After a disappointing summer in 2016, I was determined to make the most of the nice weather this year. I started my planning nice and early, in February in fact (when I reached the height of I’m-sick-of-freezing- weather-itis), and searched Airbnb for cottage rentals.
I had figured a cottage would be perfect for our troop, which consists of me, my boyfriend, his 12-year-old daughter and her best friend, and our dog (a four-year-old Akita, which I’m only describing to win brownie points from the dog people reading this).
It didn’t take me long to find the perfect spot: a beautiful cottage in the Algonquin Highlands, equipped with ample yard space and a fire pit, a dock on the beautiful water, a TV for rainy days, and a full kitchen. Perfect! I booked it for July 1st to July 8th, a great kick-start to summer.
I envisioned myself sitting in an Adirondack chair by the water, reading my book with nothing but the peaceful sounds of birds chirping and waves crashing along the shore. It would be bliss. That is, until I got the reality check of a viral Huffington Post blog: “Vacation or Trip? A Helpful Guide for Parents.” In the blog post, author M. Blazoned clarifies the difference between a vacation and a trip:
- Going with kids and a dog? Trip.
- Will there be a kitchen? Trip.
- Bringing your own groceries? Trip.
- Drinking piña coladas on the beach and only worrying about yourself? Vacation.
Based on this criteria, I was going on a “trip.” However, I wasn’t travelling with toddlers, I don’t like eating out every day anyway, plus I want to bring my dog (I’d feel guilty spending all that time outside without the dog there to enjoy it). So how bad could this be?
We decided to over-prepare with an excessive amount of groceries and packed our luggage with everything but the kitchen sink. When we arrived, the cabin was pretty and spotlessly clean, the fire pit was perfection, and the water was absolutely stunning. Regardless of its “trip” status, I was giddy to be in this oasis!
Like the blog predicted, there were some “trip” snags. The girls got moody, the food quickly disappeared (how do they eat so much?), and the dog ran off into the forest (don’t worry dog people, we found her!). Also, my bed was rock-hard and I quickly realized that relaxing reading time was hard to come by.
But, there were also lots of “trip” pros. The girls loved the inflatable flamingo and bed I bought for the lake, which led to lots of laughs. My boyfriend and I swam every day and spent most of our time outside enjoying the sun, instead of in front of computer screens. We roasted marshmallows, played Monopoly, and genuinely had a great time.
Sure, it may not have been a “vacation,” but I don’t like piña coladas anyway.