On March 11th, 2020, POTUS 45 declared that we had a national emergency on our hands and that it was time to close the borders and stop the Virus dead in its tracks. My wife was trying desperately to reach me by phone as I was sitting — naked — by the pool at a little naturist resort in Thailand. When I called the help desk at United Airlines, the agent had yet to hear of the presidential decree as the news had just broken on CNN. I could hear her fingers flying over her computer keyboard in an effort to reroute me from Phuket to Singapore, to San Francisco, to New York, while her call-waiting queue blew-up from 20 to 2000 customers on hold. What the hell is going on?!
If you’re like the majority of humans, you probably don’t have a great deal of experience with naked travel, or for that matter, any form of social nudity. Perhaps you will find my musings on the subject to be curious or even perplexing.
I slipped back into the United States on Friday the 13th, where I met my connecting flight from San Francisco to New York with loads of time to spare, since there were few people waiting to board the nearly empty flight that day. At this writing, that was the last time I was on an airplane, or at an airport, or most poignantly, out of the country.
This is a blog about our travels, or more specifically — but not exclusively, about our naturist travels. If you’re like the majority of humans, you probably don’t have a great deal of experience with naked travel, or for that matter, any form of social nudity. Perhaps you will find my musings on the subject to be curious, or even perplexing. Without context, walking out the front door without clothes may seem bizarre, or even fanatical. I’m happy to banter on about naturism in these pages — (or nudism as Americans like to call it) — though a blog about social nudity only captures part of the story. And I already have one of those.
Having stumbled into Medium over and again through the years, I’ve found it difficult to click away from the words of experience and wisdom of so many writers who call this their space. The splash page boasts 170 million readers as a potential sounding board for inner thoughts and ideals. Opinions and counter-arguments. It’s genuinely daunting to jump into that fray.
I have found great solace on these pages in the people who express their frustrations with the state of dysfunction in all things United States government. I’m a liberal, professor type who most certainly believes we need to “drain the swamp,” but to be absolutely forthright, my wife and I have been completely gob-smacked that 74 million Americans would want to reinstall Donald the Swamp-Master for another four years of chaos. I’d fail to make anyone’s top shelf list as a Progressive, but I most certainly believe that Black Lives Matter, and I harbor deep concern over all who are relentlessly othered, both domestically and abroad.
Traveling alone affords one the additional luxury of invisibility, as you move through the narrow streets or wander through a forest, suddenly cognizant that you are inconsequential to the world around you.
I have found profound inspiration from those who tell their quirky travel stories from the far corners of the planet, which has encouraged me to share a few of our tales: about the train that pushes its way through the crowded market in Thailand every two hours; or the days we have spent with school children in Zimbabwe and South Africa; or the exhilaration mixed with a strong dose of adrenaline and fear when surrounded by two-million other humans on Rio’s Copacabana Beach on New Year’s Eve. As the saying goes, you can’t make this S*** up.
It brings me great joy to read the words of writers who can express the nuance and timelessness of those who are fully aware of and immersed in their surroundings, be that silently watching the surging rush-hour crowd flow through a European train station, or sitting quietly amidst the ghostly ruins of a Mayan village, only to ponder for a moment what it must have been like when the latter was as lively and bustling as that railway platform. What’s more, traveling alone affords one the additional luxury of invisibility, as you move through the narrow streets or wander through a forest, suddenly cognizant that you are inconsequential to the world around you. There’s a sense of relief when you realize your only role on stage is to absorb what is happening in your midst.
And in this moment, I am feeling motivated by those who are confident and clear-headed enough to meander without clothes. Volumes have been written about the overwhelming sense of vulnerability one feels when they find themselves naked in the fresh mountain air or while swimming in the sea, when the sensations of water and wind on your skin are given renewed life. But beyond that, I would like to think that a person who is willing to participate in social nudity has made peace with their own sense of being in an extraordinary way, fully embracing the beauty of the human body, while simultaneously coming to recognize that same beauty in one’s self, blemishes, bulges, and all.
Solace, joy, inspiration and motivation, all in search of a nexus.
Since I already have a blog that talks about the logistical matters of naked travel, I’m hoping these pages on Medium might find resonance in a different way, ideally for a different audience. In this phase of my life, a good bit past the half-century mark, I’ve grown increasingly curious, if not outright intrigued, with the study of humanity and all of its facets. People-watching in Helsinki, kayaking with my wife in Vermont, or walking naked with friends on a Spanish beach all share the cause and spontaneity of being fully alive. The things we can learn by listening to people converse in a language we don’t understand. The ability to observe and study a social structure of which you are not a part. The depths we might achieve in pursuing a sense of awe and respect for our planet. Those are the lessons most sought after by the most intentional of travelers, even if they are only naked in the metaphorical sense of the word.
People-watching in Helsinki, kayaking with my wife in Vermont, or walking naked with friends on a Spanish beach all share the cause and spontaneity of being fully alive.
At a time in the earth continuum when so many people are at odds with one another, I find myself grasping for those things that make us the same. I’d like to think that begins with the simple beauty of humanness itself, and from there, all the ways we seek to express ourselves, regardless of how we talk, pray, work, play, or express compassion for one another.
This is a travel blog that seeks that moment when intellect intersects with heart, in an effort to find meaning and order in that which previously boggled the mind. A concerted endeavor to search the world for naked truths.
I’m naked, therefore I am.