Tuesday, December 11, 2018

How Does Vogue Magazine View Glamping?

Dunton River Camp Luxury Tents

We all know of Vogue magazine, the fashion magazine, the one with beautiful, glossy photographs of beautiful people wearing beautiful, expensive clothes. If Vogue publishes an article about glamping, then that will really be the genuine article Glamping with a capital G.

I read the article (Is Glamping Camping? Wild's Cheryl Stray Tackles the Question--In Style) and then bookmarked it and set it aside. Yes, glamping for Vogue is a luxury resort in a northern Colorado that includes massages, lessons on fly fishing, gourmet meals--and for author Cheryl Strayed, lots of time alone, which was what she was looking for.

Stray, 1995, PCT
It wasn't until my second look at the article and a little research that I learned that author Cheryl Strayed was the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a New York Times bestseller in 2012. Here's a web pitch for the book, which was the first selection for Oprah's Book Club:
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
Cheyrl Strayed's 1,100-mile trek from Southern California to the Oregon-Washington border was a kind of rebirthing experience for her to start her life anew, to find her own steel and strength in a trying time. I'm putting the book on my to-read list for this winter. In the prologue of the memoir, she finds herself on the PCT after a month . . . with no shoes. During a rest break, her backpack tips and pushes one shoe off the steep trail and down, down, down into a canyon, irretrievable. She gasps, realizes the one hiking boot she is now clutching to her chest is useless, and pitches it into the sky where it falls into the lush trees below. "I was alone. I was barefoot. I was twenty-six years old and an orphan too. An actual stray . . ."

This is the woman, twenty-three years later, who goes glamping for Vogue. What does she have to say? Well, she states that her main feeling about glamping was that she felt a bit snobbish about the whole idea.
It’s to challenge oneself by going outside one’s comfort zone—and getting comfortable there. It’s to scare oneself and make oneself brave. It’s to experience the deepest silence, out of which rise the most insightful thoughts. And perhaps most important, it’s to give oneself the opportunity to tap directly into the profound understanding that under these vast stars we—humans, plants, and animals—are all connected.
Glamping, she says, is a bit more of bringing civilization to the wild, rather than stripping ourselves bare to our spiritual roots. For Vogue, she puts herself to the glamping regimen: stretching, yoga exercises, which she hasn't done for years; catch-and-release fishing for rainbow trout; hiking with the owner's hunting poodle, Toby, where she begins to connect with the land, sensing its "history, imagining the cowboys, miners, and homesteaders who lived here long ago, and the native Ute people before them."

She does have a good experience as she ends her last evening at the glamping resort. "As I gazed up at the stars I realized I felt slightly altered from the version of me who’d stood here a couple of days before." It's an experience, she realizes, that can't be captured with her iPhone camera, but can "only be felt." In the end, it is not how austere the camping experience is, as when she hiking the PCT, or how luxurious the camping experience is, as when glamping at a mountain resort. It's about taking our lives into nature, whether it be forest, prairie, ocean, or desert. It is about reminding ourselves about rhythms more complex and grand than our usual daily routines.

So my tiny trailer, the Green Goddess, and my humble blog, Green Goddess Glamping, seem to be my comfortable, thoughtful means, as author Cheryl Strayed has done, to "connect with the land" and feel "a slightly altered" version of me, a simpler and more uncluttered self. "Glamping" may be different for everyone, but we should find a way to be comfortable and at home in nature, for ultimately that means being comfortable and at home with ourselves, for we are as much a part of nature as that Douglas fir or that Stellar jay or that cloud billowing in the sky. That is the ultimate "glamping," I think, to in some way remember the dignity of our true selves, to remember our place in the universe, to be comfortable with the silence that lies beneath the water sounds of a mountain stream as it sings its way down the mountain.

We are not just work horses or riding ponies. We are more than what we do and what we own. We are not just clothes horses. Even Vogue magazine recognizes that! Beneath all our busy routines lies the silence of nature, the green goddess. We yearn to be comfortable in that, with that. Glamorous camping--yes, let the snow fall as I stand beside my tiny trailer, awash in the silence of the moment, comfortable and secure, and more than anything, at home so that wherever I camp, everything is exactly according to its nature, including me.

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  1. I saw your post and thought, I don't want to read anything from Vogue. On this side of your blog I admit that I stand corrected. Great blog. I hope you review Cheryl Strayed book after you read it this winter.

    1. I liked the book. She writes powerful description and narration. The book's subtitle "From Lost to Found" is certainly appropriate. Here's my review link.