Illustration by Jan Igoe
When my kids were young, some idiot introduced them to camping. They were still at that adorable stage where they loved hiding caterpillars in the toaster oven to see how loud I could scream. Not surprisingly, sleeping on dirt and peeing behind a bush were right up their alley. That’s never been my thing, but, as a mom, I was legally bound to participate peacefully in family camping expeditions.
We’d spend five hours stuffing our SUV full of equipment (aka junk) that was perfectly happy hibernating in the garage—just to drag it to some uncivilized outpost completely unknown to our GPS. That’s where we’d pitch our magic tent, which had the power to attract thunderstorms.
There should have been a better way to meet nature halfway, and now there is. The rich and famous don’t camp. They glamp! Glamping has Oprah’s blessing, so it’s got to be good. She even invited Michelle Obama to tag along.
“Glamorous camping” is what you’d get if Conrad Hilton took over KOA Campgrounds. It’s for those who believe being outdoors is no reason to sacrifice room service. Think gourmet cuisine, hot tubs and queen-size Posturepedics in some of the world’s most gorgeous settings. If you see a bug, you can call someone to swat it.
The accommodations are unlimited, whether you want to experience the wild from a 1,000-square-foot tree house or a Zen tepee. You’re welcome to glamp on Ted Turner’s private island off the Carolina coast for $1,000 a night (or $1,750 with a private chef). Tip: Oprah’s idea of disposable income may differ slightly from yours.
Personally, I want to glamp in a yurt, because the word cracks me up. A yurt, for anyone who’s behind on Mongolian culture, is a huge, circular, tent-like structure, popular with nomads a few centuries ago. They’ve jazzed them up, of course, but a yurt is still a goofy-looking tent.
Yurt, tepee or igloo, I want to go wherever Oprah and Michelle are going. I’m pretty sure they have people to deal with anything that slithers, stings or bites. We wouldn’t have to worry about falling off a cliff or being mugged by a hungry bear. Not with their security detail. That grizzly would be on his way to Guantanamo so fast … We’re talking glamping at its finest.
I’m not sure how many Secret Service people it takes to protect Michelle, but it took quite a few to guard a drum set. When John Kennedy Jr. was a teen, my dad was his drum teacher. Really, no kidding. The FBI investigated our whole family to be sure none of us were grudge-holding Republicans. Every week, before my dad’s lesson, black limos with opaque windows would block access to the city street, snarling traffic. Then, a small army of Dick Tracy look-alikes in high-collared trench coats and Ray-Bans swarmed Dad’s building to check for dangerous stuff, like bears. When John arrived, they’d retreat to the shadows.
So, wherever Oprah and Michelle glamp, that’s where I want to be. We’ll have nature without the nuisance. Mosquitoes will be shot on sight. Snakes will be halted mid-slither. And, if we get bored, let’s hope one of the agents can play drums.
JAN IGOE may become a frequent glamper. If it’s good for Oprah, it’s good for humanity. Write her at HumorMe@SCLiving.coop.