The thing that makes travelling so amazing is that I am there. Other places are just someone’s home, someone’s daily grind. What I am saying is I am different when I am travelling. I am open. I am looking for new experiences. Every stranger is truly a potential friend, or at least an enjoyable conversation.
Take that breakfast in Stanford, for example. I woke in an empty dormitory, I think there were a dozen beds, maybe a few more, in various states of disarray. I had arrived late the night before, very late, only a grizzly old man was there to show me to my bed. I used the toilet at the end of the dormitory then slipped back to bed as quietly as I could. I took in my surroundings, we each had little lockers next to our beds. I put my document bag in the locker, along with my electronics – I wouldn’t need my phone until I needed to look for the next place to say. And I wasn’t sure about the etiquette when it came to camera’s and nudist resorts. Yes, I was doing the most important thing to do when you are travelling, I was trying out something new. I had an open mind, I would enjoy the experience. It didn’t matter that I was a little out of shape. I might be embarrassed for the first moment but then I would be fine. I would enjoy my nudity. I will be honest, the next morning I was not brave enough to step out completely naked. I wrapped a sarong about my waist. Silly thing, I am quite happy with the state of my lower half, but that was the half convention says men should cover up. My upper half is characterised by flab and freckles on pudgy white skin. My lower half is muscular with the right amount of hair.
I stepped out of the dormitory, it was in the loft of a beautiful thatched cottage, the steps on the outside. I surveyed the lush green lawn bathed in sunlight, a great place for sunbathing or sports. On the one end was a BBQ with a fire pit and build in benches. I almost laughed out loud at my imagined evenings drinking beer and wine with my new friends. On the other end of the lawn was a swimming pond. I laughed again at the sight of the swing hanging from the tree next to the pond. It was the type of swing you find in those paintings in the galleries with women in voluminous clothing exposing a leg for the viewer. How risque. How amusing in a nudist resort.
I descended the stairs breathing the fresh air, thinking about the conversations I would have at the breakfast table. I was planning to let others take the lead as I didn’t know quite what type of compliments were acceptable in such a place.
But all my imagined conversations remained in my imagination for when stepped into the breakfast room there was only a place for one. Me. All the others sleeping in the beds the night before had left at first light. A long journey ahead of them, said the grizzly old man, who was as grizzly in the morning as he had been the night before. So now I can say I have hung out at a nudist resort, but it ain’t a potful of experience as there were no other guests in all the time I was there. Oh well.