I have never been camping. Yup. A total camping virgin here. I only just realized I had never taken part of that beloved Summer Ritual, where people huddle around a campfire telling ghost stories and sharing anecdotes about life and roasting weenies and marshmallows and sleeping on the cold damp ground underneath the stars. That’s right — I am nearing my 25th birthday and I have never been camping. Of course, I have experienced camp-like adventures such as going to band camp in junior high or setting up a campfire along the Bow River when I lived in Banff. But I have never “roughed it”. Ever. And I am both proud and ashamed of this. I live in one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada. I live sixty minutes away from the Rocky Mountains and sprawling, un-teathered wilderness in which to explore and experience the wild.
I recently discovered the subculture calling “GLAMPING”, or otherwise known as Glamourous Camping. Sounds pretty much right up my alley. I found this website called Glamping Girl which features fabulous places to go glamping all over North America. Incredible places where you can sleep in an elegantly netted four poster bed in the middle of a luxe green forest with only the bright stars sparkling down on you. Where you can eat beautiful breakfasts with the rising sun and experience Native American cultures, such as Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump here in Alberta. It all sounds wonderful and they even include information about glamping in Africa and doing all sorts of amazing safaris and treks. While this all sounds fabulous and eye-opening while still experiencing a glamourous time, I am a little more old fashioned in my desires for on the road travel.
Oh yes, the Airstream Travel Trailer. I have been in love with this silver bullet of glamourous trailer travel since I first laid eyes on one. My parents always have had fabulous books lying around the house with all sorts of vintage paraphernalia and kitsch and of course an entire book on vintage travel and Airstreams was among that mix. I think I was 13 or 14 when I first saw an Airstream trailer in person. I was scrounging around the back lanes around my neighbourhood, you know, picking raspberries from people’s backyards and spying on the cute boys jumping on their much desired trampolines, when I came across the ultimate vintage dream for a nostalgic child like me (I’ve spent most of my life pretending I am Gidget). An Airstream parked in the back lane, gleaming in its aluminum goodness WITH, with, with —- a FOR SALE sign on it! I wrote down the number and rushed home to call about it. I guess I could have knocked on the door of the house it was parked at and inquired but I figured once they realized how old I was they would laugh and close the door. But on the phone, I could pretend to be anyone I wanted. Anyways, so I called and talked to Archie, the owner of this hunk of gasoline burnin’ love and found out he was selling it for $2, 000! Even as a young teenager with no money I knew that was a great deal and went to solicit my Mom and Dad to buy it and park it in our backyard for me to live in and have an art/craft studio in.
Even though an Airstream was something my parents dreamt about owning sometimes, they said no. It would be too much work and money to re-store it and you have to get a permit to park it in the alley let alone your backyard. I resigned my offer sadly and slowly, making sure to visit that dear trailer as often as possible to keep my 1950s daydream alive. One day it disappeared and I probably cried. I would NEVER live in an airstream now in my parents backyard, NEVER. I think I saw it again on the other side of the neighbourhood in someone elses back alley a couple years later and I looked at it wistfully like an old friend whom you have lost complete touch with and kept on walking.
I think the second time Airstream really caught my eye again was when Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie launched their new TV show called The Simple Life where they travelled the US attempting to live the so-called simple life that mid-Americans lived daily. And they travelled in style. A Barbie-pink pickup truck rigged with a shiny custom Airstream trailer complete with hot pink lanterns and accessories was their ride and boy, was I jealous!
It wasn’t soon after that I started reading in magazines like BUST and ReadyMade that there was a resort in Arizone where you could stay on themed Airstream Trailers. Kind of like a themed hotel, but again, trailers. Awesome. It is called the Shady Dell. There is so many beautiful trailers at this resort that I doubt that their website does any justice whatsover. But still click on it. It is definitely one of my favourite websites for anyone who wants to lose themself in vintage culture and life, take yourself back to a time where life was simple and the drinks were cheaper.
I love the classic Florida 1950s design of the Airstream Trailer. Palm trees, turquoise and seafoam colour scheme, flamingos and antique dishes and silverware. This trailer would definitely be at the top of my list of where I would stay at the Shady Dell.
The Tiki Bus is hard to beat as well. Staying in this sky blue vintage bus complete with a tiki bar, grass hut style kitchen, and lighting reminiscent of a luau — I would have nothing but sweet dreams in this trailer. The Shady Dell really does amazing things with their talents and skills restoring these vintage trailers and creating an atmosphere and experience that their guests will never forget. I can’t wait to stay there one day.
The more I think about it, the more I know exploring North America in an Airstream would be so much fun. We are buying a car this fall and getting some sort of trailer, whether it be a classic repro Tear Drop or an Airstream — it would be great to FINALLY go camping. I looked on the Airstream website and they are still producing that classic Airstream style. I have even picked out the one I would buy if we got one.
The Flying Cloud would be my pick It’s classic and slick and still has that ultra-retro feel that the authentically vintage Airstreams have. I would certainly deck it out in pinks and turquoises inside and have some sort of magical woodland creature theme happening. Lots of deers, of course.
So magical, the idea of taking off and its just you, your companion, and the world. Whether you camp, glamp, motel or hotel, vintage or new travel trailer, the world is your oyster! xo Kait