In the middle of a long and gruelling work week, especially for those who spend their days stuck in Zoom meetings or staring at a screen ?
Who hasn’t dreamt of getting away…. disconnecting from social media……the internet, and getting in touch with your inner self at an eco-retreat, eco lodge, or nature resort?
I know I do practically every week!
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to get away for a weekend to an eco-retreat, at an eco-lodge, close to where I live.
It was located in the heart of Muskoka country, which is a sprawling natural environment of the Boreal Forest, located about 3 hours north of Toronto in Canada.
My weekend was green-friendly, relaxing, and I truly enjoyed my time in this environment disconnecting from my busy schedule, even if it was just for a few days.
Below, I’d like to talk about what an eco-lodge or retreat is, as well as the feelings you can evoke by visiting one, whether for a night, a weekend, or an entire week.
What Is An Eco-Retreat?
All around the world, green travel or “eco tourism” is an increasingly popular way to learn about your global, and local community.
This growing form of sustainable travel, eco-tourism involves energy efficient travel, using renewable energy sources and locally-sourced food, with the primary aim of having a reduced environmental impact compared to traditional forms of tourism.
As you can imagine, an eco-retreat or eco-lodge is a type of resort or getaway.
But it’s also one that’s designed explicitly to be eco-friendly and green.
Unlike hotels, an eco-retreat or eco-lodge is a lodging facility or facilities that continually take active steps towards social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
The eco-lodge I visited was located on a horse farm in the community of Oro Medonte, Ontario, in Canada.
Rather than being a single building, this retreat’s environment consisted of about a dozen yurts and cabins made entirely from wood and sustainable materials.
These were all heated by wood pellet stoves and contained nothing more than the essentials; a bed area, a bathroom, a small living area, a small kitchenette, and a table to eat at.
Since there were no TVs or WiFi, you might be tempted to think this would mean the place was stripped down to the bare necessities.
But this eco-resort was still decked out in luxury and elegance!
For instance, the natural, sustainable yurt included everything you’d need for cooking; there was a hot plate, a small convection oven, and a small fridge. There were also plates, bowls, cups, pots and pans, and cutlery.
The living room area came loaded with a handful of board games, including chess, checkers, cards, and Jenga, so that you’ll have something to do that won’t involve staring at a screen.
And the best part was that the location backed onto a national park and conservation area, dotted with nature trails that you could hike, or for the more adventurous, you could ride them on horseback.
That said, different eco-resorts are going to offer varying themes and features compared to where I stayed.
But the one thing that they’ll all have in common is that they’re places, most often located in a natural surrounding, where you can get away from the city, disconnect from your work energy, screens, and internet, allowing you to relax and get in tune with your inner self!
What Can You Do At An Eco-Retreat?
I think the more inclusive question to ask here is, what can’t you do at an eco-retreat?
In other words, you can do practically anything you want at these places, ranging from laying in bed all day and staring out the window at the trees around you, to nature walks, playing board games with your significant other, going swimming (if the weather is warm enough), or adventuring a bit further to any local sights that might be nearby.
The critical thing to remember is that when you visit these places, the idea is to disconnect from your mainstream life and get in touch with local flora and fauna, and your surrounding natural environment.
While you’ll likely still have access to your phone or laptop, I strongly suggest either leaving them at home or avoiding them entirely while you’re away for the time being.
Instead, focus on more sustainable activities, like exercising, doing yoga, meditating, admiring the trees and local scenery, staring at the sky, or just staying warm in bed with someone you love.
No matter what you do, by getting away from your busy life for at least a day or two, you’ll evoke all sorts of feelings and emotions that you may not have been in contact with for a while.
How Do You Feel After An Eco-Retreat?
I think the best way to describe the way you’ll feel after visiting an environmentally-friendly resort and indulging in local, sustainable travel is relaxed, rested, and rejuvenated.
It’s not often that we get to unwind in such a natural, local and eco-friendly way.
So visiting an eco lodge or retreat is an excellent and highly welcomed change of pace.
In some sense, you’ll also feel a little bit wiser after you’ve visited a green, eco-retreat since you’ll get to learn about what green, environmentally-friendly living is.
There are some significant differences between living in your modern home and living in an eco-friendly yurt or cabin, such as cooking on a hot plate, rather than using a traditional stove, or using a compost toilet, rather than being able to flush away your waste.
But once you can get over these facts, you’ll quickly see that green living isn’t all that bad.
It brings you closer to nature without any negative impact on the environment and more importantly, it helps you get in tune with your inner self!
Conclusion: Should You Book An Eco-Retreat?
My answer is a YES, in all capital letters!
Aside from the ability to get away and relax for a few days, visiting an green-friendly retreat also taught me about how I live and the things I can do to make my life that much more eco-friendly.
For instance, the yurt I stayed at was relatively small compared to luxury hotels and rooms in the city.
This taught me that you genuinely don’t need as much property or space to live as you’d think.
Of course, reducing our actual footprint on the planet is a great way to help reduce our overall carbon footprint.
The yurt was also filled with other green aspects, such as a compost toilet, a compost bin (for food scraps), a smaller-than-normal hot water tank, and the hosts were even gracious enough to supply eco-friendly soaps, conditioners, and shampoos.
All this to say, if you’re looking for a fun, green, or environmentally-conscious way to take a vacation, eco-retreats are just what you’re looking for!
To find eco-retreats near you, check with your local tourism board, visit Airbnb or VRBO, or simply search for terms like “eco-retreat,” “green tourism,” or “green travel” on Google!
You might be surprised with what you find!
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