The team begins its voyage
The idea of leaving the comforts of home in order to go camping or cottaging always seemed absurd to me. Trading in wifi, comfortable beds and proper showers for flesh eating mosquitoes? I’ll pass. Despite this, when the Pixel Dreams Team (PDT) made plans to go on a cottage getaway to Kearney, I dared not to pass. In a heartbeat, I found myself piling into the company mini-van with my teammates, making our way towards our 12 bedroom cottage haven.
“It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
After unpacking and getting settled, it was time to get into the cottage mindset. This didn’t take us long. Instantly, we shed off our city skin and immersed ourselves into the ease and tranquility of cottage country. Imagine a lion being released into the wild for the first time after a life of captivity. It’s a similar scene to the PDT getaway – thrown into nature for a weekend of whatever we wanted.
Of course, it’s not a PD getaway unless there is time dedicated to broadening our minds and souls. Kal had the right idea in doing this the first day since the next two would be filled with enough gluttony to last a lifetime. As the twelve of us sat on the trampoline, Kal held a workshop on the PSME chain, one of the many activities planned for the day. It’s a philosophy where someone’s Physical, Spiritual, Mental and Emotional (PSME) health are cultivated and taken care of, in that order of importance. Though we didn’t get around to doing every activity on our itinerary, the team was uplifted and ready for the next items on the list – drinking and eating.
Morning yoga to curb the pain of a hangover? Underrated and extremely effective. Thankfully, we had Sasha to lead a peaceful and restorative yoga session to get us ready for the day. What did we have planned for the day? Other than swimming, canoeing, drinking, eating, relaxing, paddleboating, and enjoying each other’s company? Nothing else, really. What more could you want? No responsibilities, no agendas – only making the most of our time together (and trying to get through the fridge we definitely overstocked.)
As the day unwound, Sasha, Lily, Mark and I prepared for our spiritual journey. This would quickly become a night to remember.
I was scared at first, but the fear turned into a sense of sublime peace. I felt connected with the trees, the water by the docks, the clouds racing through the sky and even the presence of the plants. Everything around me was moving in unison with my breath. It was an incredible feeling of being completely in the Now with no regard to the past or the future. I was present. I was alive. I was happy.
As sunset unfolded, Lan, Lily and I shared a beautiful moment watching the sky light up in full hues of orange, yellow and purple. The latter half of my journey was spent indoors with one journey leading to another when all of a sudden, I found myself floating through the ground. The fractals around me were swerving and floating alongside me. At this point, everything I saw was through the lens of an RGB colour spectrum and eventually pixelated my surroundings. Towards the end of my journey I closed my eyes, where I was greeted by various fractal forms dancing around in my head. It was as if the world were a series of interlocking triangles of all different colours spinning, pivoting and merging.
An intense spiritual journey requires some equally intense nourishing. I will never forget the incredible feast Huma and Lan prepared for us. If you’ve never tried an Afghan latte with Afghan “oily-bread”, you’ve never lived! After bringing us back to life, it was time for some more binge drinking. I told you this was a weekend of gluttony. It was a beautiful way to spend the last day – with people you love amongst the beauty of cottage country.
As if the weekend couldn’t get better, we spent our last night watching Lord of the Rings. A movie about a group of people going into the unknown and being better for it. Sounds rather familiar, does it not?
Just like that, our adventure came to an end. I was sad to leave and though it was hard to accept going back to our regular routine, the experience left me with some great memories. Yes, the experience brought us closer together but it didn’t stop us from showing our competitive side when we went go-karting on the way home.
An unexpected adventure
Who was the person who said going to cottages was absurd? Definitely not me. The experience gave the PDT the opportunity to step away from the demands of our everyday routine. Through the swimming, billiards, drinking and relaxing, this experience strengthened the PDT bond more than ever before. Whether you’re looking for a fresh perspective on your innermost questions or to experience the peace that comes with the slowness of nature, a cottage is the perfect setting. Even if I almost lost my life to those flesh eating mosquitoes, Bilbo Baggins said it best:
“I’m quite ready for another adventure.”
– The Hobbit
Written by Parth Bhatt, Featured image by Mark Galura
Photography by Boris Babkin, Anne Gorgy, Daniel Libby, Kal Sayid, Sasha Pax Malich, Trevor Landon, and Parth Bhat
Cottage Getaway videos by Kal Sayid, Daniel Libby, Mark Galura