Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Summer of Nude / Naked With Friends Part 2

Its been a busy summer, aside from the usual work, textile friends and family obligations, I was also very busy enjoying my naked self. I got a late start to my naked summer but I eventually accomplished more as a naturist this summer than I did in the two years since I truly found naturism and managed to knock a few items off my naked bucket list.  Naturist camping (2 nights at Bare Oaks!), nude bowling (see my previous blog on that here), I missed out on the Nude 5k but maybe next year.  Most importantly, Tara finally joined me at Ponderosa for a day which was amazing. In doing so I noticed some differences in visiting alone versus with a friend so please keep reading as I cover that further below.



My summer started with a couple solo trips to Port Burwell, which if you are looking to be a true Naturist in Nature, the nude beach in Port Burwell just beyond the park boundary is really hard to beat.  I have been many times this summer and I never regret it.  It is definitely off the beaten track as it were but thats what makes it so great.  No crowds, no textiles or gawkers.  Just nature and naturists being natural.  AKA - Bliss. My good friend Tara also really likes it at Port Burwell.  Tara sees herself as being more of a home naturist/nudist, but has accompanied me to Port Burwell a few times now. At first just to be supportive of my journey, but she also has learned to love the idea of being naked in nature.  She still has some reservations each time we go as she experiences a sort of feeling of being exposed as she puts it.  This is not that much of an issue at Port Burwell as there is not often a large crowd there even on the weekend, and there are plenty of places you can find additional privacy if you want there. 

It was no small step for Tara to finally join me on a recent visit to Ponderosa.  Both of us live only about 20 to 30 minutes from resort so concern number one for her was the what if? I never really put too much thought to the possibility of running into someone I know at a naturist beach or resort.  But what if it were to happen? Just the thought of it for Tara was borderline terrifying and it took some long conversations to ease that fear. I remember worrying about this myself in my early days of naturism, it has yet to happen though and honestly I dont think I would be bothered by it at this point. It might be a bit awkward at first but seeing as you would both be there for the same reason, what is there to worry about. In fact I almost want it to happen, the more friends to share naturism with the better really. Knowing this was still a concern for Tara I let her decide the timing of the visit.  She chose a Saturday where she hoped she could be lost in the crowd, and was it ever crowded.  The parking lot was full, and even though Ponderosa has a generous amount of lounge chairs by the pool, every single one was taken however this was not a problem as we were happy to spend most of our time in the pool or at the swim up bar.  And we certainly got lost in the crowd, it was so busy but Tara did wear a large sun hat and a pair of big dark Hollywood style sun glasses, just in case.  With time and a few cocktails, she was as relaxed as she would have been at any other textile resort, even chatting with other couples. A great time for both of us.

Back in May I started dating a woman whom I met through my cousin.  We have since split, and no I am not going into those details, but I wanted to share some of our experiences in Naturism while we were briefly together as well.  My ex is an avid camper and for our first overnight trip away together this is what she wanted to do. I booked us a couple nights at none other than Port Burwell Provincial Park, not that I was planning anything, I just know the park and the area.  At this point I had not mentioned naturism to her at all but I was encouraged while at the parks textile beach when she asked if I would mind if she sun bathed topless (which is fully legal in Ontario where we live).  Of course I didnt mind and after a very brief hesitation I mentioned the nude beach a short walk away if she really wanted to avoid the tan lines.
I played it like I was trying to be funny and yet not only was she open to the idea, she was rather excited about it. With that I could now claim to introducing two new naturists to the lifestyle.  My ex took to it like a fish to water and soon after our trip to Port Burwell we were spending our rare days off together at Ponderosa. We were even due to camp at Bare Oaks together but sadly at the end of last month we decided to go our separate ways before that happened. We are still friends and while I doubt we will be going together again to a naturist beach or resort, at least not intentionally, just the other day she told me that while we didnt work out, she would always be grateful that I had taken her to the Port Burwell nude beach that day.

It is here I want to take this in a bit of a different direction. When I write this blog I try to focus on the experience side of Naturism  and not to get too much into what I will call the activist or political side of things.  How others enjoy or promote Naturism, or compare nudist versus naturist, or if there is a difference at all, is something I try to avoid except when it directly impacted my personal experience (i.e. Gawkers at Hanlans Point).  This may blur those lines a little but I wanted to share some subtle differences, others less so, in the experiences I have had as a single male compared to visiting the same places with a partner, in one case with Tara, a platonic friend who is a bit shy and self-conscious about her appearance, the other a romantic friend (the Ex) who is very confident in her appearance. 
When visiting solo to Port Burwell, Ponderosa, or Bare Oaks, I tend to keep to myself, go for a swim, sleep or read in the sun etc. At both resorts I have always found the staff went above and beyond to make you feel comfortable and welcome and I even hung out with some staff at Bare Oaks after their shift was over, good times.  However I often found when I went solo the other guests tend to keep you at arms length. Not that they were unfriendly, they smile and say hello or good morning but thats about it.  I can understand some women or families might have reservations about the single guy they know nothing about, its a sad reality of the world we live in though I do hope that Naturism is one of the vehicles of change in that area.  However on a few rare occasions I thought some people were watching me a little too closely considering I was as naked as they were, and not bothering anyone. I would either burry my face further in my book or go for a swim to avoid that feeling.  Maybe they have had issues and are justified in having their guards way up, but if you want to grow the naturist movement, and further normalize nudity as natural, you have to find balance for everyone. Or maybe it was nothing and I read too much into the whole thing.
When visiting with Tara the social experience was very different. Families and couples alike would chat and engage as you would expect at any public park.  People, both male and female, seemed to like talking about their first naturist experiences with Tara and encourage her to keep at it.  Not something I had ever really experienced nor did I ever feel we were under any of the guarded observation I felt when alone.
The difference when visiting with my Ex was even more obvious. It didnt hurt that she really enjoyed how natural it felt to be nude around others, she is very fit so she would draw some additional attention, from both men and women, at any beach or resort be it naturist or textile and she didnt mind admitting she loved it. She is very outgoing and social and she would not wait for others to engage in conversation, she would start them. When we arrived at Ponderosa we sat alone at one end of the conversation pool but soon after it was like that was where the party was. 

Visiting with both Tara and my Ex, I found it easier to be social than when I was alone and a lot more fun if I am honest. I am not sure how a single woman would feel or be treated in a similar set of circumstances. Perhaps it would be different for another single man as well, so I do not judge, blame or criticize anyone here. It was just impossible to not notice the difference between the solo experience and the couple experience.

I think I have gone on long enough for today.  As always I am open to positive discussion and feedback, even if its constructive feedback.

Stay Naked people!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Two years Naked and Unafraid.

Two Years ago I started my journey into the world of Naturism and its amazing how far I have come.  What was once a taboo world to me is now my day to day lifestyle to the point I am even introducing it to some of my closer friends.  Ill go more into that and some updates on what has become a very nude summer in my next blog. For now however, August is my "nudiversary" month, marking two years since my first trip to a public place that nudity is permitted. To mark the occasion and the recent re-opening of Hanlans Point beach after a summer of flooding, I wanted to re-post a combination of my first three blogs that detailed that first trip to the clothing optional beach that feels like way more than two short years ago.  My whole world has change in those two years and Naturism/Nudism has been a driving force of good behind those changes.
Hope you enjoy, and stay naked!

Newbie Nudist = Newdist? (First Published Aug 25, 2015)

I'm in what I think/hope is not an uncommon situation.  I discovered some time ago I like being nude, shocking I know.  Now I did the whole skinny dipping thing a few times in high school and college, but in my 20's I felt I was too mature for kid stuff like that anymore, either that or the opportunities simply stopped presenting themselves. Add in a romantic hotel stay here in there and you have my full nudist experience to this point.  But as an adult in his 30's I began to do some travelling for work.  When you are alone in a new city on a week night, you don't have many options but to hang out in your hotel room, watch t.v., surf the net, read a book etc.  You also learn to pack light and sleeping alone in a hotel room, pyjamas are an easy item to ditch to save space which is what led to shocking discovery, I actually really enjoyed walking around those hotel rooms in the buff, it felt natural and liberating.
It didn't take long for me to wonder why I didn't do this at home, keep the blinds shut, and be free in the comfort of my own home.  And for some time, that was it, I was happy in my own private nudist world.  A few years have passed and I never even had a thought of going beyond this, however that changed not long after I recently took a new job right in downtown Toronto.  Due to the proximity of my office to the Toronto Island ferry port, the annual
departmental picnic is always held at the parks on the island.  Anyone from Toronto knows where this is leading.  It was not long into the ferry ride over someone started to make the jokes.  Toronto Island is home to plenty of public parks, several beaches, a children's theme park, even a regional Airport.....and one of only two officially sanctioned clothing optional beaches in Canada.  I have known of its existence for several years but never gave it much thought until now.  On the day of the picnic, we were nowhere near the clothing optional beach, with this being a work event that was likely for the best, but that didn't stop the all too predictable jokes and comments.  And now there was this idea in my head, should I? Could I? Why would I?  But then something in the local news gave me the push I needed.
Three young women in small town not too far from Toronto were stopped by police for riding their bikes in public topless, however since the mid 1990's it is very much legal in Ontario for women to be topless anywhere a man is permitted.  For many reasons I wont dare dive into, it still remains uncommon for women to take advantage of their right to go topless.  Many people likely didn't even realise it was perfectly legal (including the police officer that stopped them) so it became a fairly large local news story for some time and even led to a topless march in several cities.  It was these three brave women who made me realise what a chicken I was being.  They stuck their nose up at outdated conservative cultural pressures which should not be difficult in this day and age but in reality remains so even with law on their side.  But me, a mid-30's man, who just happens to enjoy walking around his home with the blinds closed and no clothes on, was unable to take the same brave step, that I very much knew I wanted to take but was too timid to do.
So I decided, the very next chance I got, I was going to walk onto that beach and let the sun see my birthday suit.  Nothing was going to get in my way.......well except I wanted to do some research first, and there was the weather to factor in, and most importantly I wanted to pick a day it was not too busy as I was sure a large crowd would impact my courage.....but other than that, nothing was going to stop me.  Sadly it was the first hurdle that proved to be the most difficult for me which is what led me to start this blog.  While there are no shortage of nudist (or naturists as I learned they call themselves, errr ourselves????) sites out there, most deal with the do's and do nots and even the where, but I couldn't find many first hand experiences to help reassure me along my journey.  Oh and you can imagine the sites Google fired back at me when I typed in "nudist blog" and the like.  So here I am, never having written a blog before, or anything other than an email frankly, sharing my experiences as I delve into the "taboo" world of nudism.  I don't expect many, if any, people to read this, but worst case it gives me an outlet to express what I've experienced, this is not exactly the kind of topic you bring up at dinner parties or when watching the game with friends.  Best case someone finds a little support along the way that I was unable to find myself.

Tearing off the band aid (First published Aug 30, 2015)

So here I am, a stay at home nudist as it were, finally ready to take advantage of the all to easily accessible clothing optional beach a short trip from my place of work. The first step is never the easiest.  Being fully inexperienced in this area I turned to the internet.  Google let me down on this one, while there are plenty of sites out there with info, hell I even looked up Toronto Island's Hanlan's Point beach on Trip Advisor. Other than plan to be surrounded by more men than women, more gay than straight, and being a clothing optional beach, plan for fewer people to take that option than do, I didn't have any idea how this experience was going to feel or impact me. I was looking for the experience side and I never did find it really.
Eventually the cards were played for me. The boss tells our whole team we get a half day off work on Friday, which is so rare for me, as a reward for performance results.  It also happened to be a perfect day according to the forecast, very warm but not hot, lots of sun, zero chance of rain. So while the department made plans with family, reservations at the local pub, I prepared some sun screen.  All my failed research was behind me now, I had decided to just go for it and packed a bag.
The morning was a giant blur, most people were going on about their plans for the early weekend, I told some lie about visiting my sisters family for a picnic, mid-day came before I knew it, so off I went.  I had a change of clothes with me, used a local coffee shop restroom to change into a pair of shorts and a tank top, otherwise I am walking on to a clothing optional beach in a suit and tie, how silly would that be.
Before I know it, I am at the Island ferry terminal, waiting to the next trip to Hanlan's Point, a stark variance in demographics from those waiting at the Centre Island ferry where the children's village is. Its not a long ride over to the island, maybe 10 or 15 minutes max, then you have about a 15 minute walk along the path to the well-marked "Clothing Optional"
beach which is a tad awkward when there is a group of people all walking to the same destination which is still a bit "taboo" in my mind.  Based on the expressions on others faces, I was obviously the only one with "taboo" on the mind.  Soon enough I arrived at the beach access and I paused.....oh look, public restrooms and I suddenly have to pee. That was the last delay though, I now finally had feet in sand and as predicted, I was sufficiently surrounded on a not too crowded beach by almost the exact demographics as predicted above.  There was a fair amount of women too, not that I stared, either topless or also going the Full Monty.  Throw in a an equal number or clothed people who chose the clothing optional  beach and not the clothing mandatory one about 100 yards north for some reason, so really no surprises.
I picked my spot, an equal distance from anyone in any direction, still in my shorts and tank top.  How does one undress in public?  I had no idea, top first, bottoms first, standing up or discretely sitting down on my towel?  Am I putting too much thought into this?  Likely. Having no point of reference I decided to go the bold route, stood up, quickly dropped my shorts, shed my top and allowed the sun for the first time in many years to hit the full glory of my far less than perfect body.  That last moment I thought was going to be the hardest was a lot easier than ripping off a band aid, I felt really good about it actually, a huge sense of accomplishment. But it didn't take long for reality to set in, I was standing on a public clothing optional beach, having taken the option, and was standing there looking out on the water, and not doing much else........
Not wanting to stand out or look weird, I quickly grabbed the sun screen, gave myself a healthy coat, especially in the areas that I can no longer refer to as those where the sun don't shine, and started to lay down on my towel, but wait, do I lay down on my stomach or back first? Overthinking again no doubt, but I don't want to look like a newbie………… too late.

You always remember your first (First published Sept 9, 2015)

Once you are laying out in your birthday suit on a public beach, you end up doing a lot of thinking.  Some thoughts not too surprising, is the naked woman staring at me, does she think I am staring at her? Why are there so many clothed people on a clothing optional beach when the clothing mandatory one is not far away? Should I care?  And now what do I do?  I had been over thinking everything all day so I decided to grab my book and try and be as if it were any other day on the beach, just with a slight increase in exposed skin.
I was actually feeling very proud of myself. I've always considered myself rather liberal and open for anything, this fit that bill 100% for me.  I was very quickly comfortable and being naked was no longer a concern, perhaps still a novelty though.  Its hard to describe the feeling of being naked in public and truly enjoying it.  I went for a short dip in the lake, which was really cold, walked along the shore for a small distance.  I didn't really notice the people around me any more than I would any other day, nor did they seem to pay any notice to me.  It felt like any other day at the beach and I was loving it.
Being a Friday afternoon it started to become a bit more crowded as the afternoon progressed. The demographics did not change much, though the clothed people who must really like being surrounded by naked people seemed to be increasing faster than those who went in the buff.  I was trying not to let this distract me too much but it was hard not to think about it.  Maybe they are working themselves up to taking their swim suits off, which some eventually did, maybe they can't afford to go to a strip club and really like to see naked people in the flesh as it were.  I almost packed up and left early but I was determined that I was there to be naked and free, not worry about those who were not.  Thankfully I was able immerse myself in my book and ignore those around me, clothed or not.  My time at Hanlan's Point was overall an amazing first time at a clothing optional beach but sadly I was forced to keep it short, I had plans with friends that night and only had time for a little over an hour on the actual beach.  I was determined to be nude as long as possible though so I picked up my things, walked as far as I could along the beach until I got to the "Clothing is Mandatory beyond this point" sign and that was it, I was once again clothed and on my way home.

I didn't go far before I started to plan my next visit though, I was on the boat back to the mainland already checking the forecast and trying to figure out what day next week I could use a spare vacation day.  I was determined to try this again but I still wanted to stick with weekdays where there would be fewer crowds.  The whole time I was smiling though.  Its hard to explain the feeling of accomplishment, that you did this thing so many people may judge you for even considering.  You very quickly realise that you feel proud, not ashamed, you feel free, not exposed.  Although I felt awkward at first, that changed to comfort very quickly, and I could not wait to have that feeling again

_____________________________________

Hope you enjoyed this flashback post. Feel free to provide feedback or comments here or on twitter (https://twitter.com/NudeInCanada) and if you are in Canada and looking for a place to be naked, check out the Naturist Canada map I created and continue to update based on your feedback and suggestions


The Summer of Nude / Naked With Friends Part 2

I t ’ s been a busy summer, aside from the usual work, textile friends and family obligations, I was also very busy enjoying my naked self....