Friday, August 22, 2014

My New Obsessions: Cabins & Unplugging

It's possible that I have a new addiction, one for which I have no intention of ever seeking recovery. My name is Christy, and I'm addicted to cabins. Small, quaint, beautiful cabins tucked away in unassuming villages in the mountains. 

You may remember that a few months back, Daniel and I went on a spur of the moment trip to a cottage in a town called Accord in upstate New York. Last week, we got that same familiar itch to escape for a bit, so we packed up only the essentials and drove to Camp Tremper, a quiet oasis that I had discovered on AirBnb just one day before. That's her up there with the red door. Ain't she a beaut?

Our reasons for this trip were many, but let's get to those in a bit. First take a look at our digs (apologies for the grainy picture quality):

Crates used as side tables, shelves equipped with camping essentials, a simple decorative rug, and that was basically it. I loved the sparse nature of this cabin, providing only what was needed. Minimalism is a design element that I rarely incorporate into my own home decor. My design aesthetic usually involves shelves stacked high with too many books, walls covered in trinkets from too many trips to flea markets, cat pictures, dinosaurs, unplayed guitars, paintings I started and never finished, and awkward furniture to bump my knees on.

That's the usual chaos I welcome into my home, so this empty cabin kind of felt like being pulled from the rubble of a hoarder nightmare. It was simple and splendid, as was this sweet spot where we ate breakfast every day:

We woke up naturally each morning, no alarms or roosters or anything to rouse us. I would be up first to make some coffee in a french press (a thing I don't do at home, but I really want to start) and plate some pastries that we had gotten at a local bakery the day before. When Daniel woke up, I beamed with pride as I told him that breakfast was waiting for him on the porch, as though I had slaved away refining the flour and churning the butter to make these store-bought pastries possible. 

After breakfast, we would set about either relaxing or pursuing creative endeavors. Daniel made zucchini pizzas. I wrote a story about a man who finds himself in a far away galaxy on a planet in which nearly every convention of earth is replicated except that there are giant caterpillars living on top of mountains. 

And then after all of that, we would explore.

We went to a nearby town called "Woodstock", famous for some something that happened in the 1960s. Something to do with music, peace & love, or whatever. Who even knows anymore.

At the end of each day, we would come home to our little nature haven, cook a simple dinner, drink a great deal of wine, and play a game. The first night it was Trivial Pursuit, a version from 1980 that our AirBnb hosts had provided. We knew almost none of the answers, and it was hilarious. The next night we tried to invent a game called "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" but all we could come up with was the title. Again, we'd had some wine.

So why did we take this trip? Why did we feel compelled to leave New York City suddenly, smack dab in the middle of the week, to drink wine and play Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves? Well, for one thing, we did it because we could do it. Daniel has been on summer break, and of course, freelance life is always pretty flexible on my end. A last-minute trip to a cabin in the mountains seemed totally doable for us. But the main reason for this trip, at least for me, was a bit more personal, a bit more intentional than just wanting to take a fun vacation.

Here's the deal: lately I have just been feeling a bit anxious. It's a specific kind of anxiety, though, one that is all tied up with life in the digital world. My laptop, my phone, Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, even blogging -- it's all been making me kind of sick. I'm feeling way too plugged in, too connected, too notified. 

While I know that cyber sickness is not uncommon, this has just been a surprisingly difficult season of it. Instead of being amused by my Twitter feed or my notifications, I've been finding myself rather alarmed by them. It's not just that there is bad news out there right now (though seriously, these past two weeks have been a shit storm of horrific news). It's more that I've just felt this unnerving pressure associated with all of it. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the fact that I've been writing weekly culture pieces, and to prep, I scour Twitter for content to write about. I feel like a zombie in an obsessive search for one human brain in a sea of the undead. Twitter is a really weird place guys. 

Whatever the case, last week I just got really fed up with the Internet and my life's connection to it. We went to the mountains, I shut off my phone, and you know what, I could breathe again.

My mind is still pretty unprocessed about this whole thing. These days, I seem to only be able to think in caveman-like grunts: Social media BAD, mountains GOOD, phone NECESSARY, computer ALSO NECESSARY. While exploring mountain life with my hubs was an awesome refresher, it wasn't a totally realistic picture of my actual life. For me, in my line of work, in doing this thing that I am so very lucky to be able to do, having an online presence is just an inevitability. I need to strike a healthy balance.

Perhaps if you are reading this, you might be thinking that this is all kind of silly. I mean, who cares, right? Shut off your computer when it's making you stressed, and stop worrying so much, geez. 

And I wish it could be that simple, and maybe it is, but I am just not there yet. That's why, at the very least, I'm thankful for AirBnb, mountains, and Camp Tremper.

Do you ever get social media sickness? How do you handle it?


  1. Girl. I am so right there with you. I manage 8 different Facebook pages, as well as multiple Pinterests, Twitters and Instagram so I'm literally on social media all the time for work. I know too much about the world and some of the people in it. It's a scary place with A LOT of weird people. I don't blame you for wanting to get away and disconnect.

  2. Christy! I love that cabin, what a good AirBnB find! *high five* This post is also super inspiring. I saw Arianna Huffington speak in Austin last year and she was talking about the process of "turning off." I was so inspired by her "phone turn off" and "nap" talk, I tried it...but only lasted a hour. I really want to make turning off and disconnecting from social media, my phone, email, etc., a weekly practice, but I struggle b/c of work and my obsession of being "plugged in" for work and let's face it for personal reasons too.

    Thanks for reminding me of the importance of changing up routine and taking time to not be so "connected!"

  3. Hmm I don't feel the need to "disconnect" very often because it honestly makes me anxious instead of relaxing! But I have been inspired to stay at a cabin recently and was delighted to find some day-trip lengths away at decent prices. I didn't think we could afford it but there are some cute little places for cheap! YOu guys look like you had such a good time! Relaxing, cooking, or "cooking" breakfast :P And exploring! Sounds perfect honestly.

  4. Oh I love Woodstock. Such a cute little town (village?). I went there once when I was visiting family in NY.

    I hope your relaxing get away has helped to make you more at peace and recharge your batteries. :)


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