This weekend Wendy and Elli are heading up to the cottage owned by my inlaws. I am going to stay in town and have a bachelor weekend which I am confident I will very much enjoy. I go to the cottage occasionally but I don't seem to have the mindset that most cottagers do that makes it so compelling for them to make the commute on a regular basis.
As I understand it the desperate need to have a cottage is not particularly common around the world but rather something particularly seen in my area. There are enormous swathes of land far away from the city that are filled up with cottages for the wealthy to go visit on weekends, so much so that the absolute worst traffic you can experience in Toronto is the traffic leaving the city for cottages on Friday afternoon. I just don't get it. Sure, the cottage has the perk that you can go swimming in the lake, but I can go swimming in the community pool nearby my home if I like (I almost never do) and the water is much cleaner there.
Many people want to 'get away from it all' but when I am at cottage on a 15 meter wide chunk of land located on a lake that is absolutely choked with other cottages I don't feel back to nature particularly. The lake is constantly buzzing with boats and cars drive by the cottage very regularly. It feels very strange to me to go to the effort of packing and driving for several hours, often in wretchedly bad traffic, to go to a building whose primary features include lack of convenience and connectivity. Surely I am not alone in getting ghost limb pain when I am forced to be without my internet connection for 2 days straight?
Perhaps it is due to my upbringing. I grew up at the end of a dead end dirt road a long ways from anyplace. I could walk to the river in the back woods, go see the ruins of the old farmhouse in the field across the way or go skating on the pond in the field and never see a single person. That experience growing up may have jaded me against the 'back to nature' angle of a cottage on a heavily populated lake since it feels far more like just a different city street to me than anything else. I know what being in a real set of natural surroundings feels like so to me a cottage is really more like a city block without forums to peruse or idiots to correct.
Let me not forget that I am cheap: Every time I look at the cost of the commute and the building itself it makes me shake my head. You can have a mansion on a beautiful piece of natural property in Thunder Bay for less than a cottage in a shoulder to shoulder development near Toronto. Location, location, location I suppose.