Americans are bad at vacationing: We don’t take all of our time off, and when we do actually manage to get away, we don’t actually relax. We’re constantly on our phones, consuming some sort of media more than eight hours a day — which has been linked to increased stress, depression and anxiety.
Basically, we need to get away.
Or at least that’s what Jon Staff felt he needed when he founded Getaway while living in Boston.
Getaway’s goal is to help people who are overworked and over-connected to the digital world escape into nature through Outposts — small clusters of cabins built in the woods within two-hours of major cities — so people can easily get away for a weekend.
“I was at a point in my life where I wanted to have a special place where I could get to nature and disconnect and recharge,” Staff said. “I was living in Boston, and I just wanted to be in nature with no Wi-Fi, my cell tucked away, away from the stresses of the city and the routine and scheduling that goes along with it.”
Staff admits he created Getaway mostly because it was something he wanted, but he’s seen that it speaks to what plenty of other people need too. Getaway launched in 2015 and just recently announced a big expansion to the Boston-area Outpost because, he said, of how high demand has been.
“Since we launched, we’ve pretty much been sold out — especially on weekends. If you wanted a weekend, you have to book four, five months in advance,” Staff said. “A lot of people say to me, ‘That’s a good problem to have,’ and I guess that’s true…. But the vision of the company is not that.”
“We want to meet you where you are,” he added. “When you’re stressed out or bored, we want to be that ripcord you pull to deliver you outside the city into nature, to a completely different mindset.”
The new expansion to the Boston Outpost triples its size, bringing it from 14 cabins to 43. Each cabin, or tiny house, is 160 square feet and costs $100 a night. They come equipped not with Wi-Fi but with a lock box to shut away your cell phones, games, books, fire-building tools, S’mores ingredients and a guide to “analog activities” like knot-tying and stargazing.
Getaway doesn’t tell you the Outpost location until after you book, to try to stop you from over-planning your trip and looking up things nearby, Staff said.
That’s part of what he sees as Getaway’s three main goals: get customers to stop planning their time off minute-by-minute, to quit working and to disconnect from their digital devices.
“I don’t want to say we’re trying to save ourselves from ourselves, but there is a little bit of truth to that,” Staff said. “What I’ve realized in my own life, and hope I can help solve for others, is it’s not as easy as going home and putting my phone in a drawer. You have to change your context to be able to disconnect successfully.”
Check out getaway.house/boston for more information.