Microcation:  Tiny Adventures with Big Rewards

Microcation: Tiny Adventures with Big Rewards

Summer is finally upon us with its longer days, warmer evenings, and a certain joie de vivre that only sunshine can beckon. I don't know about you, but the year still feels like it resets in September with the return to school (old habits die hard), while the summer holds the release of a year's hard work (where my nerds at?).

When I was young, the end of June always felt like the eight weeks ahead offered an eternity of opportunity for adventure. There were sleepovers, beach days, and counting mosquito bites. There were popsicles and bike rides and running home for dinner. Despite leaving school some time ago, that feeling persists, and the schedule looks remarkably different. For starters, there is one, and it's packed. But I'm inviting adventure back in with a series of microcations that I hope will bring back a child-like promise of endless summer.

What is a microcation?

A microcation is a short trip, usually lasting 1-3 nights. It's all about making the most of a long weekend and being strategic with your days off. It is no secret that the cost of living has, shall we say, gotten a bit more dear in recent years. In Canada, housing and food costs have been on the rise, particularly since the pandemic, and making room in the budget for a long and pricey vacation isn't always possible.

According to Forbes, fewer Americans than ever are taking long summer vacations- not just because schedules and budgets don't allow it but because of the guilt and optics associated with an extended work absence. Some opt to leave the office space to take workcations to dip their toes in the sand but never entirely leave the workload behind. Among families, schedules often don't align, and peak travel dates make for costly flights, making it difficult to get away at all.

Yet, disconnecting entirely from work life has been shown to have benefits that affect your mood, cognitive function, and sleep patterns. So, if a ten-day vacation is not in the cards this year, why not opt for shorter microcations instead?

To inspire you, we've compiled a list of some of the benefits of taking shorter vacations throughout the year.

Budget-Friendly: Because you're not traveling far or staying long, microcations are easier on the wallet. You can splurge on a nice meal or activity without feeling guilty about going overboard. You might want to be a little less restrained and treat yourself to a little luxury, or keep things simple and save a little for the next micro-trip around the corner.

Less Planning, More Spontaneity: When you make all of your decisions months in advance, it's possible to research things to death – you've read all of the reviews, you've scoured all of the images, you've watched the travel vlogs, and then you know exactly what to expect. This time, leave a little room for the unexpected—no need to plan months in advance. Just pack a bag, pick a spot, and go! Sometimes, less planning leaves room for fun surprises.

Perfect for Busy Schedules: Got a demanding job or a packed calendar? A microcation fits right in. You don't need to take a lot of time off work to feel refreshed, and you also don't need to check in while trying to unwind.

Building Anticipation: When you know another mini trip is around the corner, you've always got something to look forward to when you're overloaded with emails or daily stressors. There is something to be said about looking forward to a future event, dream, or goal that brightens our current state of mind. This phenomenon is discussed in a New York Times article about how anticipation can have excellent benefits on your mood and well-being:

"Research has shown that feeling as though you're on a path to your "future self" can have a positive effect on your well-being by snapping you out of short-term thinking." 

So, what to do and where to go?

Of course, a six-month trip through Southeast Asia would be an enriching and exciting experience, but for now, let's focus on short bursts of memorable and entertaining experiences close to home.

Explore Local Gems: How often do we overlook the beauty that's right in our backyard? Microcations encourage you to discover hidden treasures close to home.

Look for places that are a short drive or quick flight away: Think cozy bed-and-breakfasts, charming small towns, or nearby nature spots. Discover nearby bike trails, rent a paddleboard or kayak, or find a place to go zip-lining for something out of the ordinary.  

City Escape: Spend a weekend exploring a nearby city. Visit museums, try new restaurants, and take in the local culture.

Nature Retreat: Head to a national park or a quiet cabin in the woods. Go hiking, fishing, or just relax by a campfire. You know this is a favorite with us at Rose Boreal!

Beach Day: If you're near the coast or know of a lake worth visiting, a quick beach getaway can be incredibly rejuvenating.

Make it Hobby-Focussed: If you're into wine, spend a few days touring local vineyards and tasting some delicious wines. Like music? Find a gig or festival you might want to attend in a nearby town or city and spend the night. In other words, chase what you already love and make a weekend out of it!

So, next time you're feeling the itch to get away but don't have the time or cash for an extended vacation, remember the magic of the microcation. It's incredible what a short break can do for your mind, body, and soul.

Happy travels!


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