Camping is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature and benefit from the perspective and feeling of wellbeing that spending time outdoors can bring.
Chloe Sparkes and Clint Collins know this all too well, they’re the couple behind Wild Goose Glamping, a luxury camping experience in the Margaret River region. They frequently camped the coastlines of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean in the UK and Western Australia. After receiving compliments and questions about their canvas bell tent, they decided that everyone could benefit from spending a bit more time outdoors too.
We chat to Chloe and Clint about the rising popularity of Glamping, how nature helps us heal, and their habits they created to spend more time outdoors.
We love the concept of prioritising more time outdoors and recharging in nature. Can you tell us a little bit about the philosophy and vision behind Wild Goose Camping?
The philosophy behind Wild Goose Camping is to make it easy for people to get into the outdoors and to be able to do it in a space that adds to the beauty of their surrounds. There seems to be a growing disconnect between people and the natural environment and each other. We aim to provide the space for people to easily immerse themselves in nature. Being in such a different and relaxing environment and the fact that everyone is staying in the same space, helps increase our connection with ourselves and the people we’re camping with. We see Wild Goose Glamping as a tonic for the busy, distracted, and constantly connected world we live in. We’re try to offer more than just holiday accommodation, by really helping people change their state from one of ‘busy-ness’ and stress to feeling more relaxed, connected, and ready to take on the world again.
Can you share a bit about your story/concept and what inspired you to open up Wild Goose Camping?
We brought our first bell tent when we lived in Cornwall, UK. We loved camping and wanted a tent that was made from natural materials, was sturdy enough to hold up to the UK weather, and was a beautiful space to be in and around. The Canvas Bell tent ticked all of these boxes for us and made it easier to camp and be comfortable on the rugged Atlantic coast around Cornwall.
When we returned to Western Australia where Clint grew up we brought our Bell tent with us. We swapped camping in the South West of England for camping in the South West of WA. Initially living in Perth, camping in the Margaret River region was our escape into the outdoors to relax and reconnect with each other.
We got a lot of comments and interest in our tent while we were camping. This coupled with knowing the effort involved in going away camping and that people don’t always have the gear, gave us the motivation to start Wild Goose Glamping and make the valuable experience of comfort in the outdoors, available to everyone.
What do you think it is it about nature that allows us to unwind and recharge like nothing else?
There are more studies emerging that confirm being outdoors reduces symptoms of stress and depression, along with increasing our creativity, feelings of connection and wellbeing.
We think it comes back to beauty and space. There’s so much to look at and appreciate when you’re outdoors that you can’t help but bring your focus away from your internal experience, onto something which is external, bigger then yourself, and has the power to make you go ‘wow.’ It’s almost like nature forces a type of meditation and mindfulness onto us. We really believe in the cathartic power of nature.
This experience of being drawn outside of yourself also has the effect of changing our relationship with how we perceive time — away from the over structured busy surface time we all run around in trying to get things done by deadlines and toward a slower, meandering peaceful pace. Outside, our creativity, meaningful conversations and connections with others (and ourselves), really has a chance to flourish.
Glamping has become really popular in recent years. Why do you think more people are showing interest in this style of accommodation over hotels and holiday houses?
More people than ever are looking for experiences that give them a change of state and memories that last. Staying in a hotel is not that different from being at home because you still have four walls around you. Also we think that with technology being so pervasive in society these days, people are naturally looking for ways that bring them back in contact with the natural world.
What feedback do you receive from your guests about their experience hanging out in nature for the weekend?
People say our tents are a beautiful space to spend time in and that they feel refreshed and ready to go back into the busyness of life after their stay. Other have thanked us for making their time carefree and easy to get outdoors, giving them the ability to take their kids camping. Couples love that it’s romantic, comfortable and cosy is a really special experience.
Lastly, have you guys always been outdoorsy people or was it a conscious choice? Either way, how has opening a business with this focus and philosophy shaped your life differently (if at all)?
Clint grew up in the Brookton Valley two doors down from the bush. So grew up spending a lot of time playing in the bush. With a keen interest in surfing and MTBing he has always had a strong connection to nature.
Chloe’s father was big into camping and rock climbing in the UK. This rubbed off on to Chloe growing up.
In Cornwall we lived on and renovated wooden boats for 6 years. Living on the water brings you close to the elements and nature, when the wind blows the boat rocks and you are always on deck enjoying being outside.
Clint being a shipwright/ carpenter and Chloe having an Arts Degree has given us a good partnership to create interesting spaces, first on-board the boats and now creating our own furniture and designing lovely spaces for people to enjoy the outdoors in.
Running a business has meant we have to be in front of a computer more than we would like, with less available time than we had in the past. To offset this, we make a habit of having micro adventures in the outdoors with our four boys. They normally consist of jumping off bridges into the river somewhere or packing the Webber to breakfast or dine at a beach, going off the beaten track somewhere, or maybe just rock hopping down the beach. We have noticed how just a few hours of fresh air can give us all a pick up and get us through. We are aiming for more time to get out under the stars ourselves and really recharge!