Even During COVID, Travel Opportunities Are All Around Us

You can still make your great escape if you open your mind

Wren Cabin — View from Cabin. Photo by Cabinscape.

For months now, my partner and I have been itching to get out of the house and go someplace new. Recurring stay-at-home orders have become commonplace over the past year, and the most recent one came to an end last week.

The government is slowly beginning to roll out its phased re-opening plan, but many stores, small businesses, restaurants, and other attractions that would normally be ramping up for a busy cottage season ahead remain closed or are running modified operations to adhere to Covid regulations.

With the typical range of summer travel options severely limited, it wasn’t easy to pick a destination, even just for a quick getaway. We both enjoy camping, but even the provincial park system here in Ontario currently isn’t allowing overnight stays.

So instead, we expanded our horizons and began searching for other ways to have a mini-adventure. And that’s when I remembered Cabinscape.

Look beyond your normal activities

Sometimes you just need to think outside the box a bit. Just because the typical activities aren’t possible in the current climate doesn’t mean there aren’t other options available.

If we couldn’t go camping, we could still spend some time alone in the woods in a tiny, eco-friendly cabin instead.

It’s a scientific fact that being in nature makes us happier and healthier. A quick escape to the woods is the ultimate form of medicine.
— Cabinscape

I first learned of this Canadian company a couple of years ago, and the concept behind their vision immediately drew me in. They wanted to build sustainable, off-grid cabins with all the comforts of home for people to get away from their normal lives for a short time and really experience the beauty and serenity of nature.

And that’s exactly what we wanted to do! With a contactless check-in system and no other souls anywhere in sight, a Cabinscape getaway was the perfect, Covid-safe solution for a much-needed change of scenery.

Combining the tiny house and off-grid movements

As much as I was looking forward to soaking up the peace and quiet of a remote cabin, I was also equally curious about the cabin itself.

With both the tiny house movement and the off-grid lifestyle gaining traction in recent years, I was intrigued by the idea of combining the two, which is essentially what Cabinscape has done.

I’ve never stayed in a tiny home that doubles as a cabin before, so this was going to be an entirely new and unique experience. We were both looking forward to ‘making our little great escape,’ as the Cabinscape slogan touts.

While I’m definitely interested in the concept of off-grid living and see the many benefits of moving to eco-friendly, renewable energy sources, I still have a lot to learn about what that actually looks like in practice.

That’s where Cabinscape comes in. As they say on their website,

We believe in living simply and sustainably. Our tiny cabins are completely off-grid, solar powered and ecologically responsible.

Tasting the off-grid lifestyle for ourselves

My partner and I have been talking about renewable energy sources for years, and he’s always said that when we build our house, he wants it to be off-grid to the fullest extent possible, with as little environmental impact as possible.

So while the idea behind sustainable living is familiar to me, I still didn’t know entirely what to expect. Our little cabin getaway would be my first real taste of the off-grid lifestyle, along with a lesson in how solar technology works.

And I have to say … I loved the experience!

The cabin was nestled in the woods behind a popular ski resort about a three-hour drive from home. It was completely private and sat upon a hill overlooking Calabogie Lake off in the distance. With big windows and a roll-up garage door, the view was gorgeous and the cabin felt light and airy.

With no running water and a compost toilet in the cabin we booked, it was a true wilderness experience—although a very comfortable one! Despite no flushing toilets, the bathroom was clean and odourless and all the water you’d need for hand-washing and cooking was provided. Outfitted with a queen bed, a mini-fridge, all the essentials for cooking, and all the dishes and utensils you might require, it was easy to settle in quickly and make ourselves at home.

Soaking up the sights and sounds of nature

We spent the next two days relaxing outside around the barbeque or firepit, talking, planning our future, and trying some local beers from Calabogie Brewing Co. We could see the stars above us laying in bed at night, and fell asleep to the symphony of sounds coming from the birds and insects outside the cabin.

Even though we hadn’t planned on it, we also ended up hiking to the top of Dickson Mountain, Ontario’s tallest mountain. In the off-season, the ski trails of Calabogie Peaks Resort become a playground for off-roading ATVers and dirt bikers looking for an adventure. The incline was so steep in some places that I wanted to stop several times, but Aaron convinced me to keep going. Huffing and puffing, I made my way up the 780-foot elevation.

When we finally reached the top, the incredible view of the lake and the valley below made it all worth it. Rolling hills covered in a sea of green trees stretched as far as I could see in every direction. Of course, at that point I was glad I hadn’t given up.

You never know what adventures await when you escape to the forest. Nature has a way of enchanting you with its breathtaking beauty, wide array of colours, and noisy-yet-comforting symphonies. All you have to do is decide to go, and the possibilities for discovery are unleashed.

Luxury comes in many forms

Sometimes all you really need to clear your head and reset your soul are a couple of days spent in nature, and this mini getaway was perfect for that.

Even though we were in a 128-square-foot cabin with nothing but rocks and trees (and a TON of tent caterpillars!) surrounding us, it somehow still felt like luxury.

I loved experiencing the solitude and simplicity of being disconnected. It definitely solidified my interest in renewable energy sources and furthered my desire to have a self-sustaining property that runs in harmony with nature as much as possible.

This little 2-day vacation in our own backyard certainly wasn’t what I envisioned when I dreamed of getting away, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

International travel might seem more exciting and is likely much more exotic, but chances are your own country has plenty to offer—even in these modified times.

If you find that your original travel plans/dreams aren’t possible yet, try opening your mind to something new and different. Maybe you can still make your great escape a bit closer to home this year…and you might be pleasantly surprised!

Life is an adventure, and learning is never finished. Sharing insights, experiences, and lessons learned to inspire your curiosity and creativity.

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