Here is the second in our series of glamping interviews, this time with Sarah Riley of Inspired Camping.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us where you grew up, and who your family consists of now?
I am Sarah Riley, Founder of Inspired Camping, which I set up to help inspire campers who want to try out new and exciting gear, tips, tricks, recipes and activities the next time they visit the campsite. I am also a coach, trainer and consultant in the outdoor hospitality industry, through Inspired Courses, helping businesses start up in the camping and glamping industry.
What is your earliest memory of camping?
I camped a lot as a child, even in the back garden. For our family it was the only way we could afford a holiday. The best bit about those trips was the fact my father used his contacts within the farming industry to wild camp on land not meant for official camping. As a result, there were no facilities, no neighbours and the only water source was the nearby natural spring.
Would you describe yourself as a good camper and why/why not?
With my love of variety and the inspirations I get in my day job, I suppose I’m a pretty good camper. I am also one of those campers who likes a bit of variety. I can think of nothing better than hitting the campsite trail on my own with my dog in my VW camper-van if I need some quiet time, or bringing my family along for lots of noisy outdoor adventures.
Who is the best at pitching the tent (you or your partner), or is it a team effort?
I can pitch the tent and set up our camper-van completely on my own. However, if my husband is on the trip with me we are a team and it takes a lot less time when I have him around to give me a helping hand.
What does your cooler consist of for a long weekend camping trip, cover what will be eaten at all three meals?
It’s difficult to explain a typical day of meals, as we like to mix it up a bit when we’re on the road. We love to eat fresh vegetables every day so we try to get these from roadside stalls and local markets. However, an example of a day could look like this…
Breakfast – Porridge with almond milk topped with sliced banana and roasted nuts and seeds (we roast them at home before we hit the road and keep them in an airtight jar for freshness).
Lunch – We love soups… they are so versatile. I often make them before we leave for our trip and freeze them. Then they help us keep our cool box extra cold while they slowly defrost ready to be heated for lunch. Our favourite is lentil, carrot, garlic and onion soup, which is incredibly simple, healthy and tasty.
Dinner – Grated raw carrots, sliced cucumber, cooked sweet potato, sweetheart cabbage and pasta (for the kids) with one of our favourite burgers you can see on Inspired Camping.
Have you ever been Glamping if so where?
I do heaps of DIY glamping regularly. I also have a lot of contacts in this industry so I’m incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to try out a lot of glamping sites. I suppose one place I found particularly memorable was on a UK island in an Airstream. I love these vintage giants and adored being able to chill out in one for a few days. Their shiny exteriors and curved edges were intoxicating for me and I couldn’t stop imagining the historic journey the vehicle had taken during its time on the road, traveling from the USA to the UK.
The next form of glamping I would like to try is tree house glamping.
What do you love most about camping?
For me it’s about being outdoors. That’s where I’m able to find space and quiet in my mind and reconnect with the earth. I find it incredibly inspiring, invigorating and grounding to be outside.
What is your favourite all time camping location and why?
This is a beautiful little campsite called ‘Treen’ in Cornwall, UK. I have spent many holidays on this site throughout my life and continue to adore it. The site is incredibly limited in facilities, has no booking system (you have to turn up to see if there are spaces or not) and the on-site shop has very few staples. However, every time I visit it I never have to drive anywhere once I arrive. I simply walk along the cliffs, fields or local lanes to get where I want to be, and this helps me wind down completely. It really is another world there, a place that time forgot and its very precious.
What is your secret way to deter the bugs?
Use flour to stop ants, vanilla to repel flying bugs (yep, they hate the smell) and Vicks vapor rub to stop ticks climbing up your legs.
Tell me about a few joint family glamping trips you have been on and why especially you think Glamping works better than camping for this type of get together?
The best thing about glamping is you don’t need to pack light to take a trip. If you do it right, your tent will be pitched for you, there will be meals easily available, your bed linen and kitchen equipment will be provided and there will be plenty for the kids to do. This for me is a recipe for family happiness and relaxation. This is why glamping works so well for families.
Would you choose to go glamping as a special occasion, family reunion, wedding etc, why?
Of course… definitely… because it’s something a bit different and a bit special, which suits the occasion perfectly. There are loads of options out there to keep everyone happy and, if you do it right, all everyone has to think about is enjoying their time together. What’s not to love?
You run a highly successful UK based website for Glamping inspiration, can you tell us more about how you decided to get into the glamping industry?
I was a stroke survivor at the surprisingly young age of 38. Having a near death experience, while taking care of my 2 young babies (a 2 year old and a 2 week old) can really knock you off your feet.
I had to re-learn many tasks including full adult level reading and writing. Focusing on writing about something that inspired me also helped me to heal. That’s how it all started, and that’s why I continue to do this today. My personal healing is an ongoing journey… but I’m very happy something great has flourished from it, which continues to help people today.
Where do you see the glamping market in the UK in the next 10 years?
I see it developing each year and particularly I see a glamping break becoming bigger than just a holiday. I see it becoming part of a larger goal for the vacationer… to embark on a self-improvement journey. Glamping trends emerging today are revealing spas, yoga retreats, self-improvement programs and many more inspirational personal journeys. You heard it here first!
Do you have any knowledge of the North American Glamping industry, can you make any suggestions to people want to get started and make a success in the industry from what you have learnt?
I have put together a full program for anyone wanting to enter the glamping market, which has heaps of information from across the globe about the different markets that exist and how new businesses can take advantage of them. You can take a look at that on Inspired Courses.