What’s Your “Escape”?

Gretchen Kelly, Escapes Editor

For most SMW, “escape” means getting away from daily life. A stay at a luxury spa, a weekend for two in Paris, a road trip with a best girlfriend – all escapes from the home and hearth.

For me, it’s the reverse. As a journalist specializing in travel, my work is usually the “escape” itself – the flight, the hotel, the new destination. Recently, I’ve had a rare spell of “at home” time and for me, staying home is a sort of “escape,” a change in the flow of my ordinary life.

As I’m welcoming my London-based boyfriend to New York for the first time, I’ve been preparing my small New York home as best I can for the visitor: buying new linens, a French coffee press, some new tea cups (tea for two!). My foray into the realm of Hestia (the ancient goddess of domesticity and the hearth) is a sort of vacation because it’s something I don’t do everyday. I’m also going to be transforming my home to accommodate two people rather than the SMW it’s used to, so I’m busy cajoling its spirit to shift from a one to two person feel. I’m sorting through my movies to make sure they’re not all “chick flicks.” Two oversized white terry bathrobes hang in the bathroom and a new set of plates fill the kitchen cabinets. All of this is a little foreign, and to me, more daunting than an afternoon spent exploring a village in Laos or a hike up an African mountain.

So I’m encouraging all of us to think of “escape” in a different way. Your reality might be my vacation. Your ultimate escape might be trying something utterly foreign to you and your background, even if it doesn’t sound like a vacation to anyone else. Take a week off to stay home and start your novel. Go sign up for a pole dancing class. Become a weekend savant at your local museum. It is in testing the deeper waters of our experience that we truly “escape.”