Meandering Naked in 2017

Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to the “Sporadically Blogging Meandering Naturist.” Simply too much on my plate as of late to keep up with posting as much as I’d like.

That said, 2017 was an extraordinary year for us on the naturist travel front. We started out the year in Australia spending several days at each of three naturist venues, Seclude in Queensland, BB at Byron Bay, and BoBrene, not far from Brisbane. In addition to returning to a couple of our favorite haunts this past year in Croatia (Valalta), Mallorca (Skinny Dippers), and on Ile du Levant (Heliotel), we made our first visit to a few new (to us!) interesting naked places, including Paya Bay Resort in Honduras, Lemontree Naturist Resort in Thailand, and an extensive trek through the Canary Islands where we finally visited Charco del Palo on Lanzarote, Gran Hotel Natura and Monte Marina on Fuerteventura, and a brief stay at Magnolias Natura Resort on Gran Canaria. One day, I will catch up on more detailed reportage of our naturist meanderings, but this is not that day.

In the meantime, I very much doubt 2018 will offer so many nakation opportunities as we enjoyed last year. Seldom do the planets align like that. But I post this gallery in hope that people will click through and support these naturist travel destinations so that these businesses will continue to thrive, grow and multiply, bringing naturist travel ever more into the mainstream tourism industry.

Best wishes to all my readers tor a happy and prosperous nude year!

Naked at the ends of the Earth – Part I

At this writing, I’m sitting on the veranda of my apartment in a lovely little naturist resort on Phuket – Lemon Tree Resort – one of but a few places where it’s legal to get naked in Thailand. Well worth the trouble to get here, but it is, indeed a bit of trouble to get here, which inspired the name of this post. As it happens, I love to explore and find places that I wouldn’t stumble into without some sort of incentive. For a naturist, that incentive is finding a new naked destination; good enough reason to spend a bit of time on internet finding a way to get naked at the ends of the earth. The main criteria for making this list is: 1) I doubt I would have come here had it not been for the opportunity to discover a new naturist destination, and 2) it has to be someplace I would consider visiting again.


#1 – Lemon Tree Naturist Resort near Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Thailand

IMG_2484This is my second visit to this fabulous little place, and if you look it up on Trip Advisor, you will see that the young couple that runs the place, Patty and Golf, have developed quite a following in their first 18 months of business. (If you keep reading the reviews, you’ll also see there are some interesting challenges in running a naturist business in Thailand!) But as reported, they are gracious hosts, and have found a niche market in naturism, despite the fact that they are not naturist themselves.

IMG_2437It’s a smallish resort, but the rooms are among the nicest we’ve seen at any naturist venue, anyplace. Well appointed, clean and complete with kitchenettes. The pools are also relatively small, but the water temperature is perfect for floating and lodging yourself – mostly submersed – in a corner with a good book. Getting naked outside the resort is tricky, though they do run boat excursions during high season to smaller nearby islands, secluded enough to make a naked picnic on the beach. My timing was right during my last visit to take advantage of that, and it was truly a perfect naturist day.

Patty tells me she is encouraged that they are already seeing a pattern of repeat guests, which is a good omen for the long-term prospects of this business venture, and good news for people who are looking for a naturist destination when it’s icy cold in Europe and the US.


#2 – BB at Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia

IMG_7919I was pretty consistent about blogging about our naturist trek that took us down the east coast of Australia over New Years 2017, but I lost footing about the time we got to Byron Bay, where we stayed in what I guess you would call a naturist B&B there, named simply, BB at Byron Bay. Debra and Michael are an intriguing couple who purchased this gorgeous home on a hilltop surrounded by green rolling hills just inland from the hippie haven that is Byron Bay. Our room was simply lovely, with a veranda looking out toward the sea, and we found an interesting mix of guests there that, like us, seemed to think “If I’m going to pay for a place to stay, all the better if it’s a place I can be naked.”

IMG_1437While adhering to European naturist values, (Deb had a few interesting stories to tell about various booking inquiries) this is hardly your typical naturist place, and it took us a couple days to figure out the routine of simply coming and going. (I think we actually set off the burglar alarm one evening!) Our hosts were truly gracious in sharing their home, but as is often the case when staying at a B&B, it took a while to figure out what was ours and what was theirs, especially during the morning breakfast routine.

But all that aside, the location was fantastic for exploring the beach towns near Byron Bay, while affording us a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to bulk up our photo collection of Koalas. I hear there’s some controversy regarding the continued naturist status of Byron Beach. Would be a shame should that become non-naturist as it was truly one of the finest naturist beaches we’ve visited with miles of walking to be had au naturel. Don’t know when or if we’ll get back to that part of the world, but if we do, I hope BB at Byron Bay, and the nearby naturist beach, are still alive and well.


#3 – Harmony Nature Farm near Rustenberg, South Africa

IMG_7336It’s been a few years since our visit to Harmony Nature Farm, and I think a lot has happened for Piet and his crew since that time, so I was delighted to see the recent update to their website, suggesting that naturism is booming in this unique hillside retreat about two hours north of Johannesburg. We stayed for a week in December of 2013 and were literally welcomed like family.

A stay in the local Hilton this is not! Accommodations are in little stone cabins that Piet and his father built one by one over years of developing their little naturist nirvana. As indicated on their new website, most of their naturist business is on the weekend, and we had to remain attuned to the sensitivities of the staff during the week, as social nudity IMG_9505is far from the norm in this part of the world. Piet took us along on his grocery run one day so we were able to lay in provisions to cook for ourselves during most of our stay.

While requiring clothing, the highlight of the week was most definitely Piet’s personal safari for us and one other couple who frequent the resort. It was a full-day affair as Piet forged the innumerable dirt roads of the Pilansburg Game Reserve outsmarting giraffes and elephants en route to the best watering holes. This is our only genuine safari experience to date, so we don’t have much to compare it too, but it’s difficult to believe it gets better that Piet’s version.

As a naturist destination, it’s a long ways to go to get naked, and even in the early South African summer (the week before Christmas) it was a bit chilly much of the time for total nudity, but a stay at Harmony most definitely provided a unique spin for our African adventure.


#4 – Panorama Naturist Hotel on Zakynthos, Greece

There are a few excellent opportunities for naturism in Greece, including nearly any secluded beach on a Greek island if the timing is right, but our visit to the Panorama Naturist Hotel on Zakynthos was particularly memorable, largely due to the people who run it. Natasha, her parents, and their little white dog Poochi won our hearts immediately upon arrival – once again, a case where a non-naturist family opened a naturist operation in hopes of finding a niche clientele. With so many repeat guests during our stay, it seems that was an excellent business decision.

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While not quite so far off the beaten track as Thailand or South Africa, what most surprised us about Panorama was how subtly it blended into the neighborhood, marked only by a simple sign that indicated Panorama Café and Swimming Pool. We would have never found it had we not know exactly what we were looking for.

As you will find in online reviews, the rooms and the food are basic, but Natasha’s cheerful personality made it pleasant and enticing for guests to hang out near the bar. And even though this is the quiet end of Zakynthos, we found several tavernas within walking distance with great food and lovely ambiance – worth getting dressed for.

IMG_7045As opposed to the vast possibilities on Crete, we found naturist beach combing on Zakynthos a bit disappointing, particularly by late September, though hanging by the pool proved a worthy endeavor, which is where we spent most of our naked time chatting up a few regulars from The Netherlands. For that alone, Panorama is most definitely on our “get back to one day” list.


#5 – Colina do Sol near Porto Alegre, Brazil

Many of our naturist quests have been spawned by the desire to find someplace dependably warm in the month of January, particularly challenging with the loss of some of the tried and true Caribbean locations. Since January is the height of summer in South America, naturism in Brazil seemed like the perfect answer.

IMG_0189As it happens, there are several naturist enclaves scattered throughout Brazil, though perhaps none as renowned as Colina do Sol in the rolling hills above Porto Alegre. The last time I mentioned this place in my blog was during our initial inquiries about the naturist scene in Brazil, which kept leading me back to this once vibrant naturist community. The whole place was the dream-child of one Celso Rossi; an entrepreneur of sorts who laid out the original plans for a community of cabins, shops with the basic amenities, and finally, a lakeside restaurant and hotel.

That post elicited a fiery response from an angry American who was part of a cohort of folks that sought to make Colina do Sol an American nudist destination. Despite hearing the stories from the Celso himself, it’s still difficult to figure out just what happened, but today, Colina do Sol remains a picturesque naturist community nestled in a lush valley of Brazil. The hotel and restaurant are now under new management and a new name – Hotel do Lago – and you can actually rent a couple of the cabins on Booking.com.

IMG_0223Our stay there was nothing short of pleasant and nostalgic, if not a bit moist with a good bit of rain and humidity. At the time, the hotel was still unfinished, but our simple room on the ground floor was adequate, and the makeshift restaurant-nightclub on the top floor afforded gorgeous sunset views over the lake. Were we to return, I think I would try one of the rental cabins, as many of them seemed well appointed with covered terraces and screened-in porches. It seems that in it’s heyday, naturism was a booming business in this little valley, and while most of the houses and cabins – perhaps 100-200 of them – seemed inhabited, it was very quiet during our stay. Not quite the mid-summer French naturist resort vibe we had been hoping for.

I’ll be eager to see what becomes of the new Hotel do Lago, and it appears there’s a new effort to make subletting the cabins a bit easier than it has been in the past. The place was an incredible dream, and alas, most definitely does offer a place to get naked in the dead of North American winter!

Watch for Part II about our travels to Corsica, the Canary Islands, Mexico, Honduras, and a very different naturist place in Thailand.

 

 

Nakation Chronicles III: St. Martin, Croatia, Corsica, and France (2005)

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Just now grabbing a few minutes to get back to my blog after our recent summer naturist activity ended quite abruptly and we re-entered the clothed and work-a-day world. And thus, on to the third installment of the Nakation Chronicles, especially poignant as 2005 was our first visit to St. Martin (SXM), as well as […]

Nude Beach Combing on Lanzarote

CANARY ISLANDS NAKATION: Part One

I’ve been reading about naturism on the Canary Islands for years, and in doing so, had all but come to the conclusion that once you clear security at the airport, you can pretty much doff your clothes for an all-out naturist vacation. Not entirely true!

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Morning walk near Charco del Palo

It’s easy to get confused about such matters, especially in Spain where the Spanish Naturist Federation has done a good job publicizing that “Any beach is a nude beach in Spain.” In fact, public nudity was not officially illegal anywhere in Spain until people started pushing the envelope in places like Barcelona – renowned for people roaming naked in the streets. And thus, today this most liberal of liberal cities has a specific ban against public nudity.

And so it seems to be that this is the way things are going with many Spanish beaches as well, especially those that are well known as family vacation destinations, and in recent years, similar regional bans are turning up in traditional naturist havens like Lanzarote and Tenerife. I suppose it’s simple math if you consider which tourist niche is likely to produce the most revenue, but not particularly good news for the traveling naturist, especially in the high family travel season of July and August.

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Not exactly a sandy beach – near Charco del Palo

Our home base was the famous (in naturist circles) little village of Charco del Palo, located about 45 minutes north of the Arrecife airport. I’ll talk a bit more about the quirky joys of this coastal village in a subsequent post, but I can say that it is well situated to get to just about anyplace you could want to go on this smallish island  – everything is about an hour away.

There is really nothing you could refer to as a beach in the immediate proximity of Charco del Palo, though we did enjoy walking the coastline each morning along the craggy volcanic sculptures that looked like they could have been from an eruption two weeks ago. But seeking out bona-fide naturist friendly sandy beaches would take a bit of exploring. Using the excellent blog by NatBliss (MyNudeBeaches.com) as a source of guidance, we set out for our first destination straight across the island to Caleta de Famara.

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Unfathomable beauty at Famara Playa

FAMARA BEACH

Aside from its popularity with surfers, Famara Beach is a also well known for its sheer beauty; a long beach nestled against the imposing cliffs along the west side of the island. It also has a reputation as one of the windiest spots on Lanzarote, though we were fortunate enough to enjoy a day with calm winds at low tide. While not exclusively a naturist beach, you can follow the dirt track around the vacation cottages and find parking right along the beach where textiles and naturists seem quite tolerant of one another. From a safety perspective, it was affirming to find single females there; including a woman with her young child.

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The tide-pool bathtubs at Famara

A bit of exploration on the way back home took us up to Las Nieves on the cliffs high above Famara Playa where we were clearly the only living creatures within seeing distance. This afforded a brief naturist walk along the mountain top for a few photo ops and some great views of the coastline below. Had hoped we might return for an early morning free-hike along a trail there, but we never got back to that.

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The view of Famara, from the top!

LA GRACIOSA and PLAYA DE LAS CONCHAS

Despite our delusions of grandeur, the arduous journey to this remote beach turned out to be a huge disappointment, at least in the “getting naked” category. The trip to the small island of La Graciosa (immediately opposite Famara Playa mentioned above) requires a bumpy ferry ride around the tip of Lanzarote before arriving in the quaint village of Caleta del Sebo – renowned for its dirt streets and modest accommodations for those who really want to get away from it all. I had read several reports suggesting that the island is so remote that one need not concern himself with any clothing whatsoever once leaving the village. I put that to the test as we made the nearly 90-minute trek (by foot) across the island in the midday heat, where we only encountered one passerby on a bicycle whose sneer and harsh (but indiscernible) words suggested things were not quite as laid back as I had been led to believe.

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Tranquility before the textile storm at Las Conchas

Playa de las Conchas was to be the promised land, and indeed, it was a stunningly gorgeous beach, especially since we arrived quite early when only a few others could be seen anywhere along the surf. But shortly thereafter, the hired jeeps began to arrive with throngs of tourists, as if there was a contest that day for the brightest and most creative swimwear at play. Within two hours, the beach was packed. A few 20-something girls settled nearby, gradually trying out the topless thing, and there were two other couples where the woman went naked, but the man remained clothed, (Go figure!) but by noon, it seemed I was the only naked guy on the entire beach. When a family settled behind us with an adolescent son who was either reading Tolstoy on his iPhone, or more likely, mastering the two lens feature on his iPhone 7, we found the inspiration to get up, get dressed, and make our way back across to the port town where a cold beer and the next ferry was waiting. Again, this may simply have been one of the perils of visiting on a Saturday in July, but a guaranteed naturist beach this is not.

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The long, hot walk to Las Conchas

PAPAGAYO PLAYA (Playa del Congrio)

We nearly racked up another letdown here, until we finally got our bearings and figured out where all the cool (aka, naked) people go. It’s easy enough to get confused. You either need to park at Payagayo Playa and make your way over the mountain bluff to your left, (north) or park near the oppressive campground at Playa del Congrio, and make a similar jaunt to your right. (south) Either way, you’ll stumble upon a beautiful little cove where we found about half the inhabitants to be naturists of all ages, including a couple young families. The beach was gently sloping, and late in the day, the surrounding cliffs were providing an option for shady protection from the sun. Had we not found this during our last day on the island, it may well have become a go to place for us. Certainly the most naturist friendly we came across in the sandy beach category on Lanzarote.

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Naturist bliss near Papagayo Playa

Can you go naked on any beach at any time in Spain? That seems up to a fair amount of debate. In fact, the municipality of Teguise, a town located smack in the middle of the island, recently passed an ordinance prohibiting nudity within its jurisdiction, which apparently includes Charco del Palo and La Graciosaas as well. I didn’t spend much time researching the details of information I wasn’t so eager to know about, but that would explain the reticence of our acquaintance Alan – a full-time resident of Charco del Palo – who urged us to use discretion with nudity outside of those places where it is expressly ordained. Seems that may well vary a good bit from one month to the next, as is so often the case when seeking out a vacation paradise with all the perks that would please Adam and Eve.

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Charco del Palo; where you can walk home from work naked.

NEXT UP: Nude Beach Combing on Fuerteventura

I hope you’ll take a moment to browse my other blog called:

THE DISCERNING NUDIST: Selected reading for those who prefer to live without clothing.

 

 

The North Side of Naked Mallorca

After a few edgy opinion pieces, I thought it might be time to get back to documenting our naturist travels, leading out with a few words and pictures of our naked explorations on the north side of Mallorca.

This was our second visit to Mallorca, and likewise, our second stay at Skinny Dippers Naturist Retreat; an idyllic little haven just a few minutes drive from the famous naturist beach, Es Trenc. During our first stay about a year ago, we were so mesmerized by the place that we scarcely left the side of the pool, lacking neither the energy nor motivation to get dressed and explore.

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Canova Beach

This time, however, we decided we should see a bit more of the island, one day setting off on a train excursion from Palma to a little German enclave on the eastern shores of Mallorca, then another day driving directly north to check out a couple other renowned naturist beaches on the island.

First stop was Platja sa Canova, a long beach stretching to the east of Colonia Saint Pere. Truth be told, I was also a good bit curious about the other naturist hotel on the island, Hotel Naturaplaya; particularly intriguing as finding reliable information about the place had proven confusing at best. In fact, it took me forever to find their website, and once there, to verify whether it was actually a naturist property. Even the chase through various threads on TripAdvisor were dogged by ambiguity.

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Only a 20-minute walk to the sandy naturist area

But among the advertised amenities was the implication that you could walk out their gate onto an expansive naturist beach, which suggested that if we could find the hotel, the expansive naturist beach must be nearby. Google maps helped us locate the property, but the search ended rather abruptly when we approached the guy working the front desk – strangely glib and a bit condescending all at the same time – to ask a few questions about the place and if it might be possible to see a room. (The room photos on their website are a little bleak.)

“No!”

OK. That was direct.

“It’s a naturist hotel, and we don’t have any vacant rooms!”

Yeah, OK. I get that. Of course, we would have dropped our clothes in a heartbeat if it meant qualifying for a tour, but apparently, that wasn’t on offer.

“You have a brochure?”

He handed me a business card. “Look at the website.”

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The mysterious Naturaplaya hotel

I asked about the allegedly nearby naturist beach, for which he gave us vague instructions for walking a couple-hundred meters in a you can leave now sort of way.  To be fair,  I suppose we could have simply been creepy people on the prowl to see naked Germans in their natural habitat, (It seems Germany is their target market) but at the same time, he didn’t seem too keen on attracting new clients, either.

We found our way to the seaside of the hotel, noting that it actually looks like quite a nice property, despite the fact that it sits right at the edge of the village in a residential neighborhood where you’d have to drive several kilometers to find a place to eat. We’re finding this to be a recurring theme with naturist places.

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The walk to the beach

Platja sa Canova is, indeed, a long beach that was perhaps sixty percent naturist on the day of our visit. And you could say the hotel backs up to the beach, though more accurately, the hotel backs up to some rocks that lead to a path, that leads to a long sort of rocky and marshy area, which eventually (think 20 minutes later) leads to a sandy beach which is where most of the naturists were hanging out. Adequate? Sure. A destination – nope. Not compared to the calm turquoise waters on the south shores of the island. But most peculiar of all…  by the time we returned to the hotel to retrieve our car, the adjoining rocky beach was crowded with what one would think would be hotel clients – all in swimsuits. Go figure.

After a “slow food” stop in Artá for a lunch in a charming little courtyard, we decided to check out another beach that had been recommended to us by our host Jordi. Cala Mesquida sits in a small cove surrounded by sand dunes on two sides, and a wide array of apartments and hotels on the other. The place was packed! But we had read that the naturists gather at the far end, noting once again that even the snack bar menu was entirely in German – which is typically a good sign when you’re looking to get naked.

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Cala Mesquida. Naturists huddle on the end.

On the scale of beautiful beaches, we give Mesquida much higher marks that the long, rocky Playa Canova we had visited that morning. And we did find the smallish naturist sector at the far end of the beach, perhaps representing less than three percent of the total beach goers that day, though I will say that of the age range of the naturists was significantly wider than that of most places we’ve been this summer, including a couple young naturist families.

A recurring theme for our summer naturist travels has been that timing is everything, and ironically enough, summer is not always the best time to be a naturist. It seems that when all the children are out of school and resort areas are overrun by families, places with reputations for full-on naturism tend to cave to societal norms and wrap themselves in nylon. Quite a lot more to say about that in my next entries about our expedition to the Canary Islands.

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The rocky shores near Platja sa Canova

In the meantime, is Hotel Naturaplaya worth a visit? Dunno. Neither the beach nor the “friendly staff” has made a particularly compelling case to pursue further investigation. Should you read this, have been there, and can offer a few more words on insight on the topic, I’d be most grateful for your comments. In the meantime, you can find us basking in the naked glory of Es Trenc on the other side of the island.

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Behind the hotel, on the edge of civilization

See my new blog where I’m creating a collection of particularly thoughtful posts written by other naturist bloggers: The Discerning Nudist

 

 

 

Naked Meandering Takes Time…

The last two years have been pretty intense, with a couple big projects that have required a lot of travel, and as a friend put it this morning, many instances where I could say “I worked two days yesterday!” That’s tricky for a blogger, given that the very nature of blogging is organized around a chronological sense of time and space. Challenging when neither is available.

I write this post from Skinny Dippers Naturist Retreat on Mallorca, which has the unusual feature of encouraging a sense of community as many (most?) of the guests gather around the dinner table each evening; where, of course, the lead-out topic of conversation is almost always, “Where have you been, and what did you think?” If that conversation takes hold, perhaps I will disclose that I am a naturist blogger, and the most enthusiastic among them will run off to grab his or her iPad to put – shall we say – a face to the name.

“So, you’ve written about this place in Hawaii? Or Greece? Or Brazil?”

“Well…” I say sheepishly, “I intended to get that done, but you know how those things go.”

But as of this writing, we are looking ahead to three more weeks of nakation, and there are few things sweeter in life than sitting naked on the veranda with a glass of wine and sharing your musings about past travel experiences. So whether you are a loyal fan of my blog, or you just stumbled in from the frustration of a web search where the term “nudist” pulled up all the images you weren’t looking for, here’s what lies ahead on the blogging agenda for the Meandering Naturist.

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On the edge of the big island, Hawaii

I wrote a couple posts about our visit two summers ago to Hawaii, but never quite got around to writing about the sweet little resort called Hangin’ Loose where we lived for a week in a yurt during monsoon season – or at least, so it seemed.

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The serenity of Playa Sonrisa, Mexico

And it seems that I’ve never shared much about our two visits to Playa Sonrisa, a quiet little resort so far down the Yucatan peninsula that you can (and we recommend that you do) take a daytrip by boat to Belize.

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Celso. The guy from Brazil with a naturist dream

And for that matter, I was surprised to find out that I’ve left virtually no trace of our visit to naturist Brazil whatsoever, despite the drama of the story of Colina do Sol, where we met the guitar playin’ naturist Celso to learn of the perils of the naturism business in 21st-century South America. So many stories to tell about that!

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Oriental Village, Thailand
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Near Lemon Tree Resort, Thailand

When asked if I’ve blogged about our visits to two naturist resorts in Thailand, (Oriental Village and Lemon Tree Resort) I had to search my own archives to realize that, “Nope! Those trips are pretty much missing from our travelogue.” Which is a shame, as I’m particularly eager to promote naturism in this part of the world most suitable for naturism 365 days a year. Thailand is most definitely that place!

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Walking to Tahiti Beach on Corsica

I knocked out a few posts about some of our travels last summer, but never really mused much about free-hiking on Corsica or our stay at the naturist resort Bagheera, let alone the subsequent visit to Vritomartis and a stunningly naked day on the tiny island of Gavdos – the most southerly point in Europe.

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At the end of the world, on Gavdos, Greece

I did, however, do a pretty good job in keeping up with the blog during our time last winter (summer, there!) in Australia. At least, that is, until we got to the last two stops near Brisbane at BB at Byron Bay and a local legend known as BoBrene. But that often happens at the end of a long trip, when you start gearing up for reality at home, and the diary business goes out the window.

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The view from the top! A naturist villa near Byron Bay, Australia

And finally, it seems I only gave a cursory glance to our long weekend at Paya Bay in Honduras, which I’ve taken to calling my new Caribbean Branch Office. Another case where we’re eager to simply get the word out about this little gem that has been flying below the radar of much of the international naturist community.

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My branch office at Paya Bay, Honduras

So that’s quite a lot of catching up to do, and as I reflect, quite a lot of miles we’ve accrued in getting naked on six continents over the past two years. Seems that our pacing may slow down over the course of the next year or two as life reinvents itself, but as any blogger will tell you, the best part of the process is living the trip over through the mind’s eye. If a confirmed or would-be naturist finds the motivation in these pictures and words to book his or her own nakation, all the better for the cause, quietly hoping for the day when clothing-optional vacations are as normal as a trip to Disney World. For this meandering naturist, they are most certainly a lot more fun.

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The idyllic little naturist beach on the Island of Rab, Croatia

Individual trip reports to follow in a quasi-chronological order. In the meantime, I always enjoy conversing with other naturists, so if you can’t find it in the search bar of my blog, don’t hesitate to ask Naturist Dan.

Happy naked wanderings to you!

 

In Praise of Aging Nudists

In my most recent post – Nakation for Dummies – I made a bit of a fuss about finding the right place to experience social nudity for the first time, including a few punchy remarks about geriatric communities and sagging skin. A long-time reader felt compelled to write me a long and thoughtful email suggesting that my comments may have been a bit harsh, particularly when you consider that we are largely indebted to these pioneers of nudism for having any place to go naked at all. Point well taken.

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As it happens, while my insurance company has not yet granted me the benefits the label of geriatric would provide, I’m most certainly getting closer to that mark each and every day. And I would go on to say that I’m a bit envious of those who are ten or twenty years older than I, as it seems there was a synergy and passion in those early nudist efforts that is all but lacking today. I remember those first naturist endeavors on the world-wide-web (Who remembers CompuServe?) that first made it possible to not only seek out places for nude recreation, but led me to meet real people as well, each of whom had a tremendous influence on our subsequent naturist endeavors.

There has been a lot written about the aging face of naturism, not only as that pertains to venues and clubs in the United States, but also for those in the large European naturist centers of Spain, Croatia and France. It is easy to neglect a few awkward truths that are frequently lost amidst overly simplistic statements about preserving nudist culture and recruiting the next generation. Having pondered this at great length, I have wondered if others have gone down the same rabbit holes that I have…

  • In the digital age, traveling to a protected naturist environment costs money! My reader friend updated me on the status of several nude beaches that were popular back in the days we lived near San Francisco, some of which are no longer clothing optional, others of which have been compromised by the fact that the naked people are out-numbered by the clothed gawkers looking for a cheap thrill. And that’s to say nothing of the evolution of high-tech camera equipment (Drones, for god’s sake!) than can capture clear digital images from a mile away. The security and self-assurance that could be had for free at a local beach in 1970 now requires a reservation at a luxury resort or on a dedicated cruise. That requires discretionary income. Who has that kind of money? The aging naturist, of course.

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  • Naturism is inter-generational, except when it isn’t. That is most definitely something we took from our summer vacations in the South of France – naturism actually can be an inter-generational affair. In fact, it was particularly heartening to see two or three generations of a family, from one year to the next, as the grandchildren turned into young adults. Seems that’s never been part of the American nudist experience, and we’ve never really noticed that in Croatia or Spain either. In fact, at the huge Croatian resorts of Valalta and Koversada, the camping area is all but segregated with older folks who have dibs on the beachfront camping spots, and younger families who pitch tents up the hill. I suppose it makes sense, really. The French people go to French resorts with their French families, and it becomes a family tradition. I envy them for that. With the naturist population in Croatia coming mostly from Germany, and those in Spain coming mostly from Great Britain, it all becomes a bit more complicated as far as family traditions are concerned.
  • There are perils involved in purchasing your own personal naturist hamlet! So you fall in love with a naturist place in France, or Spain, or Palm Springs, or Arizona, and you decide to buy into a condo or into an apartment complex. Maybe it will be an investment property, or even something you can leave to your family as a vacation home… except the local law of the land requires nudity! La Jenny in southwest France opened in 1984 with about 1000 chalets built over the following ten years. But what happens when the offspring don’t take a fancy to the naturist idea? This has become a significant issue at La Jenny when non-naturist family members want to come use the vacation hideaway, but aren’t too keen on the code of conduct which says, “Take your clothes off!”

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  • It Takes a Village… to make a Village. Especially in the United States, I believe this has become a particularly critical point. Like anything else, it requires a critical mass to provide a wide array of choices for various life-style preferences. Our most vivid experiences to this end have taken place in Florida, in one instance where we visited a “family naturist place” with our children only to learn of the unadvertised strong sexual undercurrent, and another “family naturist place” only to aggravate a less than tactful older man who quite clearly did not want children playing near the pool in his retirement village. But the fact is that when there are a finite number of people who consider nude recreation to be an All-American pastime, then facilities are challenged with being all things to all people. With literally hundreds of naturist centers in a space smaller than Texas, France has a marked advantage here that goes well beyond their laissez-faire attitudes about nudity. French people simply have a lot of choices! Wish that were true everywhere.

As I go about sorting all that out in my own head, it occurs to me that the age thing is perhaps the most perplexing conundrum in the demographics of nakedness. If you’re over sixty, and reading this now, there’s a good chance you have been an advocate for the free beach movement, or have volunteered at your club to fix the roof and paint the snack bar. Or perhaps you were simply there as part of the village to say “Naturism is important. Let us live and let live!” For this, I am grateful.

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Here at this lovely little resort in Mallorca, we met the most lovely man who spends a month each winter at Club Orient in St. Maarten, and a month each summer here in the Balearic Islands. Have suffered a bad fall, he’s a bit less ambulatory in his 84th year than he once was, but his mind is sharp and his humor is vibrant – if not a bit stinging at times. He left early this morning, and I think I can speak for others when I say a certain energy went with him to the airport. Turns out that when he was in earshot, he was the life of the party.

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Perhaps the takeaway there is that we really can’t measure the naturist population in calendar years as accurately as we might in the appreciation of one’s love of life, despite the condition of the skin that contains it!

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[A disturbing side-note: As I was searching for images for this post, I used terms like “senior nudists” or “vintage naturism.” What Google pulled up was some of the most raunchy pornographic images fathomable, most of which were neither seniors nor vintage. While I’ve been around the web enough to find neither the images or the search results particularly surprising or shocking, it’s no wonder people are so confused about naturist/nudism, especially when searching for reliable information on the internet. Bummer!]