So I was on the internet "resarching" (that is, procrastinating) and came across this article about "Glamping" - a term I've never heard before. Apparently it's all about putting some glamour into camping - deluxe camping I suppose.
From the looks of the article, this new term is a tactic to get more women interested in camping holidays. If it sounds fabulous and decadent, supposedly women will like it more. As a non-glam camper, I actually find that a bit offensive. I'm perfectly happy to cook my own meals, carry my own gear and get to the beautiful vistas on my own power, thanks. I don't need to pay someone else hundreds of dollars per day to make it easier on me.
On the other hand, I understand that not everyone feels like I do. Luxury wilderness adventures are not new. One visit to the century-old hunting lodges in Africa will tell you that. The well-to-do have always been interested in seeing "wild" places, without having to suffer for it. Today, Africa remains a popular place to rough it in style, along with the Galapagos Islands, the Incan ruins of Chile, and increasingly Antarctica. Even here in New Zealand, luxury hunting and fishing lodges offer fly-in service, while some of the country's most popular trails can be covered with ease as your gear is transported for you from lodge to lodge by boat. It's all of the gorgeous scenery, with a fraction of the discomfort.
I have nothing against the five-star option. I think it's great that even people who are not interested in toughing it out, are interested in areas of natural beauty. After all, those people are the ones with the money and the power to help protect those areas for the rest of us!
As long as the building of luxury lodges doesn't ruin unspoiled areas, I'm willing to live in harmony with the glampers. But one of the dangers is that people assume that because they've paid a lot of money to do something, it is safe. Anyone, regardless of expenditure, can get seriously injured or killed doing wilderness activities they aren't prepared for.
You can pay tens of thousands of dollars to be guided up Mt. Everest, but that doesn't mean you won't get a cerebral or pulmonary edema and die - or get severe frostbite and lose a limb. It happens every year. Or doing a multi-day hike with your pack being transported for you - you could easily get lost (particularly if you know nothing about navigation) and find yourself stuck in the woods overnight with no gear at all. The wilderness is a risky place, and spending money won't change that.
So is glamping the next big thing in travel? Certainly adventure vacations have been gaining in popularity over the past decade or so. And now it's oh-so-chic to be concerned about the planet. So perhaps glamping is an idea whose time has come. Or maybe it's just a desperate attempt to convince the ladies that a camping vacation is worth the same price as a beach resort!