If you yearn for falling asleep to the sound of crickets underneath a ceiling of stars, if you find the smell of unnamed bug repellent strangely intoxicating, if a bathing suit is not a priority and WiFi is not a necessity, Glamping -- one of the newer terms in an ever-growing lexicon -- is not for you.
On the other hand, if you thrive for the upscale, the glamorous and things that go bling in the night... camping, with this new and effervescent Je ne sais quois may just be your new dream vacation.
Frowned upon by the die-hard traditionalists, the hardcore eco-ninja campers who live by the mantra that no rock, no stick, no blade of grass shall be disturbed compel me to stand up in support of Glamping as I have personally escaped to the woods to explore the creatures with all the creature comforts intact. Ah the smell of pre-pitched tents rising from the brush of the forest replaced by the likes of high-end, high profile abodes namely the iconic Airstream known for her chic streamlined appearance and amenities to rival some of the best boutique hotels.
What does it really take to go Glamping? Certainly you need a plan but the rules do not really deviate from any vacation checklist. You need to schedule a time, you need to choose the destination and you need to be ready to embrace a sense of adventure with a heapin' (gourmet) portion of the deliciously unexpected.
I opted for the West Coast version, Santa Barbara and the Pacific Highway to be exact. A mixture of mountains, a dash of forest and of course endless local miles of beautiful beaches.
In the spirit of full disclosure, when it came to a vacation that involved towing an Airstream I had some trepidation. Most of my concerns were valid falling under the large umbrella of how in the world am I going to do this? I did my homework, scoured the Internet, talked to some of my friends who I lovingly and knowingly put in that bugs and bark category and realized that without apology I was a Glamper.
Camping on the edge of reality with 300 count cotton sheets and upscale facial products need not come with an apology. Equally important, I needed to figure out how in the world I was going to tow this hunk of metallic fabulosity on wheels without becoming the top traffic nightmare on the local Santa Barbara news. In short, I needed a truck with the power and prestige to Glamp.
Moment of truth, I know nothing about trucks. Well, that's not exactly true because I know they exist, I know they are really big and I know some come with gun racks... My choice was the 2014 GMC Sierra. Keeping in mind I am just a guy who likes to keep it simple is why this truck worked for me. From a safety standpoint (precious cargo on-board... namely me) it has six standard airbags, available forward collision and safety alert seats and an available rear-view camera. The major cool stuff... an info-tainment touch screen system that allowed me to connect all my SmartPhone features via Bluetooth technology. Translation? I had all my applications available to me on screen as Glamping without the likes of my playlist and Pandora is simply not Glamping.
My Airstream boasted a full shower, dual zone air conditioning, a gas grill, generator and a flat panel TV/DVD as only a few of the features in the 23' International Signature Series (4 person maximum sleeping capacity)
I chose to make it even easier by using the company AIRSTREAM 2 GO as they took care of everything and I mean everything including the pink flamingos and lawn chairs placed out in front adding to the glamp-o-icious experience. Many camp grounds offer, spas, pools, catered meals and will assist in just about any request with hiking and horseback riding being at the top of my list if you choose the route along the Pacific Highway as I did.
The smell of the campfire has not changed and you can still burn the roof of your mouth from a flaming S'mores, but the world is a changin' and camping is getting her groove on with a sense of style, comfort and unbridled glamour and luxury.
Photo Credits: Joshua Estrin/Anthony Federici
NOTE: I was not paid for this story nor do I have any commercial connection to the brands or services mentioned in this post.