burrito, 3050 Keith Bridge Rd, Cumming, GA 30041 ~ 1 hr fromOutpost Lake Burrito’s Tex-Mex menu, fresh ingredients, and tasty vegan options has made it a favorite with locals. Visit in the mornings for their staple breakfast tacos, and between the nachos, quesadillas, and burritos, you can’t go wrong with whatever you order.
Walks in the Mountains
Jarrard Gap Trail Distance: 1mile Difficulty: Easy Dogs allowed on-leash Close by your cabin, this trail climbs gradually from Lake Winfield Scott Campground and merges with the Appalachian Trail. With ridge-line views, the path continues into the Blood Mountains in a lovely loop.
Long Creek Falls on the Appalachian Trial Distance: 1.9 miles Difficulty: Easy Dogs allowed on-leash This two-mile section of the Appalachian Trail is one of the most beautiful in Georgia. It winds through a lush valley en route to Long Creek Falls, full of wildlife, flowers, steep cliffs, and soft moss in every season. The double-tiered waterfall rises over 50 feet before emptying into a deep pool, shadowed by bunches of rhododendron.
Yonah Mt. Hike Distance: 4.4 miles Difficulty: Moderate Dogs allowed on-leash Recognizable by its asymmetric shape and exposed rock outcrops near the top, Yonah Mt. rises from the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mts. and is one of North Georgia’s best hikes. The continuous uphill hike climbs through a rocky, moss-filled forest leads to stunning panoramic views of the horizon. Check out the views from the rock outcrops along the way and at the summit, as practice some leaf-, flower-, and snow-spotting in all seasons.
Blood Mt. Loop via the Appalachian and Freeman Trails Hike Distance: 6 miles Difficulty: Hard Dogs allowed on-leash Towering over the surrounding peaks, Blood Mt. is Georgia’s highest Appalachian Trail summit, rising high to 4,459 ft. at the summit’s massive rock outcrop, which offers sweeping, stunning views and a chance to explore the historic stone Blood Mt. Shelter. This loop explores quieter stretches, beginning at the Neels Gap trailhead and hiking the eastern face with the Byron Reece Trail. It merges with and follows the Appalachian Trail at Flatrock Gap to the summit, descending along the Freeman Trail, which leads back through a fern-filled valley.
Appalachian Trail: Three Forks to Springer Mt. Hike Distance: 8.6 miles Difficulty: Hard Dogs allowed on-leash Spanning from Maine down through the eastern United States, the Appalachian Trail winds to a stop here in North Georgia, its southernmost point. This hike traces the last steps of the trail and dips through the greek, creek-strewn Three Forks Valley before climbing to an end at the summit of Springer Mt. with the reward of the southern Appalachian Mts., blanketed in blue haze.
Ready to start your road trip? Book your Atlanta stay today.
Jeri Choi has stayed at Getaway DC a number of times and we love how she’s made a new tradition for her family of four (soon to be five). We asked Jeri to share more about her experience with Getaway, as well as her favorite family-friendly places to stop along the way.
“Are we there yet?! Are we there yet?!”
Only 15 mins into our estimated 2-hour drive and we were already hearing the chants and giggles get louder from our 2 kids in the backseat.
The kids were so excited. We were on our way to the Getaway.
My husband and I try our best to catch up and talk to our kids at dinner each night and then pick up the conversation as part of their bedtime routine. We listen to them talk about their day, read them a book, and pray for them. But that time is never enough—there are always more stories from what happened at school and more jokes they want to share.
Especially during certain seasons of busyness, we find that we can lose ourselves crossing off to-do lists, following a strict schedule, and living by our Google Calendar all while making sure that the kids are fed, clean, and generally doing well.
It was one winter, during a particularly busy time, that my husband suggested we go away for a few days as a family. A getaway to the Getaway, to retreat as a family of four.
Our very first trip actually took us close to 4 hours to get there. We stopped multiple times for bathroom breaks, for coffee, for gas, to change a diaper, and eventually got stuck in traffic because of the rain.
It was horrible. It’s not what I had planned or imagined. I wanted the two days away to be the best—about us, disconnecting from our busy lives and reconnecting as a family. But here we were, in traffic, spending the majority of it in a parked car on the highway.
The last stretch of traffic made our kids really antsy so we decided to take just one more stop before heading to our cabin. We stumbled upon a shopping center with a Target, about 35 minutes from the Getaway.
The kids ran down the aisles, getting out all their wiggles, following us as we looked around for diapers and milk. Moving through the aisles, our kids got a hold of different snacks and toys and continued to ask me if we could buy it. Annoyed from the rain and the cold, I didn’t even hear what they were asking, just responded with, “No. We have to go.”
Our daughter grabbed a box of cereal, tugged on my jacket and asked, “Can we get this for breakfast? I’ve always wanted to try unicorn marshmallows!” I quickly snapped back, “No! I planned to make pancakes so we’re having pancakes for breakfast.”
I saw her put it back on the shelf and she hopped back onto the cart as my husband pushed it. He turned around and smiled at me. I walked towards him and he put his arm around me and said to our kids, “Hey guys, let’s hurry up here so we can go!”
As we were checking out, our son started to cry. He was hungry. We were all hungry and we needed to eat dinner. In the same shopping center was Panera. We made our way over and sat down in the booth. Our daughter at this point was tired and started to wind down, putting her head on the table. Trying to revive her excitement and also to remind myself of why we came, I kept telling her, “Just wait! As soon as we get there, we are going to have so much fun!” She looked up at me and said, “Mama, but this is already fun!” Her face brightened up as she looked at me and continued to tell me stories of what happened at school—right where we left off the other night before bed.
I tried to hold back my tears as I was trying to eat my broccoli cheddar soup. The idea of wanting rest and connecting with my family looked effortless in my perfect schedule. I wanted to cross off my to-do list of our trip to find rest when really that would never give me peace.
Obviously, not following it made me unhappy—living like this would never make me happy. I needed to lay down my selfish and unreasonable expectations for myself, as a mom, as a wife, and for our family. There will always be a to-do list but only one moment in time when our kids are little. I just needed to be present for my daughter, for my family.
I apologized to my daughter for my crabby attitude. And my very keen daughter responded, “It’s ok mom. I forgive you. I get like that when I’m hungry too!” We left Panera with full stomachs and a new sense of excitement. Our last 30 minutes in the car were filled with singing, guessing games, and laughter. We were enjoying each others company and even decided to make one more stop at Sheetz to grab ice-cream for dessert!
We pulled up to our cabin and unloaded our bags. The kids had so much fun holding up flashlights for us to see the path from the car to the door. We were all wet and cold, but our cabin was warm inside and greeted us with a pleasant smell of wood and fresh bedsheets. We washed up, put the kids in their pajamas, and talked some more in bed. Right before falling asleep, our two-year-old son said, “this is the best ever.” And it was. It was the best ever.
Since then, our family has gone two more times. We book our trips when we know we’ll have a busier season coming up for us. It’s become our new tradition. On the way to our cabin, we’ll all take turns sharing knock-knock jokes that we’ve been saving up, talk about school and work, share our hopes and dreams. We stop by that same Target from our first trip where our kids will each pick out a snack of their choice along with a box of cereal to eat for breakfast the next day. Then we make our way over to Panera to grab a bite to eat while talking about what we want to do during our stay.
Here are a few places we’ve stumbled upon either by accident, because of a bathroom break, or because one of our kids yelled, “Can we go there?!” We hope you and your family enjoy them as much as we do during your Getaway. We can’t wait to go back again but this time with our new baby!
Culpeper Colonnade (15295 Montanus Dr, Culpeper, VA 22701) The shopping center we always stop by on the way. About 35 mins from the Getaway; has stores from Target, Dicks Sporting Goods to Panera, and Chik-fil-a.
Yoder’s Country Market(2105 S Seminole Trl. Madison, VA 22727) It’s a market, deli, petting zoo, and also has a playground! For lunch, we drive 12 mins from our cabin to Yoder’s Country Market. The deli has great food and we’ll take some time to shop around for some snacks. The kids love the free petting zoo behind the market and when they’re done watching the goats and peacocks, they’ll make their way over to the playground. We’ll also grab Trickling Springs ice cream to enjoy on the rocking chairs in front of the market.
Moo-Thru (11402 James Madison Hwy. Remington, VA 22734) Our family loves ice cream! We try to stop by Moo-Thru either on the way to the Getaway or on the way home from our trip because of the distance- about 45 minutes from the Outposts. If the weather is nice, the kids will run around outside or we will take a break under the pavilion to eat a packed meal and enjoy our ice cream.
Sheetz (7020 Seminole Trl. Ruckersville, VA 22968) I know its just a gas station and convenience store but its open 24 hours! It’s inevitable that you’ll forget to bring something, especially if you have children. We’ve made so many runs to Sheetz for all sorts of things, even in the middle of the night, just 15 minutes drive from the Outposts.
Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive (Swift Run Gap Entrance Station at Rt. 33) The kids love to explore around our cabin and take pictures of interesting finds. We also run into other people staying at the Getaway walking their dogs and the kids love greeting them. But if we need to get out, we drive 15 minutes to enjoy the beautiful view at Shenandoah National Park.
S’mores and campfire (at the cabin) One thing we look forward to is the campfire to make s’mores! Getaway is so kind and gifts you a s’mores kit, however, make sure to pack extra graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows because if you’re anything like our family, we can always eat more s’mores!
We believe your Getaway should be about relaxing, not about stressing over meal planning. That’s why we’ve put together three easy recipes you can create in our cabins.
Don’t worry about bringing cooking tools. Our cabins are stocked with everything you might need, including a pot, pan, cutting board, and knives. You just need to bring the ingredients.
If this sounds like a hassle, then bring nothing at all. In the spirit of giving you everything you need and nothing you don’t, our cabins come with several provisions for purchase, including pasta, sauce, jerky, and more. But if cooking a meal solo or with loved ones sounds appealing, here are a few quick recipes so you can pick up the ingredients before your Getaway.
Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas (Makes 2)
What you’ll need:
8 oz chicken, grilled and sliced
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup bell peppers, chopped
1 jar salsa
What to do:
Place one tortilla in skillet and spread salsa on top.
Layer chicken, mushrooms, and peppers on top of salsa.
Sprinkle cheese on top and cover with second tortilla.
Press quesadilla down with spatula or spoon.
Flip quesadilla and cook until cheese is melted.
One Skillet Veggie Chili (Serves 4)
What you’ll need:
Olive oil (free in cabin)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
2 pinches salt (free in cabin)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup corn
1 can black beans, drained
What to do:
Heat skillet and add olive oil.
Add peppers and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Add garlic, chili powder, and oregano. Stir in.
Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and a two large pinches of salt. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes break down.
Season to taste and serve!
Easy Pasta Salad (Serves 4)
What you’ll need:
1 package pasta (purchase in cabin or bring your own)
1 bottle Italian salad dressing
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
What to do:
Bring pot of water to boil.
Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
In mixing bowl, combine pasta, salad dressing, cucumber, and tomatoes.
Mix in cheese.
Looking for some cocktails or mocktails to add to your meal? Check out our campfire cocktail favorites here.
Kuzu Creative was born out of an artistic collaboration between Sera Boeno and Fredric Freeman. After completing their first project together back in 2017, Sera and Fredric knew that if they combined forces, they could unlock so much more creative potential. Thus, the creative services agency was born.
Drawing inspiration from their environment, Sera and Fredric took their skills to our Artist Fellowship program at Getaway’s DC outpost. Our Getaway cabin and surrounding foliage became their canvas for elaborate projection mappings. We were totally in awe of what they were able to create using such simple surfaces as inspiration.
We sat down with Sera and Fredric to talk through their creative process and how they get away.
Hi Fredric and Sera. Please introduce yourselves.
Fredric: Hey it’s Fredric. Pleasure to meet you. I have a pretty varied background. I’ve been everything from a reputable underground music artist, to award winning agency animator, professor of virtual reality, and pizza delivery professional. My current professional endeavors have focused on exploring more augmented, extended, and virtual realities.
I grew up in Maryland. Born in Baltimore, only a few hours aways from our Getaway stay near the Blue Ridge Mountains. I can remember visiting this area a few times as a kid. Flying along Skyline Drive losing my mind from how beautiful it looked.
I’m currently based in Philadelphia, working as an adjunct professor of animation at Jefferson University. I also do non-profit work serving as the President of the Philadelphia Area New Media Association, a tech agnostic organization that promotes diversity through education.
Sera: Sera Boeno here. Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey and currently residing in Baltimore, MD, by way of Hanover, NH. I am a sculptor, installation artist who also dabbles with digital design and curatorial work. I just earned my M.F.A degree in Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art’s Rinehart School of Sculpture. Currently, I am an artist-fellow at the Hamiltonian, DC, and I work as the Asst. Creative Director of KUZU Creative. The KUZU title is a broad-spanning type of hat, having a broad spectrum of expertise helps with that.
How did Kuzu Creative come to be?
Fredric: At the end of 2017, a fashion school in Philly approached me to do a projection installation. I was in need of a person who can wear many hats from research and conceptualization of creative projects to organization and production to help out with the project. At that point Sera and I had been acquainted, and knew of each others work; I approached her to see if she would be interested in co-creating this installation. The work was a huge success and was followed by inquiries of more work, which was a sign to institutionalize our working relationship. We wanted a flexible structure through which we can leverage, and provide for our individual creative networks. This mindset turned out to be a great way to work, as we now have the opportunity to curate a specific team of contracted creatives that we trust according to the specific needs of any project from projection installations for children to animated music videos to product design.
Where do you go or what do you to to feel inspired?
Sera: I either do something completely unrelated for inspiration, like going swimming. Or I go to art spaces and museums, visit other artists’ studios or peruse a good book/documentary around a subject I am thinking about.
Fredric: I agree with Sera. Positive distractions.
How do you recharge?
Fredric: Nature. It’s the easiest way to recharge. One of the things I love about the Getaway is its ethos- the idea of unplugging and enjoying the space you are currently residing in. I’m a strong believer of taking walks in the woods. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that nature provides all the stimulation we need.
Sera: Agreed with Freddie, nature is a good way to come back to ground zero. I also find it really important to make space and time for self-care routines; mine are, in no particular order, exercising, reading fiction, making and eating good food, baths, meditation, and Skype dates with friends on the other side of the Atlantic.
Can you take us through how you created these incredible projection mappings? Step by step if possible.
Fredric: We started with a concept: Lost Digital Civilizations.
Sera: This is how we usually start, we muse about the possible response to a space/prompt we are given. After the concept is loosely set, we start collecting “assets”; in this case, zoom-in photographs of micro-chips, stock photos of archaeological artifacts, etc.
Fredric: We then created digital imagery and animations infused with these photos of ruins, microchips, cultural icons, etc. to create images of, say, Digital Gods Descending or something like that…
From there we did some test projections in Sera’s studio. We also took some time to build concrete objects to project on. Then we packed everything up and hit the woods. From there we scoped out a few areas we thought might create a nice composition and mapped our images on to these spaces. A huge reason things came together was the fact that we just went with it. We projected onto everything from tree trunks, to branches, to rocks, to even the front of our cabin.
Sera: I agree. I think most of the time our concepts are starting points but chance happenings have a big part in how the end-result is shaped. We welcome such opportunities to end up with things that we did not necessarily foresee. I personally believe it’s best when the work is one step ahead of you.
Where do you go to get away?
Sera: It’s tough to get away when you are in the creative hustle, because most of the time that means you are juggling multiple jobs/contracts while also trying to maintain an active studio practice. The two strain each other quite a bit. My solution is finding art residencies away from the city. For example, I spent some weeks in Steuben, WI, at ACRE residency where there was barely any cell phone reception. The surrounding area was so isolated that the moon shone bright enough to create shadows. I committed to making work here away from urban life, and while practicing to focus on doing so without thinking about to what end. That was my get away. Though, when I am able to travel, spending time in Istanbul, at home with family, usually serves as the ultimate getaway.
What is your dream creative project?
Sera: I would love a client to come to us with endless budget, space and time to commission an art project.
Fredric: Currently I think it would be to direct a music video for the Turkish rapper, Ezhel.
What are you most proud of?
Fredric:The journey Kuzu Creative is on.
Finish the sentence. At Getaway…
Kuzu Creative House made some pretty cool projection installations in nature.
There’s a lot to love about minimalist pros Roe and E, of @brownkids on Instagram.
Their approachable take on minimalism, sustainability, and pro-tips have spawned a community of those eager to partake in their no frills, gratitude-full lifestyle. As they prepare for their February Getaway, we asked Roe and E to curate the perfect playlist for their getting away.
Enjoy Roe and E’s Getaway playlist, featuring artists like Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, and Mac Ayres. Listen from home, or to and from a Getaway of your own.
Meet Christina Chun. Christina is a talented illustrator-turned-entrepreneur, running her very own stationery business called Forage Paper Co.
Christina is also one of our recent Artist Fellows in New York. You may have caught some of her work if you purchased our Black Friday deal; she designed beautiful postcards below inspired by her Getaway stay. We loved the postcards so much, we printed them up and sent them along to our guests who booked on Black Friday. Take a look at the design below.
We sat down with Christina to talk about her stationery work, what inspires her, and how she gets away.
Let’s start off by introducing yourself. Hello! My name is Christina Chun. I currently live and work in New York City with my husband and my studio-mate German Shepherd. After graduating from college with a degree in illustration, I worked as a freelance illustrator for many years until Forage Paper Co. came into the picture.
How did you start Forage Paper Co.? Several years ago, I started creating my own stationery and sharing them with everyone–friends, family, my local community, and the internet. To my pleasant surprise, people began purchasing them and retailers started carrying my cards in their shops! It was then when I realized that merging my love for illustrations and my passion for stationery was the perfect marriage. After mustering up enough courage, I started my very own business: Forage Paper Co. officially opened in 2015 in Oakland, California.
Where do you go for inspiration? I forage for inspiration and ideas wherever I go. It can be as grand as my travels around the globe or quotidian as a walk through Central Park with my dog. From there, it all gets recorded in my sketchbook, and then I take it to the literal drawing board.
How do you recharge? I recharge by either reading, cooking new recipes, exploring a new part of the city, or spending time with friends.
Where do you go to get away? Living in New York City, Central Park is my get-away. Thankfully, I live close by and can enjoy it whenever I please.
What sound do you find most relaxing? There’s nothing like the sound of a heavy downpour with a chorus of thunder. It can put me right to sleep!
Let’s talk analog in a digital world. What does making stationery mean to you in 2018? Nowadays, everything we do is quick and on-the-go. We microwave our food; we send emails from our phones; we snap, click, and go. In this hyper digitized climate, nothing beats receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. Why? Because it’s saturated with purpose and thoughtfulness.
When I see someone smiling as they pick up my products, I know they intend to share a slice of that joy with pen on paper. Seeing it truly affirms my belief that people desire to be connected to others. There is nothing more poignant and meaningful than a handwritten note. Knowing that my stationery can be the sweet medium makes me happy.
What’s your dream illustration and/or stationery project? The beauty of my job is that I get to illustrate my dreams anytime I want–and I have. I pour myself into my illustrations, and I think others get a glimpse of it in my work. In terms of projects, I am always cooking up ideas in my studio. I recently launched a series of notepads, and I have plans to expand my line even more!
Finish the sentence. At Getaway… I took my time cooking over white-hot embers, slept without an alarm, woke up to the best view of fall foliage, and read to my heart’s content.
One of our favorite things to do is read all of our guest feedback after Getaway trips—there are so many different folks who get away for different reasons, but all with the same goal of spending time with loved ones or alone out in nature.
Stacie Galiger is a math teacher at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia who wrote in about the challenges of being a single mom, and so we reached out to chat education, travel and single parenting. She’s been a teacher for sixteen years, and when her husband died her kids were two, five and eight years old.
“One of the things that terrified me the most about being a Single Mom was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to raise my daughters the way I had always envisioned—with lots of adventures, wild time and travel!
I didn’t want them to grow up feeling like their childhood had been compromised by our circumstances so I vowed to do whatever I could to raise them hiking, camping, paddling, climbing and exploring,”
Outdoor activities are natural de-stressors. The combined benefits of being in the outdoors with physical exercise is a double win; Stacie runs as a stress reliever and has done half marathons and other races in the past. She lives minimally and intentionally—her and her girls don’t have a TV and the three of them share a room and often have dance parties:
“Music is really important to me and helps me with everything from running faster, to calm down, to having dance parties with my kids! So Spotify premium is a splurge I love. The Discover Weekly playlists feel like a gift I get every week and I create playlists for pretty much everything,”
Note: we’re big fans of playlists for drives, too. While technology has made life simpler in ways we don’t even think about anymore (imagine life before the iPod or without the ease of creating playlists) it has profoundly changed the way we live, and the way we educate:
“We have so many resources and are literally connected to the world from anywhere. It’s exciting, but I think it’s also changed the role of the teacher from one who disseminates information to a mentor who helps students find and discern the facts themselves. Our role to teach students to think critically has never been more important.”
Thinking critically is increasingly important in an era where we’re constantly moving, scrolling and always checking for the next notification or update. It’s also good to just pay attention, and Stacie’s tip for keeping balance in her own life is true to this spirit: “I try to get outside and really pay attention to everything as much as possible. Even if it’s just walking to dog around the block, I take the time to look at the moon or listen to birds while I do”.
“I try to get outside and really pay attention to everything as much as possible. Even if it’s just walking to dog around the block, I take the time to look at the moon or listen to birds while I do”.
Here are her top tips for single parents who want to travel with their kids and get outside:
Always pack snacks. This is such an important family rule that I painted it on our living room wall. Most travel meltdowns (child and adult) are caused by hanger and impatience. No one makes good decisions or is good company while hungry! When you’re on the road, you never know when and where you’ll be able to stop for food so always have some energy bars, nuts, dried fruit, etc.
Do your research ahead of time. When I was young and had no little people depending on me it was fun and exciting to get lost on a dirt road in Costa Rica, arrive in Prague without plans or reservations, and have no idea how I was getting from the airport to my friend’s apartment in Ireland. Now it’s really important and helpful to know what’s around us when we travel. I still love spontaneous stops and side adventures, but with three little kids depending on me all the time I feel much more comfortable going into things having some ideas about the locations we are headed to.
Don’t be afraid to change plans, adjust expectations and ask for help. I’m super stubborn so this was a hard one for me, but the bottom line is if the parent is stressed out the kids aren’t going to have a good experience. Getting out there is important and valuable and even if things don’t go to plan remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and if the kids are having a good time and learning, that’s what’s important.
A big thank you to Stacie for all of her insight—you can follow her and her adventures on her blog here.
If you’re interested in contributing or being featured in our Journal, reach out to us at [email protected].