Glamping: glamour+camping

3 08 2010

I notice another recent neologism going mainstream. It’s glamping.

Last weekend glamping made it into a Sydney Morning Herald article headline. For those not in the know,  glamping is a form of camping where you may commune with nature without giving up all your creature comforts. It’s a blend of “glamour” and “camping” and there’s a huge market for the various goods and services now available. Let’s face it, the sleeping bags you see at Katmandou are more comfortable than the beds most of us have at home. Whether the demand came first and then the word, or the new word created the demand, is not a debate I’m up for.

The Herald article covered the recent annual 3-day Splendour in the Grass arts and music festival held at Woodford. Despite (or perhaps, better, because of) the mud and rain and wind, the festival offered a day spa (think:hair styling, make-up, massage) which booked out in less than a day. The festival even has its own Creative Design and Luxuries Manager. Certainly the old days of camping had no need for a  “luxuries manager”, unless you call toilet paper a luxury.

But anyway, where’s the rule that says camping and comfort are mutually exclusive?  It does raise a question though: Can you still call it “camping” when you introduce various elements to make the whole experience, well, less strenuous? Obviously not, and that’s why glamping came in. That after all is what language does – allows its users to say what they want to say. If the existing lexicon is inadequate, then stretch it to fit. English is particularly amenable to this – some say this accounts for the rise and rise of English on the world stage. There’s some truth in the assertion but more truth in the line that the language with the biggest army/navy is most likely to thrive.

Purists would say that once you start compromising on the stoical basics, then it’s a slippery slope to full decay. Glampers no doubt would answer that a slippery slope is fine so long as it’s a comfortable ride.

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