Is Glamping no just one of they words that’s horribly wonderfully, horrible? I have a love hate relationship with the term – an unholy union between Glamour and Camping. It’s sickly and cloying – like when a fast food restaurant tries to do salad but you know what you’re eating isn’t really food. But like Glamping I’m middle class enough that I’d order such a salad and feel wonderfully ironic – with a tangy unsatisfying taste in the mouth.
So what is Glamping? Camping in luxury – no tent or a very elaborate tent often with electricity and various other mod cons. One gets away from the rigamarole of daily living but does not have to wrestle with a giant rain jacket stuck into the ground with sticks.
On the face of it Glamping seems quite nice. But why the glamour? What is glamorous about sleeping in a shed?
Glamping makes me uncomfortable as it turns a desire to get outdoors and away from it all into an ironic joke. Something a bit silly, an indulgence for those who can afford it. Glamping is a term which is exclusive – designed to appeal to people in on the joke – for whom a night under the stars is light years away and not a benefit cut away.
We have got to the stage where climbing up a hill or through a forest to sleep in a shack can be marketed as a luxurious life choice. It’s expensive. It is kind of perverse. Much like we count the calories in our food and try to shave off nutritients bit by bit meaning the food we eat is less and less food rather than expending that energy on… well on expending our energy – to burn off this nutrition. We are designed to eat and to process that food in action. Not to passively eat non-food which we don’t use. We put less and less efficient fuel in our bodies and wonder why we are lethargic and clocking up so few miles. We go for binge eating and fad diets.
Our camping situation is a bit like that – diehards who perch in soggy tents eating soggy beans convincing themselves they’re enjoying it and yuppies glamping it up and convincing themselves they’re really outside. The point of glamping is not comfort or shelter – but luxury. Are we all hedonists or masochists?
Is there not a middle option? The equivalent of a healthy, authentic diet easily available to all.
In Norway, a beautiful Northern European country with low population density, it is normal and not at all bourgeois to have a camping hut. They are unobtrusively scattered around beautiful terrain. People can get away from it all in a manner that is authentic, rustic and comfortable! And the best thing – it’s inexpensive and therefore commonplace. It’s not an elaborate joke that we knowingly make about how couch potatoey we have become – it’s a tradition dating back generations. It’s only been recently in European history that it has been normal to say one has a holiday home and strange to say one has a holiday hut. It’s actually very natural for people to have temporary summer living spaces amongst nature, not as a luxury for those who can afford it – but as a way of life for seasonal people – think for instance of shepherds.
I like the idea of sleeping in a wacky, futuristic pod and I like the idea of having just a stretch of canvass overhead from time to time but neither quite provide what I’m looking for. These options are expensive, require equipment and resources, appeal to people from certain backgrounds with certain personalities which hold them at arms length from the general population.
In Scotland we have so much beautiful space – so why is it gilet wearing bloggers like me who go on about camping and glamping? It should be natural for all of us to inexpensively have wee huts we can use out in the wilds. Wee huts to rest, get inspired and immerse ourselves in our habitat.
Glamping for all – let’s see a future where we assess our success not by housing prices going up but by affordable living costs coming down. It should not be a luxury to have a wee shed somewhere you can get away to for a few days. Let’s reclaim the land that should be a wonderful, shared resource that has been taken away from us and enjoy it freely. Currently anyone wanting to just build a wee shack somewhere would have to go through so many hoops and would be bullied as an eccentric. But a landlord that drives up the rents of an area to move unwanted people out – so in turn raising the value the property of the local already wealthy property owning class is some kind of hero – a harbinger of a recovering economy?
The only point of an economy is to make it work for people. I want to live with (we don’t live ‘in’ an economy, we live with it. We live in the world, in the land, in the air, but we only live with the economy) an economy that prioritises a whole country’s well being rather than the ‘winner stays on’ bank accounts of a few.