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Features | Reflections

January Reflections

There’s nothing like a “New Year, New You” email – or several – to jolt you into 2019. I must have received a hundred emails with that headline.

While there’s a lot to be said about taking time to reevaluate, to renew, and to replenish, it’s hard not to feel drowned in cliches. Especially when these temperatures drop down to freezing, and we all end up spending more time indoors and in our routines than outside getting replenished and re-energized.

January at Getaway

Quiet Place to Reflect

This month, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel about “experiences” in retail. Getaway might not seem like an obvious choice for discussing retail design, but I was happy to participate because it allowed me some beginning-of-the-year reflection to crystallize why I think what we’re doing matters to us, but more importantly, why it matters to you.

Much of the panel conversation was about the officially tired trend of corporate-designed “immersive” experiences. I can wax cynical on the distraction I think these spaces provide, but instead I was grateful for the experience to reflect and to advocate for what I think we’re doing differently.

We’re not here to give people a “Getaway experience” — Getaway exists so that you can unlock your own experiences, and live a little more deeply. It’s you, not us, that are creating the experience.

You can read more about that panel here, or feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s hoping for a little less distractedness, and a more deep experiences in 2019.

Be well,

Jon

Features | Reflections

December Reflections

The end of December always feels like a perfect mixture of reflection and anticipation. On the one hand, we’re looking back at the month and the year that was. What were our successes? What could we have improved?

On the other hand, we’re thinking about the promising year ahead. For us, there are new Outposts coming, the growth of the Getaway team, and new ways to make Getaway all the more special for our first time and repeat guests.

Cabin

To reflect on this month before we bite into the whole year, we announced and opened booking for Getaway Atlanta, our first home in the South. I’m particularly excited about this destination, because our friends in the South are often overlooked in conversations around the excesses of the city and the need for taking time. Our hope is that our Atlanta Outpost can provide our friends in The Big Peach the escape they deserve.

Taking a step back and looking at the year as whole, I’m proud of what Getaway has accomplished. We’ve added and announced new cabins and Outposts, allowing more people to find balance across the country. Our guests continue to amaze me with their dedication to taking time in nature to reset.

Those guests come to Getaway from so many places, near and far. When you book a Getaway, we ask our guests their reason for escaping. We’ve seen everything from people needing a break from their jobs, to a desire to reconnect with a partner, to the stress of transitioning, to most recently, someone eloping in our tiny cabins. Thanks to our guests for allowing us to share in their search for balance.

We put together this infographic to celebrate 2018. It was a year full of engagements, hiking trails, paw prints, s’mores and tranquility. Next year, you can expect more new Outposts, cities, trails, campfires, engagements, and more.

Thanks for being a part of Getaway. As always, if you have any feedback, feel free to get in touch.

Be well,

Jon Staff

Features | Reflections

July Reflections: Nature Camp, All The Time

I never went to summer camp as a kid, and I joke that starting this company is just a desperate attempt to make up for that void in my childhood. While I am sad I missed out on Capture the Flag and other classic camp games I hear stories about, I have little to complain about given that I grew up surrounded by nature on one of the first lakes on the Mississippi River.

The woods shouldn’t be a stamp on our passports, but rather a place we all have in our lives.

Hanging out at Storm King.

It is true that those long summers are emotionally linked to our goal of getting people into nature not just once, but on a regular basis. The woods shouldn’t be a stamp on our passports, but rather a place we all have in our lives. To this end, we’ve just released Getaway Often Packs to enable more frequent escapes, and which can be considered a kind of ‘woods’ membership to match your gym membership. More broadly, we’ve been pushing for the Right to Disconnect so we can have real time off every single day.

Trying to be true to these values, I spent a recent Sunday at Storm King, a 500-acre outdoor art center not far from our New York Outpost and highly recommend their combination of thought-invoking art and natural landscape. If you’re not near Storm King, here is a list of the best outdoor sculpture parks.

 

Reflecting on your feedback

I take the time to ask each guest who stays with us for some direct feedback — because constantly improving the Getaway experience is one of our highest commitments. This month, we read all of the 199 feedback emails we received. Here’s one that made me pause:

“Going into my stay at Theodore, I hadn’t been away from home in over 20 years. This was due to my 19 chronic diseases. I need to change both catheters and a wire going into my abdomen regularly. I never wanted to risk infection by being anywhere other than my white sterile bathroom at home. I felt scared of the repercussions and have suffered life-threatening infections even just doing it all at my home. I’m a complicated patient in many ways.  What I experienced at Theodore proved me wrong! It was incredible for me. I was able to reconnect with my former meditation; miraculous! And I proved myself wrong about my medical management abilities. A true gift!”

While we’re happy to receive so many powerful notes like the one above, we also get critical notes. As a result of some of the constructive feedback, we’re prioritizing improving our accessible cabins to make escapes to nature even more inclusive, keeping our cabin floors squeaky clean, and reinforcing quiet hours during summer nights. As always, if you have any ideas, tips, or suggestions for improvements, email us at [email protected].

To more time in nature—for all.

 

Be well,

Jon, CEO + Founder

 

WORTH THE TIME

Are You ‘Always Tired’? This piece ponders the millennial cult of exhaustion, news fatigue, and how we should all just get some more rest. Recommended by Casey on our tech team.

Forget FOMO, Meet JOMO —  Enjoy this new concept: the joy of missing out, which is all about disconnecting, opting out and being just fine where you are.  Recommended by Nick on our guest experience team.

New Study Reaffirms the Health Benefits of Nature — More confirmation to what we already knew: nature is an amazing antidote to our health issues and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, and high blood pressure.  Recommended by Cyrena on our marketing team.

Why You Need an Untouchable Day  – Meetings, push notifications, and distractions can truly kill a productive day, and thus cause work to spillover into your personal life. Here’s an argument for an ‘untouchable’ day. Recommended by Kai on our guest experience team.

 

Features | Reflections

June Reflections: Vacation Days + Disconnecting

Our company is about increasing the amount of balance in people’s lives, so whether I like it or not, I have to go on vacation to set a good example.

During my time off in June, I tried to truly disconnect. I hiked, I biked, I kayaked, I slept, I read Do Not Say We Have Nothing. I broke our “No email or Slack on vacation rule” just once to send the team a picture of me, with a beer, in the forest.

I tried to truly disconnect.

 

Muddy vacation legs.

It sounds idyllic. And it was, but the full truth is that even as the leader of a company about balance, I worry about taking time off. When I do take time off, I worry about fully disconnecting. What if the team needs me? What if our investors and partners think I am not committed? Will everyone work hard and make good decisions while I am gone?

The reality, of course, is that everything was fine. In fact, the team got more than usual done in my absence, including launching brand-new cabins at our DC Outpost. As importantly, I came back in a better mood, with new ideas, and a renewed commitment to our mission.

Reflecting on your feedback

As always, core to our mission is prioritizing the experience of Getaway above everything. To constantly improve, we listen to our guests and read 346 feedback emails this month. Here’s one that made me smile: “There was a moment right before sunset when my partner and I decided to take a walk: it almost felt like we were in an alternative universe.”

There was a moment right before sunset when my partner and I decided to take a walk: it almost felt like we were in an alternative universe.

When working on vacation or not taking a vacation at all seems to be the norm, to spend a day with nothing planned at all can feel a bit strange. But it’s a good reminder that an alternate universe where people take real breaks exists, and that it can become the norm rather than the exception.

Summer is now in full swing. What are you doing to make sure yours doesn’t get swallowed by the pings of push notifications and stresses of the city?

Be well,

Jon, CEO + Founder

 

ITEMS OF NOTE WORTH TAKING THE TIME FOR

Rethinking Your Out-of-Office Email — A lovely piece that proposes a solution to the working vacation issue: delete all of your emails while out on holiday and don’t look back.

To Control Your Life, Control What You Pay Attention To — Read these hacks on how to increase your productivity and improve your life by taking control of your environment, sleep and thoughts.

Sleep In This Weekend: It’s Good For You —  Speaking of sleep, if you’ve racked up a deficit, here’s the good news: you can make up for it by sleeping in on the weekends.

Features | Reflections

April Reflections

Having just celebrated Earth Day, many of us have been thinking about how much stuff is wasted. And while wasted stuff is a huge problem, I also found myself thinking about how much time is wasted. We scroll endlessly, we swipe, we tap, we watch stuff on Netflix we don’t even like. Most of it doesn’t leave us feeling good about ourselves.

That’s partially because ‘junk time,’ like junk food, squeezes out room for the more important things. If our time diet is filled with junk, we have less room to be creative, to think deeply, to actually connect, in reality, with our friends and family. And we’ll probably forget to make time to call our mothers (friendly reminder: Mother’s Day is coming up on May 13!).

ditch your device
Ditch Your Device. Photo by Michelle Watt.

By no means is all junk time nor everything on the internet a waste. Here are a few bright spots we loved spending time on this past month:

In addition to thinking about junk time, we’ve poured through all of our feedback emails, as usual—144 this month.

Here’s one that really moved us:

“My husband and I came here for some quiet time. Our jobs have been draining us lately and with each passing day, we are finding it increasingly more difficult to go through our 9 to 5 routine. Things are so difficult at work…I personally find myself almost crying every day and I can see the tiredness grow in my husbands’ eyes…you thought of every little detail from the books to the cell phone lockbox to the commitment page. BEYOND PERFECT, if there is such a thing, is what this weekend has been. Thank you for all that you’ve had to do and endure to make Getaway a reality. You will never know how much this place truly means to us now,”

Our jobs have been draining us lately and with each passing day, we are finding it increasingly more difficult to go through our 9 to 5 routine.

We were touched deeply by this note and relate all too well to a lack of work-life balance. Stories like these are why we’re on a mission to create a counterbalance to our lives not only at our tiny cabins, but in our own offices and homes, and hopefully in the everyday lives of our guests. More on this to come.

As we move into May, perhaps try to keep a list of how you spend your time. How much of it is ‘junk time’? How can you make an effort to spend more time on the things that really matter?

Below are a few links to things we’ve been thinking about lately. As always, feel free to get in touch if you have feedback or ideas.

Be well,

Jon, CEO + Founder

 

ITEMS OF NOTE WORTH TAKING THE TIME FOR

John Suhar
Photo by Zak Suhar.

Driven to Distraction — Cozy up in a chair to read this powerful essay by Rebecca Solnit that tackles what it means to live in an uber-connected society. “Even our ability to find our way through a given landscape has been outsourced to devices.”

Work-Life Balance as a Social Media Manager — Managing social media as a career can be a tough challenge for work-life balance. We speak with leaders from companies we admire from Headspace to Virgin to Away.

How Boredom Can Lead To Your Most Brilliant Ideas — Set aside a solid 16 minutes to watch this brilliant talk by Manoush Zomorodi on how being bored can spur your creativity.