Alison's Writing Portfolio · On Culture & Trends · On Herself · On Places & Travel

Naked, with a Passport — World Hum, 6/10/10

…If I’m traveling solo and you ask me to strip in the name of an interesting spa experience, say, a Turkish hammam, a Japanese bath, I’ll start to unzip and unbutton. I’ll confess to feeling pride about this tendency of mine. I’ve always considered my willingness to peel off my skivvies at appropriate moments as my “real traveler” badge of honor, with extra points awarded since it makes me uncomfortable and since it’s not something that I would be willing to do at home.

Which is pretty weird if you think about it. I mean, why should it feel safer to be naked and vulnerable in front of foreign strangers than among friends and familiarity? And yet, it seems a common weirdness. There’s a whole range of semi-public-to-public naked activities that typically occur while traveling that aren’t in the category of sex tourism—spas, clothing-optional beaches, wet T-shirt contests. Many women do seem more willing to expose more of themselves abroad than they do at home. Does travel make it easier for a woman to overcome “the curse of Eve,” i.e., modesty?

It sure seemed like it did for me. Read more on World Hum.


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