Escapism and the Cottage Trend

It’s common to look for a way out of difficult situations. When you’re buried under the pressures of academic life, sometimes it feels like the only escape is to ignore the work and leave it all behind. Perhaps that’s why hashtags like “cottage”, “cottage core” or “forest core” have seen a spike in popularity recently. Modern life can be stressful for a lot of people, and lately, young Americans in particular are under a lot of political and social stress that can make living in a remote forest cottage seem preferable.

Escapism, a “habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine,” doesn’t always mean escaping mentally. Sometimes physical escapes, like vacations or moving to a new area, are used to get away from reality or monotony. Startups like Getaway, a service that allows city dwellers to escape to small rural cabins, have gained popularity in the last year or so, and there’s a reason.

The political and social climate of America is wracked with turmoil. From the president’s impeachment proceedings to countless protests for issues like climate change and women’s rights, Americans are living in a tumultuous social culture that can create anxiety and unease. Young Americans seem to be facing the majority of the consequences of these events; after all, they will be the ones who will bear the brunt of today’s unrest. Therefore, it seems only natural that social media is flooded with thoughts of escaping from a world that is quite literally on fire (climate change, anyone?).

Photo by Sebastian Staines via Unsplash

The idea of living far off from modern life can mean different things to different people. Some are keen on the idea of being self-sufficient, meaning not relying on the corporate dominated world that it can sometimes feel as though we are living in. Others wish to feel an increased connection with nature, or simply just to be alone. The way in which that escape manifests itself may be different, but one fact remains: there simply isn’t enough space for everyone to leave modern life.

Escapism isn’t a new concept, but its recent surge unpopularity shows that something about our American society is driving people, particularly young people, away. Our political and social climate shows that change is eminent, and if we are able, then combining our dreams and our reality may create a world that we don’t want to run away from.