"I'm cancelling our hotel and booking us a yurt!" I exclaimed one Tuesday evening in October from my laptop on the couch.
"A what?" said Dylan.
"A yurt! Look!"
"Huh. Alright, let's do it."
That's how most of our conversations go. I get really excited about something or have a random, grand idea, and my supportive and loving (and patient) fiance goes with the flow, only playing devil's advocate if absolutely necessary, asking key information (how much is it? what is our check in time? where is it at?) and letting me run with whatever tangent I'm on.
Here's the thing though. Can you keep a secret? I don't like camping as much as I want to like camping. It's a bit like when I was growing up and I would see macaroni salad and I wanted to like it, and every time I tried it the result was the same - I was unimpressed. But I wouldn't give up. I kept trying the macaroni salad thinking "someday I will take a bite and like it, I just know it!"
Camping is like that for me. I can camp. Hell, I was forced to camp growing up. I love being outside in nature, I have zero issues getting dirty, and I prefer not to wear makeup, so I don't consider myself high maintenance. It's just that when the sun goes down and it's time to turn in, I want a bed. A bed with a mattress and sheets and multiple pillows in a climate controlled room.
The yurt seemed like a compromise. We were headed to Arkansas for me to check state 32 off my list on my mission to see all 50 states before I turn 40, and while it's on a campground and by a lake, it has hardwood floors, it's climate controlled, has electricity, a real bed, and a coffee maker (thank the camping gods!). It's sort of camping (I know I know, any real camper is rolling their eyes at me right now).
HOW DO YOU EVEN FIND A YURT?
I wasn't looking for a yurt. It never would have even occurred to me to search for one, but it was what came up in my search of Hot Springs, Arkansas when I clicking around on Glamping Hub's website that was in my price range.
I had my mouse-wielding fingers crossed for an awesome tree house or log cabin, but what the Glamping Hub gods brought me was either a really expensive cabin that slept 12 or a yurt. And after a few clicks around checking out pictures and making sure the location worked I did what I do best and embraced the new. And got really excited. Like REALLY excited. We were off for a yurt adventure!
WHAT IS A YURT?
"What the hell is this extra large tent with hardwood floors?" I wondered as I scrolled through the results of my search. A yurt. Okay then, "what's a yurt?" I pondered. And I wasn't alone because nearly everyone that I know and work with asked that exact same question when inquiring about our trip down south.
According to Wikipedia, "A traditional yurt (from the Turkic languages) or ger (Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel (crown, compression ring)."
A round tent, yes. Covered in skins or felts? No. Since we weren't dwelling nomads in the steppes of Central Asia our yurt was covered in canvas. Thick and heavy canvas that allowed for a heating and cooling unit and electricity to be installed.
True to the original, the interior structure was held up by a latticework of wood, and the roof was a series of rafters that held up a wheel which also served as both a skylight and a place for the fan (because 2017 yurt livin' is where it's at!).
WHAT'S INSIDE A YURT?
Our yurt was 20' and came with a set of full size bunk beds, a futon that they pretended was a couch (but this 34 year old body wasn't fooled), a queen size bed, a table, mini-fridge, microwave, and a Keurig. And wifi.
After jumping on Pinterest I quickly realized that our yurt was pretty simple compared to what some offer, but we were looking to be under $300 total (including taxes and fees) for the two nights, so with limited options in the area we were happy with clean and functional.
WHAT DO I BRING TO STAY IN A YURT?
Just like any other place you stay I'm sure the amenities differ from yurt to yurt. Here are some recommendations on things to bring if you decide to stay in a yurt:
* Cards and games - We brought a deck of cards and played some rousing games of War, but in hindsight we wished we would have brought a couple board games for more options.
* Coffee mugs - If you're a coffee drinker than make sure you read the fine print and grab a couple to-go coffee mugs if your yurt doesn't come with any glassware. Don't forget to bring or buy any coffee creamer, milk, sugar, or any other preferred additives to make your coffee exactly how you want it in the morning.
* Long charger cords - While we had two nightstands, the outlets were set at least 4 feet from the nightstands, so if you want to charge your phone overnight you may need a 6'+ charger.
* Drinks - We packed a soft cooler bag for our road trip and had a case of beer, a couple bottles of wine and a case of water, and we would have drinks while we played cards at night.
* Mirror - At the last minute I decided to grab a handheld mirror and throw it in my bag. I'm so glad I did because we shared a community bathroom with the campground and it had no mirror. It's not about being vain, but it's okay to want to glance at yourself before you take off for the day.
I'm in. This glamping thing is for me. I get to be in nature and still have a comfortable place to rest my head at night, and I'm excited for my next Glamping Hub experience. As for macaroni salad? I ended up liking it. So there's still hope for camping. // This post is not sponsored in any way, I just had a really good experience and want to share all my experiences, good or bad, with you guys.