Glamping, Steampunk, and the Grand Tour

Thanks to  Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences for publishing a short post about the connection between glamping, steampunk, and Victorian era Brits going on their Grand Tours.  Here’s a snip of it, but head to their site to read the whole thing.  It’s short, painless, and includes a cocktail recipe.

Steampunk & Glamping Intersect to Revive the Grand Tour

From the 1700’s until the early 1900’s Brits engaged in what was known as the Grand Tour.  Wealthy men, and sometimes families, traveled across France and Italy in search of art, culture and to soak in the roots of Western civilization.   In the mid-1800’s the more adventurous traveled the lengths of Britain’s empire, enjoying trips down the Nile, safaris in Africa, and High Tea in India.  With nearly unlimited funds, and the time to match, they traveled in style and comfort.  Servants lugged their massive four foot high steamer trunks across desserts, through jungles, and onto pleasure boats.  They dressed for dinner and ate off real china and drank out of crystal glasses while camping at the foot of the pyramids.


Photo Credit: Martin and Osa Johnson, Eastman Kodak Museum

In the present many are recreating the style and the feel of the Grand Tour, if not the exotic locales, without realizing it. It is the middle class who are taking camping trips with real china and fine linens.  The extended economic downturn across the West encouraged them to look for more inexpensive vacations and as a result, camping has increased each year for the past eight years.  With the influx of non-traditional campers comes a new attitude.  They aren’t interested in roughing it, they want luxury. The Travel Channel named glamping, or glamorous camping, one of the Five Hottest Trends in Girl Getaways in 2012.

Glamping often looks like Steampunk camping.  The style strives to resemble Victorian Brits with their well-made, durable, wood-and-brass travel furniture but often falls flat because modern camping gear is cheaply made, ugly, and falls apart.  As a bonus it’s uncomfortable.  Regular furniture isn’t very portable or weather-proof.  As someone who loves both Steampunk and camping this was a source of frustration.  One I hope to rectify with a Kickstarter for a book and line of quality camp gear with a decided neo-Victorian vibe.


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