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Nude Camping & The Stories of a Newfound Nudist

GREECE | Sunday, 25 November 2007 | Views [25785] | Comments [1]

Why Oh Why?



“Not once?”


“Ah yes. Now how about today?”

I smiled. Where I come from it’s taboo. It’s labeled as a counter-culture; a flower child, a hippie, a youth in the presence of a rebellious act. Those who do could easily be looked down upon, or they easily could not. But by any means, it is universally restricted with only a few designated, well fenced-off and signposted locales often far from view over the edge of a cliff or down at the entrance of a wild gorge.

She smiled friskily when I spread my mouth broad and parted my lips in laughter. “That’s right,” she reflected. “Not many nude beaches in America.”

The Far Sentinel

Entering Plakias in the south of central Crete, I spent my first night at the Youth Hostel run by a calm-mannered yet quirky British chap. The place was comfortable; six bunks to a room with about a half dozen little concrete huts. Travelers were kind, young and old from the expanse of the European Union. At eight euros per night, hot water showers, toilets, communal fridge, shaded lounge, Internet access and fellow compatriots hidden from the main road in an old tangled olive grove, who would look elsewhere?

Me. Yes, I—with tent and a knack for adventure disguised in the spontaneity of a Neal Cassidy on the road, literally.

I was in Greece, south within the Sea of Crete where I sought a little more adventure than what the Venetian towns of Chania and Rethymno offered.

I strolled down the beach. Winds gusted at strength to set any three-masted ship at a steady fifteen-knot sail. The seas in Plakias Bay toppled and kicked up spray in a whirlwind sprinting across the surface as though I were lost in the cornfields of Kansas during tornado season. At shore, sand exfoliated my legs and scraped the pores of my face and scalp. Leaning into the wind, with eyes shut, I was caught firm, my body at a seventy-degree angle.

At the easternmost end of the bay, during the last rays of daylight, I spotted a lone tent. In the foreground, some fifty meters before the single campsite, an old gent emerged from the rustling Mediterranean. He was bronze, balding, carrying a large rotund belly, and yes, he was completely bald at that. I did a double take, partly by accident, and concluded he was a late-day’s enthusiast in for a freedom swim after all had returned indoors.

At the campsite tucked under a large lanky cypress tree, a woman sat fully clothed.

“You can camp here?” I interjected the silence. I was surprised and excited to have stumbled upon this unofficial campground.

Her response was a look of dejection.

I rephrased my question. “Do you speak English?”

The young woman shrugged her pair of tan shoulders, which caught the folds of her loose brown hair.

I tried again, shortening it. “English?”


We were getting somewhere.

“Camping?” I continued. “It’s okay?”

Her response was dialectic, a Socrates at heart with a method quick and sharp. “Is it forbidden?”

This time during our exchange I shrugged my pink shoulders. Quickly she added, “Then yes, I speak English."

Nude Ramblings

Kirsten of Austria. She lived and studied in the city of Vienna feasting on the traditional veinerschnitzel. I returned the following afternoon and found her at her tent taking Greek lessons with regards to numbers with a local Cretan. The man introduced himself as Yorgis and what I instantly noticed about him was the extreme depth of brown that radiated from his skin. And besides this, it was all skin! Yes, he was nude.

“She speaks ten languages—a genius here.” Yorgis uncrossed his legs and re-crossed them.

Yes, I was not mistaken. He was nude.

“Ten languages?” I remarked disbelievingly.

Kirsten nodded as I looked down at her. “Yes.” She went off on a list: Russian, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Greek, Spanish, English, French, Czech and Hungarian. I lost track as I caught glimpses of my surrounding environment.

Around the three of us, scattered about the sun-beaten sand outside the walls of shade under the cypress tree, bodies were everywhere. They were in their full like the island’s spring wildflowers; like ripe bursting watermelons; like garden fences in bloom with a rich array of bougainvillea; like imported mangos and pineapples smelling sumptuously sweet in the pantry’s darkness; like the sun overhead and the day’s budding experience.

“Ten languages,” I repeated, catching a barely conscious feeling of true envy. Presently, the scene before me overtook it.

Large, small, thin, fat—your average, lack-luster descriptions. But the more I observed the more resolute they became—distinct and unique to the individual. Rotund, sleek, timid, boisterous, profound, perky, ballistic missile, kempt and unkempt, Rosetta, hairy, beastly hairy, a gorilla, quaint, flabby, jaw-dropping, creased, stiff, free, wilted, sagging, bald, elephantitis, reduction, slender, small and pitiful, youthful, firm, free and free again. The list, like the languages, rambled on in my head.

“So,” I began after chatting and allowing the eyes to wander, “Would you mind if I join you?”

An hour later I returned with my pack on my shoulders and the clothes still on my back.

And? The Return

Ah yes,” Kirsten said. “Now how about today?”

Unpacked and pitched, I lingered near Kirsten’s tent. The meltemi winds blew, sending branches in a tango of heated tempo. Sand often flew horizontally. We shaded out faces and braced our loose possessions.

Kirsten recalled a story she heard on the news of a group of young children who were arrested in America. They were around the ages of five and during a hot summer’s day, the youth discarded their clothing while playing in the sprinklers of their front lawn. Free, happy, youthful and full of innocence the kids frolicked until a police squadron pulled up and arrested them. They all went to prison.

“Is this true?” she ruefully questioned, looking to me as the succor.

“No. No way. It’s not that bad. Young kids run naked all over the beaches, especially in their own yards.” I remembered when I was young running in the nude, uncaring, feeling the freshness of a breeze combing the whole fleshy body, like bathing in a bath. It’s a weightlessness and a freedom. I presently thought back to the older gent on his freedom swim and those around us, basking—free; swimming—free. That feeling never left me, ingrained deep in a personality returning to that youthful freedom.

The next thing I knew, all off with the clothes! The robes, the shorts, the shirts, the bikinis, the bras, the socks, sandals, the underwear and boxer briefs—the piles in the sand! No more. Kirsten walked by me, as I lay wet on the beach after dipping luxuriantly in the Libyan Sea. “So, that was it? You didn’t even have to think about it?”

“They say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans.’ I’m on a nudist beach. Do as the nudists.” It felt good. I was home with my fellow freedom-seekers. She left and returned to the shade of the cypress, leaving me be with the others basking in skin, sun and sand.

With a beach full of naked people, there is nothing to worry over. People about are exposed with all their physical qualities. I recall the list...

And what’s funny, as I forget the number of hours and days passed upon the nude beach, my tent hidden under the shade within quick leaping footsteps across the sizzling sand, at last I found a place where it feels normal to be in the nude and where it feels funny to be clothed. Indeed, a return to youthfulness. Thank you fellow nudists. And may we camp together forever!

Now the Revolution!

It’s enjoyable to say the least. Alive with the present moment and spontaneous upon the adventures, I indubitably decided to join the scores of old wrinkly nudists from around the globe. I shed my red REI boxer briefs and became a part of the skin, sun, sand, and yes—the freedom!—revolution. Hallelujah!

Yes, enjoyable, but in the beginning, cautious. Talk about bare-butt white, one has to be sure not to lie out for too long. But what beats all prospects of attaining a sore-full crispness with a sensitive pink tone is to swim through the cresting seas naked. Being the clarity of bathwater tinted with that deepening turquoise as the sandy shallows recede to their depths, a swim with complete weightlessness and buoyancy matched with the salinity of that of the eyes is indescribable. Pushed by the current, slapped by the tall capillary waves, your whole body moves and flows unobstructed. It’s like showering in space, fully immersed in bathwater; cleansing to the skin, the joints, the muscles and tissues. Top of the list!

Back on land, four geese peruse the beach; two white, two grey. They’re like the silent sentry in for an all-day peepshow with free scraps of food. Together, often in single file, they waddle up and down and through the rows of lounge chairs clucking and quacking at the bodies they pass. It’s as though the four geese are commenting, rating the bare human forms they pass. One squawks. The other reciprocates, shouting loudly, waking the sleepy nudist.

Home base is shared with them under the shelter of the cypress tree. It’s near a constant freshwater shower tapped into a nearby river. With all of us, they seem to gaze at the bodies rinsing salt from their swim. Women and men shower themselves as if they were in the privacy of their homes. Likewise, couples anoint sunscreen upon one another, some glowing with a lover’s touch. Others seem not so personal, giving the observant philosophizer a glimpse into their sex life.


But it is not about sex nor does it carry the weight of sexual interest. There is none of this energy on the beach, and believe me as it comes from an individual with the practice of celibacy for a steady three years and counting.

It is neither arousing to be there, nor is it absent of the beauty of the human figure. In fact, it’s all the latter. People are full of self-confidence, assured by their beauty, and more and more as I look and stay within this environment (living it 24 hours a day) I see the body as the suit of flesh, skin, blood and form in which it is.

Within is where the magic of beauty, of something deeper than sex resides. It is sexless and solely founded in a pure Love for being human, being an earthling infatuated with this experience. And together, we’re a part of it, with whatever we have been given, with whatever we have created. We are here together, and so we share this with one another without a sense of pride or shame. You have it. I’ve got it. This Love is within this Life of ours.

When I find myself away from this environ, I catch a fleeting sense of homesickness. It’s enthralling; captivating to be in an open quality of comfort and self-confidence. I myself bask bare on my stomach, or be it the back, and rise to walk the beach, swim, gather things from inside my tent, or talk to those around me. We come to discover we’re from everywhere; Germany, Austria, England, the States, cities from around Greece, Italy, Spain and Canada. We’re here to be with ourselves, to be with everyone else, with all our distinctions, tattoos, piercings, sizes and circumferences. I’m naked. We’re naked—more naked than the geese and the fee collector wandering between lounge chairs.

Tags: Beaches & sunshine




Very well-written. I don't read a lot, and it kept me reading all the way to the end. Thank you for the verbal illustration.

  Daniel Sep 20, 2010 4:45 AM



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