The Way I See It: Dads: It’s time to bring cottage life home

Michele Blais looks at taking the small-scale ideas of camping and cottaging and bringing them home

Summer adventures offer up the opportunity to live large in small spaces. We are outside enjoying our natural wonders and then managing sleep in cozier spaces.

There is the “tent” experience where you can put your bedroom, storage closets, living and potentially dining space into a 12 X 10 or less or greater space.  We used to admire the “dining rooms” when we went camping so there would be no bugs as dinner companions. Over the years our tents have varied, from fairly large  to the smaller version for hiking. Sleeping in a tent is very cozy.

I liked the set-up, creating your new living space whether for one night or a week, and the efficiency of the gear. Life was simple. More time for conversations, swimming, hiking, camp fires real or pretend depending on forest fires. Stores offer great gear now  to make the experience more pleasurable and safe.

Years ago I read in this paper that all couples should go camping for a weekend in the rain prior to marriage, as it was a good test to challenges that lay ahead.

Sometimes families switch to the camper after the tenting experience. This offers a bit more luxury, better beds, more options for gentrifying the experience. Trailers can range from pop-up-campers to the deluxe “ the-motorhome-is-worth-more-than-my-house” experience.

It can be a great time to unplug. It may be hard at first to disconnect and it has great results. We all need the electronic-free experiences for our health, and to really be in touch with nature has tremendous benefits to our bodies and brain.  Leave Google at home.

Our latest adventure is the cottage, or cabin as the darling calls it. We are able to go very comfortably from our 3,200-square-foot home to 900 easily. We use solar, propane and septic system, water from lake, not for drinking of course! We wash dishes by hand, and kids have to do the dishes: cottage rule.

As time goes on enjoying our cottage I realize I don’t need a big space to live in. There is the benefit of being outside for most of the day and evening.

It has our family considering a move to a smaller home. We could practise our efficiencies in town such as water usages. Not flushing every time you pee is not a huge issue, and saves gallons of water. It’s a house rule there and people adapt. Same as taking shorter showers and not filling the dish washing sink to the top, there are other ways we conserve and we can do the same at home.

In recent times our culture has come to see the large home as a sign of prestige and success.  I wonder about the need for so much space and rooms that are furnished and visited occasionally.

I hope that in the future a sign of prestige and success will be a well-designed, thoughtful, energy-efficient space that considers the imprint on this world.

Summertime is a great time for pondering, this year I’m considering our future and the world for my kids, and future grandchildren.

Michele Blais has worked with children and families in the North Okanagan for the past 29 years. She is a longtime columnist with The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday.