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Guest Stories

A Getaway Texas Road Trip, Chapter 3: Getaway Piney Woods

Before getting to the cabin, we made a pit stop to smell the flowers at the East Texas Arboretum. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs and go for a stroll. It was one of those walks where we didn’t really know where we were going because we were so lost in conversation, but we didn’t care because we had each other — and no agenda. Syd studied botany in college, so she had endless plant facts that kept us both entertained, educated, and reminded me why friendship is a beautiful learning experience.

We slowly made our way over to Getaway Piney Woods and stopped to talk to some cows along the way. Normally, we would have driven right past them, but this time we stopped and were in awe of cows because, why not? We met some donkeys along the way too, but they were significantly less interested in us, haha, but as they say, life isn’t about the destination but the journey, and our journey included some good ol’ moo cows.

We finally made our way to Getaway Piney Woods, where we drifted through the tall pines, rolled down the windows and let the fresh air rush in, cleansing our souls. That’s exactly what Getaway provides when you arrive, a sense of relief and bliss. 

After we got settled in our cabin, we threw some logs on the fire and grilled some hot dogs and had a drink. It’s the simplicity of sitting around a fire with your best friend that makes you realize what’s important in life. This trip continued to remind us of this.

Syd and I woke on our last day to some rain, but rain or shine we decided to make the most of our time and decided to get our blood pumping by swinging through the trees. We took the advice of the Getaway Journal and went to New York, Texas Zipline Adventures. We were greeted by some friendly pups who rushed to say hello and a friendly staff that helped us into our harnesses, which was a breeze. This was going to be the first time I ziplined, so I was a bit nervous, but Syd reassured me it would be a good time. I can now say, she was completely right; it was exhilarating. Overlooking the beautiful Texas landscape in helmets and harnesses, our rainy day turned out to be quite the dream.

Texas is big and beautiful, that’s why there are endless songs of its sky, lifestyle, and appeal. Getting to bounce around from one tiny cabin to another isn’t what I pictured for my 2020, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Taking the back roads through the state we grew up in and stopping to see new parks, mooing at the cows, and having a drink by the fire was something I needed more than I knew. People usually want to escape to somewhere much further than where they grew up to remind them of what it feels like to be alive. But things were different this year. If anything, it solidified the importance of adventure everywhere: in your home state, in your backyard, in your everyday life. I found a deep satisfaction in taking time to be present, to be at peace, and I couldn’t be more grateful for our journey. Slowing down and appreciating the Texas landscape was a highlight of my 2020 and getting to spend the quality time with Sydney in these cabins is something I’ll treasure forever.

I realized the importance of stepping away from our day-to-day to hop in the car and take off to a tiny cabin in the woods with a friend – it is NECESSARY for your mental health, for your perspective, for your sense of being and belonging in the world. From the moment we headed out, our conversation moved from the car, to putting our things in the cabin, locking our cell phones away and starting up the fire. You don’t realize how stepping into nature with one of your favorite humans is truly a top-of-the-line therapy session.

Waking up to the natural sunlight peeking through the blinds, no phone alarm going off, and the biggest worry being if you should have one or two cups of coffee, is an extremely valuable feeling. People often forget to slow down and take time to spend with friends and family, so having a respite like this reminds you what is truly important in life.

Apart from all of the time we had together ziplining, reminiscing, brainstorming business ideas, sharing all our pipe-dreams, and being absurd, silly, and free, we were also able to have some time to read, take walks, and spend some time alone. It’s those quiet moments that allow you to take a deep breath that allow you to feel like you are coming back to your body. Feeling the comfort of a down blanket fall over you and the stress fall off your shoulders — this is exactly what we went out there for. As much as Syd and I love a good adventure and causing a ruckus, we really appreciated the time to slow down and enjoy what was around us. We grew a deeper need to prioritize what makes us feel alive rather than what simply gets us through the day.

How often do we make the effort to go spend meaningful time with a friend in nature? Not enough. I can confidently say that creating a road trip through the Texas Getaways was one of our best decisions. It combined the solitude of nature, comfort of the cabins, and adventure of the journey in between.

Ready for your own road trip? Book your first stop at Getaway today.

Guest Stories

A Getaway Texas Road Trip, Chapter 2: Getaway Brazos Valley

We arrived at our second stop on our Getaway journey, and were again welcomed by a clean and comforting cabin. So often there’s the stress of not knowing what the sleeping arrangements will be, but the simplicity of the Getaway cabin was so wonderful to have on this journey. Knowing that we were stepping into a space that was cleaned and cared for removed any additional stress, especially in COVID times. The freshness of the room, warmth of the wooden walls, and the luxury of modern amenities complemented the wilderness beyond our window.

We immediately headed over to Washington on the Brazos, where the Texas independence was signed, and enjoyed the feeling of being engulfed by trees older than the world we’ve known. We were both very impressed by this stop, and were delighted by the reprieve from a long drive.

After a peaceful walk, we headed back to the cabin and decided to continue with the newness with a stop at the WildFlyer Mead Company. This was our first taste of Mead and honestly, we knew nothing of it other than it came from honey! Syd and I decided on the flight so we could have a well-rounded experience without missing any of their unique flavors! The owners seemed like old friends and were excited to teach us about a craft we didn’t understand. I can earnestly say some were delicious and others were not my cup of tea, but nonetheless, the experience of sitting outside, watching the setting sun, feeling like fireflies would erupt in a symphony at any moment, and sharing a new drink with your bestie was, well, the best!

Syd and I spent a good amount of time at the cabin, listening to music, reading books long sitting on our shelves, playing card games we’d almost forgotten, cooking a smorgasbord, making fires, and laughing at the nonsense of our own making. It was refreshing to not feel like we had to be somewhere, but rather we could slow down and enjoy the beauty of East Texas. For us, there were subtle differences in the beauty around us. The trees were taller, dropping pine cones instead of pecans. The soil was sandy and soft, less like the tough, rocky limestone dirt we had come from. There was a different sound to the night. Just recalling the peace of those nights, I’m aware of our usual stresses dissolving much like they did on our trip. We are pretty used to roughing it, which feels like the norm being surrounded by nature, so the fact we had a comfy bed, warm shower, and fridge to keep our beer cold was a real treat, and we didn’t want to leave. 

Need an escape with those who matter most? Book your Getaway today.

Features | Guest Stories

A Getaway Texas Road Trip, Chapter One: Getaway Hill Country

My best friend Sydney and I left the hustle and bustle of Austin’s city limits and glided to our Hill Country retreat. There was an immediate sense of relief, going from cars honking to the sound of cicadas. Driving through Texas Hill Country is a magical feeling. There’s something truly dreamy about a sunny Texas day and Willie Nelson on the radio. Home to the seemingly never-ending fields of bluebonnets, Hill Country is a place you want to set up a homestead and stay forever. Luckily, we were en route to our first of three dreamy stops on our Texas adventure. 

The two of us lived together all of college, but this was the first time we did a trip like this. COVID played a big part, halting all of our extravagant travel plans, just like the rest of the world’s.Typically, we’d wander to a new part of the country, getting as far away from home as possible. But instead, we made an adventure out of the place we’ve always called home, TEXAS! 

After making a stop at the local HEB to pick up some essentials, like the HEB chicken salad (highly recommend), winding through streets lined with old oak trees, we finally arrived at our destination. We drove down a dusty road and to be welcomed by a beautiful cabin. We spent the evening playing cards and catching up before pulling down the shades and closing our eyes. 

Syd and I were really looking forward to the Austin location since we both grew up less than an hour away. We were eager to explore an area that has always been in our backyard, but we never got the chance to really appreciate. There’s a mysticism in escaping to a place you’ve always known, to discover the serenity of a landscape untouched by citydwellers — trading skyscrapers for creek beds, takeout food for a fire-cooked meal, and traffic for tranquility.

We spent a couple days relaxing at the cabin, hiking, checking out Old Baldy Trail, and making the most of the present moment. We enjoyed winding our way down Devils Backbone, eating our way through our snacks, and sharing the jokes and stories we needed to catch up on.

2020 proved to be an all-encompassing year for many people; a year that catapulted trial, change, growth, sadness, and newness… The list goes on, but getting to step away from the stresses of everyday life, going o a cabin in the woods with one of your best friends is a true dose of medicine. The decision to make time to grow in our friendship and slow down is something we both will be more happy we did, not only today, but 50 years from now. 

We were sad to pull away from our cabin but thrilled we were on our way to our next Getaway outside of Houston.

Need an escape with those who matter most? Book your Getaway today.

Features | Partnerships

A Spring Reading List with BookSparks

Spring is in full swing and there are so many new releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on! From chilling new thrillers to oh-so-sweet YA romances, Spring is filled with exciting releases that we can’t wait to add to our TBR pile. 

One Got Away by SA Lelchuk

Private-investigator Nikki Griffin’s life code is to protect women from dangerous, abusive men, and Nikki can’t turn away from her latest case. She is enlisted by a matriarch of a wealthy San Francisco family to find the con-man who robbed them of their money. However, as she works, she discovers that she was not told the full truth and is put in danger in the process. Nikki must decide who to save, as well as how to save herself in this situation.

Game of Cones by Abby Collette

Bronwyn Crewse is currently in charge of her family’s old ice cream shop and has worked hard to restore the shop to its former glory. However, all of her hard work is being threatened by a big city developer who plans on building a mall in its place. But when Bronwyn’s closest friend soon discovers the developer’s body, she is immediately considered the top suspect in his murder. To make matters worse, Bronwyn’s aunt is in town, threatening to take ownership away from her. She must work hard to prove her friend’s innocence while defending her family’s shop. 

For All She Knows by Jamie Beck

Grace and Mimi have been friends since their children were toddlers, forming an unexpected bond. However, when tragedy strikes Grace’s teenage son after a party it creates a deep community rift. The afterparty chaos threatens both of the women in different way. Grace’s seemingly perfect marriage is falling apart, and Mimi’s business is struggling, and her custody agreement is affected. Along with this, a young cop enters Mimi’s life, which causes Grace to be jealous of the prospect of new love. Will Mimi and Grace learn how to forgive, or will they lose everything?

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before meets One of Us is Lying, Quinn’s life is held together by her journal – crushes, to-do’s, boys – it’s all there. But when someone snags the book and makes a scathing Instagram post in Quinn’s honor, she must race against her blackmailer, time, and her most vivid nightmares with the help of the last person to see her journal – Carter Bennett – in order to get her privacy back. Little does Quinn know that she may just find some romance along the way.

The Sound Between the Notes by Barbara Linn Probst

Susannah was a gifted pianist until she put her dream on hold to be a mom to her son sixteen years ago. She wanted to guarantee that her son would not go through what she did as an adopted child. When Susannah is given a second chance at returning to the stage, she is determined to get back in the spotlight. However, when she learns that she has a progressive hereditary disease that impacts her playing fingers, Susannah is sent deep back into her memories. She must face herself and truly figure out where her place is in the world. 

The Marvelous Mirza Girls by Sheba Karim 

If you’ve binged Gilmore Girls before, The Marvelous Mirza Girls should definitely be on your summer TBR list. Post senior-year and amid the loss of a relative, Norine decides that a gap year and a trip to New Dehli with her mom are just what she needs. What she isn’t expecting: Kabir. She finds herself quickly falling for his charm and sense of adventure, but when dark family secrets begin to unveil themselves, Norine must figure out how to stand by Kabir or set boundaries in love.

The Ladies of the Secret Circus by Constance Sayers

In 2005, Lara Barnes’ fiancé disappears before their wedding without a trace. As she looks for answers and clues for his whereabouts, Lara picks up her great-grandmother’s journals. The pages are filled with stories of the women in her family through the years and the curse that has been placed on them. She is immersed in the story of Cecile Cabot and her family’s magical secret circus set in Paris 80 years prior. This story is filled with mystery, deadly magic, and tragic romance and is perfect for fans of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia 

In present day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction and her mother Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, is still grappling with her displacement and trying to keep her daughter on the right path. Jeanette, desperate to learn more about her family history, decides to go to Cuba to see her grandmother but secrets from the past are sure to erupt. A Good Morning America Book Club pick, Of Women and Salt is a captivating must-read debut.

When We Were All Still Alive by Keith McWalter

Conrad is a successful attorney, father, and husband who is nearing the slower part of his life. He lost his first wife to youth and pride, and married his second wife a few years later, happiness to ensue. However, tragedy strikes when his second wife passes due to a violent and sudden accident. Conrad finds that he still has a story to tell in his already long life and has many lessons to learn from his past loves, especially from the woman he can’t live without. 

Permission to Dream by Chris Gardner

From the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir and major motion picture The Pursuit of Happyness comes a timeless and timely manifesto for turning dreams into action. Within the story, Chris and his granddaughter set off on a journey into a foreboding Chicago neighborhood to find the harmonica of her dreams. Still grappling with his girlfriend’s passing, Chris knows just how short life can be and he is determined to reclaim his permission to dream again, while also inspiring his granddaughter to manifest her dreams. 

Prohibition Wine by Marian Leah Knapp

Based on the true story, Prohibition Wine is a story about Rebecca Goldberg, a Jewish immigrant from the Russian Empire who decides to do whatever it takes to provide for her children after losing her husband. In order to care for her six children alone, Rebecca starts to sell fresh eggs to her friends and family in Boston. However, as Prohibition started to roll out in 1920, she is suggested by one of her customers to start selling alcohol along with her eggs. She spends the next couple years being a part of illegal alcohol trade until she is brought in to speak before a judge about her sales, where her charges are dropped with the help of a former customer. Prepare to be sucked into the story of a woman whose business rocked headlines and made history. 

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee 

In Emery Lee’s adorable new novel, we meet Noah, a self-proclaimed romantic expert and blogger of trans happily-ever-afters. The only problem? He’s never experienced one himself. When a troll exposes his blog “Meet Cute Diary” as fake, Noah must find a way to prove that all of these love stories are true. Enter Drew, who is willing to fake-date Noah and give him the help he needs. But when Noah’s feelings grow larger than their façade, he realizes that falling in love is a lot harder than his fantasies made it out to be.

Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey

While researching for her most recent article about abandoned frozen embryos, Amelia discovers something that hits closer to home than she expected. One of the abandoned embryos that she’s investigated belongs to her childhood best friend, Parker, and his late wife, Greer. Amelia decides to reach out to her old friend to tell him about this discovery, opening up old wounds in the process. After finding out, Parker decides to find a surrogate and raise the child on his own. While staying at their childhood home, Buxton Beach, they overcome their own individual grief together and find family in each other again.

The Dating Plan by Sara Desai 

A Marie Claire Book Club Pick, The Dating Plan follows software engineer, Daisy Patel who asks her childhood crush, Liam, to play her decoy fiancé to keep her family happy. Liam, a venture capitalist, just learned his inheritance is contingent on being married…The pair go on a series of dates to legitimatize their fake relationship, but when real sparks fly they realize there is nothing convenient about their arrangement. Will Daisy be able to overlook Liam breaking her heart nine years ago?

Perfect Daughter by DJ Palmer

Grace and her husband found Penny abandoned in the park years ago and took her in as their own. As the years went on, Penny’s different “personalities” emerged, bringing forth disturbing behavior. Convinced it is severe multiple personality disorder, Grace takes Penny to psychiatrist Dr. Mitch McHugh who discovers Abigail inside of Penny. After Penny is locked in a psychiatric ward for murder, Grace is convinced that there is something more to this murder and her motivations. She and Dr. McHugh work together to prove that Abigail is the key to figuring out Penny’s past as well as the murder that was committed.

Anna K Away by Jenny Lee 

Anna K lives every Manhattan girl’s dream life. She’s never been the typical teenage girl. Until she crosses paths with Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central Station, that is. The two are polar opposites – Alexia the notorious, transatlantic playboy and Anna, prim, proper and put together. But the two have one key thing in common – neither one had ever been in love before they met the other. But when an earthshattering event rocks their relationship, Anna must question not only everything she knows about Alexia, but also everything she knows about herself.

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertali

Best friends Kate and Garfield have always done everything together, from joining the musical to having the same crushes on different guys. To them, having a shared crush is fun and is enjoyable to discuss from afar. However, when their most recent crush, Matt Olsson, shows up at their high school, Kate and Anderson realize that they both have feelings for him. Suddenly, having a crush on the same guy is no longer fun and their friendship is threatened. Kate and Anderson must work together to save their friendship but also make it through the drama of it all.

When Stars Rain Down by Angela Jackson-Brown

Set in 1936 Parson, Georgia, When Stars Rain Down follows Opal Pruitt during an unsettling summer. She wants desperately to be carefree and spend time with her cousins and friends, but her whole community are shaken when the Ku Klux Klan descends on her town. Everyone is soon forced to acknowledge the unspoken codes of conduct in their town and to make matters more complicated, Opal finds herself caught between two love interests. This novel is timely, powerful, and something everyone should pick-up this Spring.

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Sunflower Sisters follows Caroline Ferriday’s ancestor, Georgeanna Woosley, as she travels to join the Union work force to prove her worth in the nursing field. She eventually crosses paths with Jemma, an enslaved woman on the Peeler Plantation who takes her chance to escape while reluctantly leaving her family behind. Meanwhile, Anne-May, the mistress of the Peeler Plantation, joins a secret Southern spy unit while she is left alone while her husband joins the Union Army. The story is inspired by the true, brutal events that took place during the Civil War. 

When We Were Infinite by Kelly Loy Gilbert

Beth will do anything to keep her closest friends, those she sees as family, together for as long as they can. She is dedicated to help them in any way, especially Jason, who she has had a crush on for a while now. However, after Beth witnesses domestic abuse at Jason’s home, the friend group agrees to do whatever it will take to protect Jason from further harm. Life changing choices are considered, and Beth must decide how much she is willing to help and give up for the sake of her friends. 

Ready to escape into nature with your next favorite read? Book your Getaway today.

Reflections

I’m Not “Spending Time” Anymore

I’ve been thinking about the language we use to describe our relationship to time. We spend time. We invest time. If we’re foolish, we waste time; if we’re wise, we budget it. And of course, we long for free time. Notice a theme? 

“Time is money,” Benjamin Franklin wrote back in 1748. The famously industrious Franklin didn’t have much use for relaxation, warning that the worker who “goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that day” isn’t just losing the money he spends, but the money he could have made if he’d chosen to work instead. 

As the journalist Kyle Chayka points out, Franklin was writing at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. With advances in manufacturing, workers were moving out of their homes and into factories, where “time became money” as they were paid for their hours on the clock rather than the goods they produced.  

Politicians and economists alike predicted that as labor became more efficient, working hours would decrease, allowing more time for leisure. In 1910, President Taft recommended that every American be entitled to 2–3 months’ vacation in order to resume the next year’s work with “energy and effectiveness.” In 1930, observing that “technical improvements in manufacture and transport have been proceeding at a greater rate in the last ten years than ever before in history,” the influential British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that “in our own lifetimes…we may be able to perform all the operations of agriculture, mining, and manufacture with a quarter of the human effort to which we have been accustomed.” 

Soon enough, Keynes believed, we’d become so efficient at providing for everyone’s basic needs that our workdays would shrink to three hours at most. With fifteen-hour workweeks, mankind would then have to confront “his permanent problem… how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.” 

Keynes was absolutely correct that in the decades to follow, advances in technology, transportation, and manufacturing would grow the global economy many times over. But as almost anyone in the workforce in 2021 knows all too well, his prediction of the 15-hour workweek proved wildly off the mark. It turned out that global enterprise was far more interested in the perpetual drive toward productivity and profit than in “meeting everyone’s basic needs so we can all relax and enjoy an incredible bounty of leisure time.” Today, as we seek out life hacks and productivity apps to squeeze the most out of every minute, it seems we’ve collectively bought into the idea that time is money (and we never have enough of either). 

What if instead of thinking of time as a currency, we thought of it as a natural resource? What if, instead of thinking of time as something to spend (or waste, or budget, or maximize), we thought of it as something to experience

Imagine time like water. We need to use some amount of water for our sustenance and survival: we ingest it to keep ourselves hydrated and healthy; we wash with it to keep ourselves clean. But water is also the source of so many kinds of pleasure, whether it’s sinking down into a hot bath, canoeing down a river, or witnessing the beauty of a waterfall. Think about how different your experience of water is in each of these instances. 

Much like water, time is constantly changing shape and form. “Our experience of time varies with whatever we are doing and how we feel about it,” explain brain researchers James M. Broadway and Brittiney Sandoval. Twenty minutes can feel like hours when you’re stuck in conversation with a bore, but those same twenty minutes might feel like mere seconds when you’re racing against a deadline. 

“Time does fly when we are having fun,” the researchers say. But that same fun activity will appear to lengthen in time when we recall it later on. This is because of the way the brain encodes memories, registering novel experiences while skipping over familiar or routine ones. “Our retrospective judgment of time is based on how many new memories we create over a certain period,” Broadway and Sandoval explain. “In other words, the more new memories we build on a weekend getaway, the longer that trip will seem in hindsight.”

No matter whether you feel like you’re wasting, saving, minimizing, maximizing, or spending time, you are always experiencing time, all the time. It turns out that if you really want to feel rich in time, the solution isn’t to hack it or try squeezing more productivity from it. Instead, it’s to fill your life with new experiences—ideally experiences that surprise and delight you, that capture your attention and imagination, that your brain will convert into the memories that will become the story of your life. 

As the poet Mary Oliver famously wrote: 

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Ready to experience some time in nature? Book your Getaway today.

Features | Reflections

My Love Letter to Jimmy Buffett

When I find myself run down and stressed out, when I really need to get out of my head for a little while, I call on the wisdom of a guru whose voice has been ringing in my head for my whole life: Jimmy Buffett. 

Yes, that Jimmy Buffett, the barefoot, Hawaiian-shirt wearing, guitar-strumming beach bum who gave us the slogan “it’s five o’clock somewhere” and is best known for songs about cheeseburgers and piña coladas. I grew up in Minnesota on a lake that fed into the Mississippi River, and Buffett was a mainstay on the soundtrack of my childhood: I can clearly remember pulling his classic “White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean” from my dad’s homemade cassette rack to bring along on boat rides and road trips. 

Buffett fans call themselves Parrotheads, and for the most part, they look the way you’d expect them to—like Buffett himself, which is to say, white Boomers with deep tans and a penchant for bright floral beachwear. There have been recent reports about Buffett’s growing popularity with Gen Z, though writer Kayla Kibbe notes that “ardent young Buffett lovers tend to approach their fandom with a level of generationally on-brand irony.” 

To be clear, I unironically love Jimmy Buffett. I can’t tell you whether his music is objectively good or bad, only that it’s been etched into my consciousness, and that listening to it always brings me peace and comfort. My happy place is a hot bath with a Jimmy Buffett album on in the background. Is that uncool? Maybe, but so what? It brings me joy. 

If you’re not a fan or haven’t given Buffett much thought, you might be tempted to dismiss him as a frozen-cocktail-loving nihilist–the guy who’s “wasting away in Margaritaville” and makes such subtle suggestions as “why don’t we get drunk and screw?” And yes, those are his real lyrics. But to me, what’s at the heart of the Jimmy Buffett ethos isn’t margaritas (or daiquiris or piña coladas)–it’s time

Most Jimmy Buffett songs take place in the sun-drenched, leisurely present, with a light breeze coming off the ocean. No one is ever in a rush—or if they are, they’re longing to escape the daily grind, dreaming of simple pleasures like watching the sunset or getting caught in the rain. The songs revel in the satisfaction of small moments when not much is happening. Just be, Jimmy Buffett seems to be telling us. Hang out here and pay attention to your senses. How does the sand feel between your toes? How delicious is this cheeseburger? 

In 1975, as a young, mustachioed Jimmy Buffett was touring with his Coral Reefer Band, the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term “flow state” to describe the experience of being fully immersed in the present moment. When you’re in a flow state, Csikszentmihalyi says, you’re “completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one…Your whole being is involved.” When musicians and athletes talk about being “in the zone,” this is what they mean. 

I don’t know if Csikszentmihalyi had a “enjoying a cold beer on the beach while gazing out at the horizon” in mind when he developed his theory of flow (I’m guessing probably not), but speaking from my own experience, I can report that moments like these are when I tend to feel most open and creative, when my brain stops buzzing enough to let quieter ideas take shape. Those relaxed, fully present moments have given me the space to come to a clearer understanding of who I am, what I value, and how I want to relate to the world around me. 

With New York City only just emerging from feet of snow, beer on the beach still feels like a distant dream. But I have my bathtub and my Jimmy Buffett albums, and that’s good enough for now. 

Ready to plan some free time in nature? Book your Getaway today.

Features | Partnerships

WYLD Leadership’s Guide to A Reflective Solo Escape to Nature

WYLD’s mission is to draw out the unique greatness in people (fun fact, we wrote our mission statement on a team Getaway!). Through a blend of behavioral sciences, ancient wisdom, and the study of nature, we help you examine and craft a purposeful career and a life well-lived. 

If we want well-being and success in our personal and professional lives, we must intentionally design the way we spend our time, use our talents, and design our territory (environments). A Getaway in a dreamy cabin in nature feels like the perfect opportunity to reflect on this.

TIME

We believe time is our most precious resource. And yet it’s often the resource that feels most scarce and mismanaged. So, let’s look outside our cabin window; what can we learn from nature on how to use time more wisely? How does nature pace itself through the day, month, and season? The late cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien reminds us if you look closely, everything in nature moves at a medium to slow pace. Nature trusts herself and the rhythm of beginnings and endings. Cheetahs (the fastest land animals) sleep most of the day, and plants often look like the embodiment of time standing still… until the moment comes to hunt or blossom. This intentional burst of energy is short, sharp, and succinct. Then it’s back to energy restoration. 

A great way to manage our days, especially when we are living at work and in the monotony of quarantine, is to create micro rituals to focus our mind, body, and heart.  

How you start your day is how you end your day… What is the pace of your typical morning?

We love to begin the day with a clear intention: How do you want to show up today? What three things do you want to complete?

As you wind down at night, how can you close out the day with gratitude? What did you learn today? What went well? 

What one or two items on your daily to-do list require a zero to 60mph Cheetah-like sprint? How can you be more disciplined and selective about how you use that finite burst of energy?

What two to 10 minute rituals can you incorporate into your morning routine and moments throughout the day to create intentional time to rest and recover? 

TALENT

We lean on Gallup’s 40+ years of research on workplace engagement to guide many of our WYLD experiences. CliftonStrengths is a behavioral assessment tool designed to reveal the pathways of our brain and personality. Our innate talents are tied to what gives us energy, our productivity, and our well-being. We highly recommend taking this assessment, but you can also reflect on Gallup’s 5 Clues to Talent as a strong starting point. 

  1. Yearning – What are you naturally pulled towards? Imagine you are given one month to spend in any way your soul desires (in a post-COVID world with no limitations to do whatever you wish). How would you spend your time? This could be something you’ve never done before! Exclude any “shoulds,” a.k.a. “I should organize the garage.”
  2. Satisfaction – What brings you immense joy? What activities can you do again and again? While yearning is like a fox who orients himself toward a scent (attraction), satisfaction is like a dolphin who never tires of playing in the waves (enjoyment).
  3. Rapid Learning – What subjects or tasks do you pick up quickly? What do you do well without needing much (if any) guidance? These are things that come naturally to you.
  4. Glimpses of Excellence – What are you known for? What activities do others want you to do more of? When we are in our purpose and using our talent, others applaud us, and we feel a sense of mastery.
  5. Flow – What activities create a sense of timelessness for you, where you almost lose yourself in the doing of something? These activities are those where you “get carried away”;  they engage your full focus and attention with pleasure.

TERRITORY

The territory within (our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations) and the territory around us (our environments and support systems) are essential drivers of our well-being. These spaces have the ability to drain or recharge our energy. 

INTERNAL TERRITORY: 

Our thoughts have more power than we often give them credit for. According to Dr. Alia Crum, our mindsets create our reality. Her extensive research on the impact of our thoughts teaches us that our perception of things like what we eat, our stress levels, and our physical activity actually influences our health. If we simply think about exercising, we are more physically fit than if the thought never crossed our minds.

The first step to shifting our thoughts patterns is to simply notice them.    

For the next few hours, track your thoughts… is the tone and nature of your thoughts primarily negative or positive? What patterns do you notice from that inner director? Remember that it is not about staying positive all the time, but rather about becoming a more conscious observer.

Step two is to put those thoughts running in the background into words. We say “name it to tame it” because we know that the articulation of our feelings brings us back into balance.

Use an existing anchor in your day (shower time, a standing meeting, dinner prep) to do an emotional temperature check. Before, during or after this “anchor,” write down or say out loud what you’re feeling. Notice your physical reaction (breath, heart rate, muscle tension, etc). 

Step three is to come up with simple strategies to intentionally create a more positive reality.

What people, places, things, songs, hobbies, rituals, etc. help you let go of any self-deprecating thoughts and shift into more positive thought patterns? Meditation and breathwork really work for us!

EXTERNAL TERRITORY: 

While our thoughts affect us from the inside out, our environments and relationships impact us from the outside in. During COVID, many of us have spent exponentially more time at home either alone or with a select few. The subconscious ways we used to be swayed by these people and spaces are now bubbling to the surface. What insights have you uncovered and what action steps have you already taken to create more supportive external territories? 

Intentionally cultivating our relationships:

Reflect on the way you spend your time with those you are in regular contact with. Maybe COVID has brought you closer together, or maybe it has exposed wounds in need of healing. Think about the quality of your communication… are you clearly articulating what you need from each other (share what you uncovered from steps two and three above!)? How can you more intentionally show up for one another?

What is one ritual you can introduce to recharge your relationships to make them even more supportive? One we love, from the Gottman Love Lab, is called Highlight, Hero, Hardship, Help — every day, ask a loved one what the highlight of their day was, what the hardship of the day was, who / what was their hero, and how can you help them?

Strategically designing our environments:

Our brains think in categories. How can you design your space to better address your specific needs? Do you have different set-ups or areas for play, work, and relaxation time? If your bedroom is also your office, what small changes can you make to create an energizing environment during the day and a calming space at night that allows you to shift out of work mode? 

How can you take inspiration from Getaway to create more space to rest, reflect, and recover in your own home? Is there a nook that can be designed for this purpose? 

“For me, the door to the woods is the door to the temple.”

Mary Oliver

Make sure to follow WYLD on Instagram to keep up with their team. Interested in trying out the WYLD experience yourself? Email them at [email protected] to get your session scheduled and they will match you with a coach that fits your professional and personal goals. Mention promo code WYLD20 for 20% off (this includes a CliftonStrengths code to take the behavioral assessment). A coaching session with a WYLD guide will be tailored to your self development needs, whatever you lead… a business, a family, a team, or your own self through the day, gift yourself the time and space to reflect and grow.

Ready to plan your next reset? Book your escape to nature today.

Campfire Cooking

Campfire Cooking: Campfire Pizza

We recently hosted Garianne Stable at Getaway Eastern Catskills in January, and during her stay she captured one of her favorite recipes from her trip: a sweet and salty campfire pizza. Read on for her recipe to recreate this delicious meal on your next escape to nature.

Campfire Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 bag dough sub gluten free dough if need be. You can also make your own dough if you’d like!
  • fig spread
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • fresh basil
  • prosciutto
  • honey
  • salt + pepper
  • butter or oil to grease the pan

Instructions

  • Grab a 10 inch Cast Iron Skillet
  • Butter or oil the base
  • After letting the dough rise, mold it into the cast iron skillet
  • Layer on the fig jam, sprinkle mozzarella cheese, place down prosciutto + basil leaves, and lastly drizzle with honey – feel free to add whatever spices you enjoy as well
  • Place on fire rack above the fire – cover with foil.
  • Let cook for about 15 minutes or until pizza looks fully done. Check it periodically and turn the cast iron often so all sides cook evenly
  • Enjoy!

For a sweet dessert to follow your pizza, head over to her blog for her Cast Iron Skillet Banana Bread recipe.

Feeling inspired to create your own campfire dishes? Book your Getaway today.