Because Glamping Isn’t What You Think It Is


A few months ago, I was looking to embark on a different kind of weekend escape and stumbled upon this newfangled movement called glamping. Through a powerful digital wizard (more commonly referred to as Google) I discovered Glamping Hub, an AirBnB-esque company that specializes in unique accommodations in nature.

Growing up, camping trips were not a part of my family’s summer traditions. Pitching a tent, starting a fire, and portaging a canoe never became second nature to me as they did for my friends who were raised with these experiences.

However, I was always curious about camping and intrigued by the idea of escaping to the forest to live amongst the trees (I have a deeply entrenched Thoreau complex). My affinity towards the outdoors never faded, even as I chose to set up camp in some of the largest cities in the world for work. I feed off of the frenetic energy of a city and the buzz of busy bodies, but I feel the most at ease being surrounded by nature.

Enter, glamping.

glamping trees

After a hectic workweek, I can slip away for a weekend without having to worry about lugging heavy gear or where I’m going to set up camp for the night. It’s already there waiting for me to softly slink into and inhabit while I collect my thoughts.

Although I still feel a little silly saying the word glamping, a hybrid of glamour and camping, I am completely smitten with the concept. Glamping allows you to experience everything that you love about the outdoors; hiking, canoeing, bonfires, star-gazing, and disconnecting from it all, without sacrificing some of the creature comforts that we have become accustomed to, like a comfy bed and a delicious morning cup of coffee.

There’s a bias associated with the term that if you like traditional camping or prefer the hotel life, glamping must not be for you. I was skeptical myself when I first heard about it, but all previous misconceptions were instantly dispelled as I discovered that it truly is for every type of traveler.

Glamping is a spectrum. That’s the beauty of it. You can choose to rough it with more bare bone options (i.e. no WiFi, no access to hot water, cook all of your own meals etc.), or you can opt for more deluxe stays that resemble a bed-and-breakfast or a boutique hotel accommodation. There are sites tailored for every budget and travel preference. It’s all up to you how many modern amenities you wish to tap into or unplug from.

… all previous misconceptions were instantly dispelled as I discovered that it truly is for every type of traveler.

glamping hammock

For my first foray into the glamping arena, I stayed in a snug little yurt on Lake Washagami. I’ll admit; I actually had to look up what exactly a yurt was beforehand. Our universal friend, Webster Collegiate, defined it as a circular tent of felt or skins on a collapsible framework used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia, Turkey – and apparently remote locales outside of Sudbury, Ontario.

The hosts of the gorgeous lakeside property had set up twinkle lights, tuned the vintage portable radio to jazz and pre-warmed the yurt prior to my arrival.

The next morning I awoke to a forested view and ate breakfast in serene silence on the water’s edge before taking the canoe out for an afternoon paddle.

Ever since that experience, I’ve been hooked. Nothing sets my synapses swirling quite like an adventure off-the-beaten path. With glamping sites all over the globe, it has become my favorite way to explore the world.

Ever since that experience, I’ve been hooked. Nothing sets my synapses swirling quite like an adventure off-the-beaten path.

If it weren’t for glamping, I never would have found my way to a two-story tree house overlooking a rainbow trout pond in Vermont, or staring at the moon from my tipi in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It sounds prosaic, but for me, glamping has become a mindset, a way of life.

In our often over-stimulated, over-scheduled lives, it has become more important than ever for the sanity of the soul to disengage from the digital matrix. Finding ways to be still in the chaos and allowing yourself to simply “just be” is becoming a necessary indulgence.

The art of glamping is about exactly that: escaping the white noise, slowing yourself down, and immersing in earth’s enchanting ethos.

Have you been “glamping”? 

Images via Louise Johnson

Louise is a Toronto-based writer and visual storyteller, who recently completed her master’s degree at Harvard University. She’s an old soul who collects typewriters, sends snail mail and likes to weave words with nomadic notions and nostalgic nods. Having lived in Hong Kong, Switzerland, New York and Boston for study/work, her thirst for travel is insatiable and penchant for capturing moments in words, photographs and films; a lifelong endeavour.

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  • I’ve never been glamping, but I’d love to try one day! I hate traditional camping (I’m a bit of a princess/a full-on city girl), so I’m hoping glamping will give me a glimpse of nature, but keep me within my comfort zone. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Louise Johnson October 3, 2018

      Hi Charmaine! I think glamping would be a perfect way for you to experience the great outdoors without the hassle of setting up a tent or building a fire (like traditional camping). Glamping is definitely a spectrum, there are more bare-boned accommodations and ultra deluxe ones with Egyptian cotton sheets and breakfast delivered in bed. Cheers!

  • Liz September 7, 2016

    Yes! At the Virgin Islands Campground on Water Island in the Caribbean, can’t recommend it enough.