Why feel burdened by the oppressive weight of fabric when you can run around the world in your birthday suit?
Nudists — or naturists, as they prefer to be called —have a network of international organizations that hold bare-all experiences all over the globe.
They can choose from clubs, retreats, resorts, campgrounds and cruises all dedicated to the naturist lifestyle. Or they can attend events such as these:
Running of the Nudes: In an effort to end the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, animal-rights group PETA has organized the Running Of The Nudes, www.runningofthenudes.
com. This summer, activists will unite to shed their clothing for the ethical treatment of animals.
Bare Buns Fun Run: Vancouver celebrates the 12th annual 5km Wreck Beach run on August 17. This beach sees some 500,000 visitors annually and, in addition to people watching, is a great place to spot a wide range of wildlife; wreckbeach.org.
The Superbowl of Nude Volleyball: Darlington, Pa. holds an annual tournament that sees naked volleyball players from all over North America spike and serve in fleshy competition. This year, it takes place September 6 and 7 at White Thorn Lodge (a private nudist club that’s been holding these events since 1971); www.WhiteThornLodge.org.
CRUISING?AROUND: Bare Necessities Cruises offer high-end, clothing-optional vacations through the high-seas. Naturists can bare all on these week-long cruises; www.barenecessities.com/aacruises.html.
Take It Off in the Tropics: Club Orient is an all-nude resort on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Targeted to families, this resort promises white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters and bare bums; www.cluborient.com.
In theory, all of these events and destinations sound like fun, but my prudishness betrays me. “Why would anyone want to vacation … naked?” I ask Stéphane Deschênes, spokesman for the Canadian Federation Of Naturists.
He explains that being a naturist means getting back to nature and shedding power of socialization. “Since clothing is worn to denote status and hide who we really are, shedding your clothes is liberating and lets you be you — imperfections and all.”
Hmm. Breaking free from society’s unrealistic standards of beauty? Challenging social conventions and getting comfortable with my own bod? Might take a bit of getting used to, but I think I could go for that. Maybe next time I book a holiday, I’ll opt for naturism and leave my bathing suit behind.
Freelance writer Julia Dimon is editor of The Travel Junkie and co-host of Word Travels, a travel documentary series on OLN. Contact her at www.thetraveljunkie.ca.