Meghan and The Bonny stand in full glamper glory.
Get your sea legs ready. This 1970 Prowler isn’t your average pirate ship—it’s a sea-themed glamper. Named after the first female Irish pirate who voyaged her own ship, The Bonny is decked out with pirates, mermaids and octopuses.
Inside The Bonny you’ll find Midwest Glampers member Meghan Godsy, a Kansas City tax processing specialist, dressed as a pirate. Meghan considers glamping—glamour camping—the perfect connector of her love for camping and natural creativity.
“I’ve always loved camping and being outdoors,” says Meghan. “I’ve been camping since I was little, but there comes a point where you get tired of tent camping, so you get a camper.”
The ins-and-outs of a unique family tradition
Meghan and her mom, Sheryl Godsy, drove to International Falls, Minnesota, in the fall of 2017 to purchase the Prowler. The camper was in good structural and mechanical shape and only needed new tires, brakes and a little electrical work.
What she did next, perhaps only a true camper could understand. Meghan removed the bathroom plumbing and installed a “luby loo”—a five-gallon bucket with a liner, cedar cat litter inside and a toilet seat on top. “I don’t want to deal with everyone’s mess,” she explains. “You do your business, and you take out your business.”
One of the main bathroom modifications involved ripping out the wall to make the camper more spacious. The extensive kitchen remodel entailed sanding and painting cabinets, re-upholstering seats and installing shiplap flooring.
With mechanical and structural changes finished, it was time to let the real fun begin—decorating. To be a glamper, your camper must have a theme, bunting and throw pillows. Meghan painted the dining room table to give the impression of wood, decorated with the details of a map and sealed with acrylic. “Every pirate ship has to have a treasure map,” Meghan says.
She found her décor—a mix of outdated and modern materials—everywhere from Amazon to antique stores. Various items include teal curtains, starfish, a wooden treasure chest, a mermaid statue and handbook. While visiting Arizona, Meghan saw an artist’s mermaid paintings, which coincidentally looked like Meghan and Sheryl—so she bought them.
Meghan uses her dad’s truck to pull The Bonny, which is only fitting. “Dad started the family camping tradition years ago,” she says.
Michael Godsy, Meghan’s dad, has been lured into glamping fun and adventures with Meghan and Sheryl. Michael recently acquired his own cowboy-themed manper (the endearing term for male campers), The Bucky. The Bucky is the perfect complement to The Bonny and Sheryl’s gypsy-themed camper, The Emma Rose, and brings the family camping tradition full circle.
‘An expression of who they are’
Glamping requires assembly. Once The Bonny, The Emma Rose and The Bucky are docked, the Godsy family begins setting out their themed décor, which has been safely stored for transit. Meghan says it takes a couple of hours to get The Bonny fully afloat. Once at their campsites, Meghan and Sheryl launch into craft mode. Their favorite projects include creating outside light strands and wooden signs.
“Most of the time, we cook outside and enjoy campfire food, even though our camper kitchens are fully functional,” says Meghan.
Meghan enjoys camping and traveling with the Midwest Glampers in part because of the “no glamper left behind” mentality. Glampers ensure no member has to fix a camper problem by herself. The group uses a Facebook page to post information on events, buying and selling glampers and acquiring themed décor.
Glamping is catching on because it’s as individualized as the people involved, says Midwest Glampers founder Susan Sneddeker. “You look inside each glamper and think, ‘Wow that’s amazing!’ Their glampers are an expression of who they are. Personalities really come through.”
Susan says people join glamping groups to experience creativity, camaraderie, support and adventure. While some glamping groups are only open to women, Susan started Midwest Glampers in 2013 to include men, women and children—that way families could enjoy glamping. Midwest Glampers reside in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas and take turns hosting events.
“It’s not only a fun group, it’s a support system. It’s like an extended family,” Susan says.
The Bonny and The Emma Rose have traveled as near as the Kansas City metro’s Smithville Lake and as far as Florida’s Gulf Coast. One of their favorite trips is to the Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kansas, where glampers mimic a land rush to pick their camper spots.
“I’m tickled to death that she’s joined me glamping,” Sheryl says about her daughter. “Meghan’s a fun-loving gal and loves to travel, so we can do it together, or she can do it on her own.”
The Bonny patiently awaits her new paint job. “She’ll get the ombre look—dark navy blue to light blue, so she looks like the ocean,” says Meghan. “I have to build a masthead on the front to complete the ship.”
Sheryl has no doubt Meghan can tackle any additions to The Bonny and will find much treasure in travels ahead.
“The idea of women being able to do things on their own is important and part of what glamping is about,” Sheryl says. “Meghan has always been a strong, independent woman.”