Featured Image: (From left to right) JourneyWoman webmistress Melissa, publisher Carolyn, and editor Amanda are gearing up for #TravelatHome road trips across Ontario to seek out the Unknown. Even the clouds seem to be happy!
by Carolyn Ray, Publisher
Practicing Travel… at Home
Grounded from travel as we’ve been for months, many of us are feeling restless. Cranky. Bored. Annoyed. I’m with you. Having my international travel plans cancelled and restricted makes me feel powerless. In limbo. Stifled.
A few weeks ago, I was commiserating to my friend JourneyWoman editor Amanda Burgess about all my travel plans for the summer. I love planning trips, often spending months researching, reading books, watching movies – so that by the time I go to a destination, I know its history, best places to stay and eat, and have plans to connect with local experts. When I reflect on 2019, I was rarely home. Instead, I was in places like Puerto Rico, New York, Florida, Cuba, Oregon, Quebec, British Columbia, and California.
But planning and research is a skill. I can still practice that close to home. In fact, some might say there are more resources than ever to learn about a place, its history and its culture. Why not take advantage of that?
Safety criteria has changed
There is no question that travel is going to be different than it was before the pandemic. We are dealing with many complexities, both known and unknown. Information changes almost daily.
This means that the way we travel – how we evaluate destinations, accommodations, transportation and healthcare is going to be profoundly different. So, I thought, why not use this limbo time to try out new travel criteria and see what’s working and what’s not?
In our recent survey, Embracing the Unknown: The Risk and Reward of Travel, you told us that you’ll use different criteria to evaluate the risk of travel. Risk is the possibility of danger or loss. Recently, my friend Kelly Peters, a behavioural scientist, took the time to explain risk to me. If we know the exact outcome, there’s no risk. But if the path is unknown due to its complexity, it creates uncertainty. Kelly says there are three dimensions of risk: the nature of the risk (is it unknowable or knowable?); our perception of risk (how good are we at evaluating risk, based on our experience); and third, how confident are we in our ability to withstand risk (in other words, the consequences of our decisions). Sometimes we can be held back by our own fears if we don’t properly understand risk. We can overestimate it, or underestimate it.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
We’re Going on a Road Trip to Know the Unknown
In July, as most of Ontario enters Stage 3, your JourneyWoman team (Amanda, Melissa and I) are hitting the road – solo, with each other and with a partner (our close friends or daughters). We’re using this opportunity to evaluate sites and experiences under the lens of new safety criteria that we’re developing for you – including appeal, cleanliness, trust, transportation, healthcare – and tell you the TRUTH about what we’re experiencing.
Who better than the JourneyWomen you know and love to help assess the uncertainty of travel, design our own travel experiences, and report back to you so you can feel inspired and empowered to do the same, when it’s safe in your region to do so?
Over the next two months, you’re going to see us exploring a range of places that are both new to us and off the beaten track. New destinations: Small towns, within a four-hour drive of home. Unique accommodations: A houseboat, cabin in the woods, teepeei, farm, yurt, Airstream, glamping, camping, and a treehouse. We’re aiming to show you that while international travel may be delayed for many of us, adventures can be found in our own backyards.
We’ll be taking a hard look at safety, social distancing and hygiene: Are proper safety precautions being put into place by boutique hotels, at Airbnbs? What do we need to pack to travel safely? What happens when we observe breaches of protocol? Who can we trust to give us accurate information? How do we know things are being done to keep us safe?
Read About Our Adventures
Even as parts of the world begin opening up, international travel seems a long way off, but there’s no better time than now to channel all that pent-up wanderlust into our own cities and towns.
Now that all of Ontario has entered Phase 2, our team has some inspiration & tips for what to see and do – & how to do it safely & respectfully.
When Carolyn and I hatched our plan to explore Ontario towns both familiar and foreign this summer – staying in unique accommodations and creating a post-COVID scorecard to rate experiences on new safety criteria – I knew Muskoka needed to be on my list. And it needed to be a trip I took with my two daughters, ages 21 and 16.
I’ve always been hesitant to visit overcrowded The Grotto, an open cave hidden in the cliff face of the Niagara Escarpment near Tobermory. But when two adventurous friends and I started planning a girls’ road trip to feed our travel bug during the pandemic, The Grotto, with its timed four-hour parking slots operating at half capacity, started to look more attractive.
For the past five months, I’ve been in a small apartment where I have complete control over its cleanliness. The idea of stepping outside my comfort zone caused some anxiety, but once I had started planning my trip to Arowhon Pines in Algomquin Park, my spirits rose. I considered several new criteria in my decision-making process – not just the destination itself, but also how I would get there, onsite healthcare, nearby hospitals and mobility and access
For people who aren’t survivalists or extreme campers, and don’t want to make a huge investment in camping gear, glamping bring nature and convenience together in a way that gives you the spirit of camping, without the complexity. After seeing the crowded RV site in Algonquin Park, I was grateful to be at one of five glamping tents spread out across hundreds of acres at Four Corners Campground in Whitney, just outside the eastern gates of Algonquin Park.
When we hatched a plan to road trip around our home province of Ontario, stay in unique accommodations and evaluate destinations against new travel criteria, we never expected to learn so much about nature, our inner child, and the creativity and innovation of women entrepreneurs.
Packing for any kind of travel – inter-city, in-state/province, in-country or international – in the COVID era is akin to a new parent collecting everything they need for a simple outing. Here are our women-tested safety tips to help you plan and pack for your road trip.
We’re Still on the Road!
Where to Find us
Here’s where we’ll be and when. If you’re in Ontario, we’d love to see you. In a socially distanced kind of way, masks on and hand sanitizer at the ready.
|July 12-14||Parry Sound: Glamping – CHECK!|
|Tobermory + Area: Camping – CHECK!|
|July 24-28||Huntsville + Whitney (Algonquin Park): Boutique Resort + Glamping – CHECK!|
|August 8-9||Adjala-Tosorontio: Horse Barn – CHECK!|
|August 9-11||Feversham: Airstream RV – ChECK!|
|August 16-17||Lincoln: Treehouse|
|August 19-21||Bobcaygeon: Houseboat|
|August 19-23||Campbelleville/Milton: Farm|
|August 25-27||Clarington: Gypsy Caravan + Victorian Tiny House|
Follow our journey. Give us your advice. Maybe you’ll be inspired to try something on your own. The best place to check in on our adventures will be on Instagram, but we’ll also provide updates on our website and Facebook page.
Have an idea to share with us? Somewhere or something you’d like to see us test out for you? Want to explore unique places near the place you call home, armed with our scorecard? Contact us at email@example.com.