"Let's just be good friends" between a boy and girl doesn't usually work out like that. But it worked for Kim and I, and we are great friends. After graduating she was planning taking a year off to backpack round the globe. With weeks to go all prospective female travel companions had flaked out leaving Kim unwilling to travel solo. She then turned to me and said, "Look, you hate your job, you always moan and say you are going to do something different. Pack it in and join me!" And so the decision was made!
It could have been a disaster. There is a lot of intimacy travelling: sharing bedrooms and even beds in budget accommodation, sitting squashed against each other in public transport for hours, sharing water bottles, sharing bathrooms etc. But months into the trip we were completely comfortable with each other's company.
We detoured through the Caribbean and decided to take time out from buses, trains and tourist attractions and relax on a beach for a while. The guidebook described one remote but pristine beach. It took two changes of public transport to find the small roadside sign pointing to the beach. Then a very long walk down an ever-narrowing track. We were hot, sweaty and tired as the path eventually climbed the dunes backing the beach. At the crest of the dunes a perfect expanse of palm shaded beach and turquoise water lay below us. It was stunning and we both gasped.
There was a scattering of people on the beach and in the water.
"Err, is it my imagination or are they all nude?" I asked, squinting.
"Ummmmmm, I think you should see this," said Kim pointing to an official looking sign. "Strictly nudists only, no clothing beyond this point." That was one important detail the guidebook had failed to mention!
For some reason we took the sign very literally. I'm sure the nudist police wouldn't descend upon us and arrest us for being clothed, but we seemed to think it was an ultimatum, turn back or strip. As if to confirm, a couple of girls approached from behind, paused at the sign, whisked off their clothes and sauntered onto the beach! My jaw dropped and face reddened and Kim laughed at me.
"No way!" I said.
But on the other hand we both declared there was no way we were turning back after all it took to get here. Now, I've climbed mountains, skied double black runs, bungee jumped and rafted the Zambezi river but the prospect of exposing myself in my birthday suit on a beach and in front of others including my best female friend turned me to jelly. So we discussed alternatives. There weren't many apart from separating and going to different parts of the beach!
Eventually we decided there was no option other than stripping but we would not be allowed to look directly at each other! So there we were, on the dunes, back to back peeling off our clothes, declaring "I'm done, now what?" Heart pounding and some tricky maneuvering to avoid looking at each other we set off down the dunes, me in the lead. I felt painfully vulnerable and scared, aware that my pale naked behind was in full view of Kim. Then had a sinking thought. "How do I even know you are naked, you could be winding me up for all I know?" I called over my shoulder.
Kim said, "Oh God, this is ridiculous, let's just get it over with. Turn around and we will both look each other up and down. What the hell have we got to hide anyway?
"On the count of three then," I said reluctantly, heart pounding faster than my first bungee jump, mouth dry, dizzy with fear. We turned and our gazes were locked eye to eye for a minute, neither daring to divert. Then the ice broke and we looked at each other from head to toe, giggled, then spontaneously sprinted for the ocean, dropping our clothes, towels and bags on the sand, and dived into the waves.
Later we lay in the sun and discussed what we felt about our new experience. Like me she couldnt believe she was actually doing this and she went on to confide in me. I was surprised when she said she was embarrassed by her small breasts and straight hips and didn't feel very feminine. She found it hard to believe that not all men love big breasts. To top it all some idiot had once told her that if a man did like small breasts it showed that he was a pervert, lusting after the little-girl look. I worked hard to reassure her. I think I suceeded because in the end we even ran along the beach and flung our Frisbee in full view of the other nudists.
In fact Kim's body was perfectly contoured. She was not a sun worshiper so she had no tan-lines or tidemarks, just an even creamy complexion all over. Every curve was perfectly feminine and alluring.
So much so that I admit there were a few occasions when I came near to reacting in an embarrassing physical manner. One time Kim noticed, laughed and joked about hermit crab coming out to play and so dispersed any tension. But overall the experience was sensual not sexual. Being naked was so beautiful and pure. I can still shut my eyes and feel the freedom of feeling the tingling sun and the cool breeze caressing my body.
We eventually left the beach and never did go back to that beach or any other nudist beach. We both fell back into our normal (clothed) travelling routines. But we often reminisced about our magical day of freedom and how we now both felt totally different about our own bodies.
Recently when I came across Domai it stirred familiar emotions. The appreciation of nudity with no sexual connotations and the idea that being nude is the most beautiful and natural thing in the world.