Copy of Climate Challenge #9


Our family has been doing staycations and short train rides for years in order to reduce our emissions.  Now that Corona Virus is on everyone’s mind, we expect a lot of people will also be giving staycations a go.  Here’s the thing — you might not go back, because staycations are BETTER in a lot of ways.  I especially noticed how much nicer it was to stay in a hotel in Toronto with our 3-year old.  We never got lost.  It was easy to find bathrooms and kid-friendly restaurants and it was easy to find interesting parks instead of getting funneled into crappy, overpriced attractions.

  1. They are CHEAP.
  2. Airports suck.
  3. You won’t get stuck eating soggy pasta in tourist traps.
  4. Tacking a long trip onto the beginning and end of your vacation leaves you more exhausted than when you left.
  5. Travelling with young kids is terrible.
  6. The afterglow will overlay the city you actually live in.
  7. Reduced emissions.

A round-trip flight from Toronto to Tokyo has more emissions than a full-year of eating meat!  (And keep in mind that a vegan diet still has some emissions, so cutting out that flight will double the carbon savings of going vegan for a year).



  1. Tell everyone you’re leaving town.
  2. Change the way you start your day.  Stay in a hotel, or if you decide to stay at home, tidy up instead of packing, buy yourself some flowers and eat something decadent for breakfast
  3. Splurge.  You’re saving a ton of money on flights, so eat expensive gelato, get a massage or a fancy cocktail or front-row concert ticket.
  4. Succumb to spontaneity.  Wander around a random subway station or binge-watch a series.  Whatever strikes your fancy.

A Vacation is a State of Mind.

If you want to experience a certain culture, you can’t beat travelling — but if your goal is relaxation, a staycation is often the better choice.  On vacation, the world slows down again, we are able so see buildings and lakes and wide open skies in all their glorious details.  The moments are long and luxurious because we have shifted our state of mind. This is what Zen Buddhists call ‘beginner’s mind’ — the moment when we see the world as though it were new.  In thirties, time seemed to be speeding up exponentially.  Some days, I felt as though I was rushing toward the grave. When I had a daughter, I saw that this could change.  The shocking newness of having a child slowed some moments down so much that I felt like I was floating in space.  Of course, the hustle and bustle returns, but whenever I am able to slow myself down to my daughter’s pace, to see a bee or an ant or a feather from her perspective, I feel the calming expansiveness of the world return to me.  Although travelling can help us get out of our rut and see things with fresh eyes, it isn’t a necessary component of that experience.  All it really takes is for us to look at things from a new angle. A staycation can do that.  And the bonus is that you will connect more deeply with the city you already live in, laying down good soil for richer moments even after you ‘return’ from your staycation.

When we have a nostalgic hankering to return to a patio restaurant we fell in love with during our trip to Greece, we might have to wait years to do it again, but the restaurants and vistas you discover during a staycation are never that far away.  My wife and I took a winter staycation in the Royal York Hotel a couple years ago and now Union Station, Front Street and even the PATH are layered with pleasant memories.  Instead of scuba-diving, you could try axe-throwing or take a dance lesson and get a new hobby close to home that will enrich your life week-after-week.

If you learn to love where you live, you won’t feel the need to escape.


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