Saturday, 16 February 2013

How I Found My Bliss

People often ask me how I discovered Glamping. Looking back to last summer, I think the answer is that a whole bunch of things came together at once. I may be indecisive, I can sometimes be impulsive. But once I set my heart on something, there isn't much that can stop me from making my dream come true. Just ask my husband, who is occasionally blindsided by my sudden inspirations. In this case, I'm pretty sure we went from glimmer of an idea to glamper sitting in the driveway in about two weeks. 

How did it all start? 

It was late summer; we'd tent-camped with friends in August for the first time in years and we loved it, although I admit I missed the conveniences (an alcohol stove, soft beds, and a potty) we enjoy in the small sailboat that's been in my hubby's family for over 40 years. Although I adore setting anchor in picturesque little coves, the sailboat can't get us very far. I always joke that it's like travelling by wagon train: agonizingly slow.

I started thinking about hitting the road. Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, to pack up the kids and take a road trip?

So we packed up the kids and took a road trip, up to northern British Columbia to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday with him. The 12-hour drive was miserable! My two-year-old, especially, HATED being strapped into his car seat for so long. We tried to break up the trip with an overnight stay, but the hotel bill was outrageous. 

How I longed for what I like to call "the camping years" of my childhood--kindergarten to grade four--when we moved from northern BC to Idaho to be near my mother's parents. Pretty much every weekend in the summer we'd plop our camper on our truck and take to the road, travelling just a few hours a day, spending the nights in lovely campgrounds and stopping for lunch wherever we liked. Yellowstone Park, Oregon, Nebraska, the Cascades--we traveled all over before we sold the camper, bought a trailer, and moved back to northern BC, living in the trailer until our house was ready to move back into. Once we settled back there we never camped again; my parents said we pretty much lived in a campground (with a lake across the road and everything)--why would we need to camp? But those four camping years shaped me. Wouldn't I love to pass those experiences on to my kids? To re-create those golden years for myself in some small way?

Steeped in this nostalgic mood, I discovered this book by Chris Van Dusen; an instant favourite with the entire family:

"Early one morning at 7:03,
Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee, 
Packed up the camper and hitched up the load,
Hopped in the Rambler and then hit the road.
They drove to the mountains, far from the sea,
For two nights of camping (or possibly three)."

At the same time, I bought the Summer 2012 issue of Romantic Country, with this article (photo by Kerrie Sanderson):  

Hungry for more eye-candy, I devoured Kerrie's blog. Here was a world I'd never imagined existed, a world of ordinary travel trailers filled with chandeliers, shabby chic curtains, and vintage linens.

And then I saw the latest issue of MaryJane's Farm Magazine on the stands and discovered the world had a name. It was called GLAMPING.

A beautiful idea came into my head. A beautiful dream of me and my family tucking down the highway to some unknown destination, our lovely little cottage-on-wheels in tow. We'd stop where we liked, enjoy homemade meals cooked on a real stove with ingredients kept in a real fridge! We'd sleep in real beds, without having to pay expensive hotel rates. And forget nasty public bathrooms! We could wash the dirt from our adventures off in the sanitary comfort of our own quarters. Best of all? Our little travelling cottage would be so darned pretty. My heart just ached thinking about it.

In a fever, I went online and started hunting.

Eeep! My first few finds were a little more expensive than my (non-existent) budget allowed. I kept looking. By night, I hunted for bargains; by day I started dropping hints. 

Wouldn't it be great to see the country without having to drive long hours or pay for restaurant meals or expensive accommodations? 

Wouldn't it be wonderful to "camp" on land the way we do in our sailboat, with our own potty and everything? 

Hey, did you know you can buy little old trailers pretty cheap? Yep, and they're light, too. We could tow one. I mean, if we traded our Mazda 5 for a little SUV or something. 

Wow, would you look at these magazines...these people have fixed up these old trailers all adorable, see? Wouldn't I just have the time of my life decorating one! Wouldn't we just have the time of our lives travelling around in one of these cuties?

Hey! Guess what I found? A little vintage trailer locally. It's only $2700 and looks in great condition. Wanna go look at it with me? Just for fun. Let's take the kids!

By the time my hubby looked at the trailer with me, he was hooked too. The kids were positively in love. And then we figuratively hooked ourselves up to our new trailer by writing the former owner a cheque. Next thing I knew, this little baby was sitting in our driveway. (Photo by her former owner.)

We call her Bing. Like red, cheerful, summery cherries. The name just popped into my head as soon as I spied her. BING! Just like that. (There's also a little nod to my favourite crooner, Mr. Crosby.) And while she's still wearing her nicely preserved 70s clothes, just wait 'till you see our Bing freshened up with all her new bling. She's not ready yet, but I'm having the time of my life prettying her up.

Oh, yes, she makes me very happy indeed.


  1. Lovely, just lovely! I am so glad you followed your heart, there is no better way really! And thank you for the insight into that sweet children's book...will have to find a copy of my own. Your children will indeed have the same or better childhood memories of camping as you had. But obviously a bit more "glampified" and just imagine, you get another whack at creating a whole new set of experiences of your very own...lovely!

  2. Bing is already quite adorable! I'm looking forward to seeing Bing all glamped up.Your journey reminds me very much of mine. And isn't it fun!