By Tracey Friley
Outdoor Afro Contributor and Founder of One Brown Girl Adventures
I made the switch some time ago without even realizing it. I guess I should have figured it out sooner, but it wasn’t until I went to Santa Barbara recently that I suddenly realized that I’m a glamper…and I like it. Let me explain.
Like most outdoorsy folks, I grew up going camping with family and friends. My dad rode a motorcycle with a bunch of his friends and one of the motorcycle families (John & Shirley) used to bring along their big motor home on camping trips. Even with the motor home cruising along behind the bikes, we still pitched tents, gathered wood for campfire and had crazy outdoor fun.
In addition to family time, I also went to camp on my own. Day camp, after school camp, overnight camp – you name it. Sometimes I slept in a tent, but mostly I slept in a cabin with my camp buddies. It was still camping, but without the tent. As an adult, I went on camping trips with friends both at traditional campsites and on houseboats. Anywhere there is water, whether a lake or an ocean, I’m there. Still am too.
What I have come to realize now is that I haven’t pitched a tent for a longgg time (although I still have a bunch of camping equipment in the garage). I still go camping, mind you. But in cottages, safari tents and cabins. And nice ones at that. El Capitan, the US Virgin Islands, houseboat trips, you name it. I have turned into a glamper and I didn’t even know it.
Glamping is synonymous with luxury camping because glam + camping = glamping. Isn’t that a hoot? Don’t get it twisted though. There is still dirt outside, bug spray to use and s’mores around the campfire, but in glamping environments, the dirt is nice and neat, the bug spray is organic and someone brings you all of the necessities for a great campfire. Some campsites even offer room service. (Still adjusting to this perk.)
Now before the traditional campers have a hissy fit and tell me how oxymoronic the term luxury camping is, relax. You see, I have come to realize that traditional camping isn’t for everyone. And if a little luxury is what gets folks outdoors, then so be it. Who am I to judge?
In addition to my ongoing business and personal camping experiences (I run a travel adventure camp for girls), I have a mean case of wanderlust that keeps me moving about. In fact, as I sit here typing, I’m in Paris (France, by the way, has over 11,000 campgrounds!)…making plans for my next adventure in Barbados and Martinique in the New Year. I just can’t seem to keep still.
So in the spirit of glamping it up while traveling, I have compiled a short list of glamorous places to get your luxury camp on for the folks like me who like to keep it moving in the great outdoors. This list, which I started on American Airlines Black Atlas Web site, is an ongoing project of mine and I only hope that I can someday get to all of these fab places on my list and find some more. Mind you, most are outside of the United States, but I did manage to find a link for yurt camping vacations with locations mostly in the US. I haven’t tried camping in a yurt yet, but I’m sure I will one day. After all, if it’s outdoors, I’m all in. Thanks for listening…and here we go..
If you are interested in glamping, I am leading a trip this August, and you can check out these resources below to learn more!
GALAPAGOS SAFARI CAMP / Ecuador
THE RESORT AT PAWS UP / Montana
LONGITUDE 131° / Australian Outback
CLAYOQUOT WILDERNESS RESORT / Canada
BANYAN TREE MADIVARU / Maldives
TSALA TREETOP LODGE / South Africa
NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE / Tanzania
Tracey Friley wants children of color to travel and enjoy the great outdoors. More specifically to waterfront environments that help teach our Brown children that the environment is theirs to care for, nuture, and love just as much as anyone else. Learn more by visiting her website: One Brown Girl Adventures