Nudist vacationing: the holiday of the future



I’m going on holiday. I’m excited. I’m packing my bucket and spade and anything I can find that’s constructed out of Spandex, but very little else. The airline I’m travelling with reserves its right to sell your internal organs if your carry-on luggage doesn’t fit between your teeth.

I foresee an incremental growth in nudist-colony holidays as baggage fees sky-rocket. Nudism is the way of the future; not necessarily aesthetically pleasing but certainly environmentally friendly and sustainable. Nudist vacationing would greatly cut down on electricity usage: no washing machines, no dryers, no pesky irons, just tuck your recycled bamboo flip-flops under your oxter, take a nice deep breath, pull in your abdominals for a fortnight, and off you go.

There are all sorts of nudist holidays out there. I inadvertently came across some while looking for a pension in the Spanish province of Murcia (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). You can mud-wrestle, bobsleigh or cycle, there are nudist music festivals and dance spectaculars, while in New Zealand they even play rugby in the altogether.

And there was I thinking that nudists were a retiring species who hung out in remote mobile-home parks, playing high-stakes table tennis, pruning their moustaches and hoping someone else will man the barbecue. The nudist holiday camp I stumbled upon in my internet search had some pretty lousy reviews. “This isn’t a camp,” complained one goose-pimpled user, “the whole place is nothing more than a glorified car park.”

I moved on, refocused my efforts.

In the pre-cellulite days
I did go to a nudist beach on Rhode Island once. It was some time last century, in the pre-cellulite days when everyone I knew had their own teeth. I went with my American friend Shari. Shari had cerise-pink cutoffs and glossy eyelashes and, at the tender age of 19, had already had a nose job. She said her old nose had messed with her confidence. Her new nose, however, knew how to party and didn’t take no for an answer.

When Shari pulled off the freeway and parked her mother’s shiny car by the ocean, I obligingly followed my sashaying, rhinoplastied companion on to the hot sand. We sunbathed, but had forgotten the sun cream; my hitherto snowy posterior later peeled away in sheets of unbroken parchment.

Remember luggage? Remember when people packed boxes of Daz and tea bags and Tayto crisps into their suitcases, along with spare socks and cautious cardigans and calamine lotion? And then, at the manual check-in, the ground hostess with the winning smile and the support tights would give you a stone tablet with your boarding information etched on it.

A brace of ribbed condoms
Now, we pack a disposable toothbrush, a brace of ribbed condoms, a Kindle and a Barcelona shirt – oh, hang on, sorry, that’s someone else’s backpack.

I travel light and grubby. I see other women in airports in high heels and well-pressed linen, with patent leather handbags on golden chains and lipstick to match their earrings. If you can turn up like that for a four-hour tumble-drier trip to hotsville, imagine the impact you could make in politics or high finance.

These are women with pedicures and insoles and socket adaptors, and the organisational nous to run a small republic. Bets on they have suitcases in the bowels of some scented carrier that offers leg room and eye masks, and flies to countries with coconut groves; an airline that doesn’t sequester your firstborn if you forget to print off your boarding pass.

I usually go on trips that require a lot of walking around back streets to find a holiday sublet that smells like lamb stew. These home-from-homes have in the past neighboured the apartments of a withered señora with an aviary of loud caged birds in her living room, and recently we stayed in a small apartment over a doggy daycare emporium, starting each day to the music of the pooches grating yap.

I’m dead grateful to be getting away, believe me; it’s just that I’m getting a little weary of authenticity. Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to line up behind a rep in unsuitable footwear and choose my food from an all-day buffet rather than make chicken noises in butcher’s shops with empty display cases and lug kilos of yams up narrow laneways because I couldn’t remember the word for enough already.

Anyway, I’m off. I’ll take one for the team, close my eyes and think of dear old Ireland while gingerly stepping into someone else’s mouldering shower tray.

Sayonara. See you on the other side.

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