A tribute to a first time naturist experience at Vassaliki Naturist Club!
A holiday in sunny Greece
The chance to relax and release
The stresses of routine at home
And let imaginations roam
With warmth caressing sun shy skin
And crystal sea to invite you in
It feels quite natural to undress
And with your clothes cast off your stress
A naturist resort however
Is a different prospect altogether
And naked bodies all around
Was a little strange we found
So during the first afternoon
After venturing from our room
We sat self conscious in the sun
Ready to pack up and run!!
However it soon became quite clear
That other people staying here
Took no notice whatsoever
Of two more folk in the “altogether”
Henceforth we started to unwind
And stopped our minds trying to find
A reason for this choice clothes-free
There really isn’t much to see
And in future we would entertain
This style of holiday again
As two days is not quite enough
To fully appreciate the “buff”!
When Mark and Samantha Taylor decided in 2006 they were going to set up a naturist resort in Kefalonia Greece, they were initially worried about telling family and friends hoping for a positive response. But they didn’t stop to think the impact this would have on family that were unfamiliar with naturism.
Here, Simon Sketchley, Samantha’s Dad tells us how he felt about his introduction to naturism:
‘Forget bungee jumping, sky diving and swimming with sharks. These extreme challenges pale into insignificance when faced with the prospect of exposing my 55 year old untanned flesh in front of my grown up daughters and a plethora of equally naked strangers.
When Samantha and new son-in-law first came to me voicing their dream of opening a resort in Greece – I thought great!! – Holidays in the sun. Then the catch – naturist. Well, my head made a quick U turn, losing my daughter forever.
But when the call for help comes from one’s offspring, we all dive into the fires of hell to help them – wouldn’t we?
The implication became more apparent as I sat on the plane. I had not seen my daughter naked since she was 6 when bath time duties dwindled away. As for her seeing me naked!
On landing, my worst nightmare arrived. The resort was full and everyone was gathered by the pool. Stars worry about walking down stairs on stage, imagine walking down the same stairs naked??? As I stood at the top step, I held my breath and took the plunge.
Heart racing, blood pumping, I was greeted with handshakes and “good morning”, “nice to meet you” in various languages. No one laughed, no-one pointed and in short, the world did not end!!
Why are we so afraid of nudity? Why are we so worried about exposing our puny bodies? I found it a liberating experience and one which I have now experienced on many occasions.
Of the “100 things to do before I die” – this has got to be top of your list.’
Simon thoroughly enjoys his naturist holidays now and what a difference it makes to Mark and Samantha that they can enjoy the family visiting and fully taking part. Samantha recalls:
‘I remember Dad having his long lazy baths on a Sunday night and taking him a glass of wine or cup of tea, so I wasn’t too concerned about seeing him naked, but I was aware that I was asking him to do quite a big thing. My Dad is the sort of person to take on any challenge thrown at him though, so I wasn’t surprised he excepted it.
My sister however, I was used to being in changing rooms with her and was not worried at all, but I didn’t know what she would think and fully expected her to be very cautious. But within seconds of inviting her on a naturist holiday with us there was not an ounce of hesitation.’
Here’s how Caroline, Samantha’s sister felt:
‘The naturist holidays have become so much more than I expected, when I got the first phone call from Samantha asking if I wanted to go. I don’t think I really hesitated much, but I was at a stage in my life when I wanted to try new things and what better way to do that, than with the support of my family? Having done 4 years of life-drawing with my art studies, I wasn’t shy about seeing other people nude so it was only my own appearance that would be the barrier.
My first experience of naturism was anxiously walking to the pool in my bikini bottoms. I thought, ‘this is okay…I can cope with this’. So I whipped off my pants and swiftly dived into the beautiful blue water. It was great, so relaxing. The only problem I had was that I couldn’t find my sunglasses to read my book on the sun bed afterwards… Then it dawned on me, I’d dived in with them on my head because I was so preoccupied with worry!
A good few years have passed since my nervous introduction to naturism and it’s been taken over by a craving to get back to Kefalonia whenever possible. Apart from being able to relax by the pool without worrying about a wet swimming costume and visiting my sister, what really draws me back to Vassiliki is meeting the other guests who are always friendly and genuine. We have a great balance of time on our own as well as group socials, like the on-site barbecue evening, where we can all get to know each other better.
Although we have yet to manage to all be on a naturist holiday together, we got a taster when the family all stayed at Samantha’s resort for Dad’s wedding. After a friend had floated all the lilies in the pool the three of us couldn’t resist going for a sneaky skinny dip whilst everyone was upstairs getting ready for the service. We laughed a lot and still do whenever we are in each other’s company naked or clothed!’
Samantha just wants to finish by saying – ‘Go on, tell your families, you might be pleasantly surprised and get to enjoy a great naked future together with your family, not in secret!’
So what do you say when you are 2 years into a relationship and your potential “Yes” declares that when he goes to the beach he doesn’t wear swim wear and would you like to join him?!!! Yes, you did read that right and for some reason he had no qualms in declaring this. I say declare, but it didn’t appear that he’d worked himself up to making this statement, it just rolled of the tongue like ‘I prefer Chinese food’ or ‘Cornwall’s a nice holiday spot.’ Was I surprised? A little hesitant perhaps, but not surprised. It was in fact a running joke, even to my friends, that I would often come home from work and he’d be preparing dinner in the buff. It’s a nice welcome to come home and find the cutest arse making a gourmet delight – you should all encourage your men to do so ladies!
The next question was – did I go? The answer was “yes” – but in stages. We went down to Studland beach in Poole on one lovely summer’s day. I was really tentative, so to assist me, Mark chose a nice spot a little hidden in the dunes. At first I went topless because I had done so abroad and therefore had no qualms about it. This was all going ok, I felt I wasn’t on show and quite relaxed, so after an hour or so, I ventured to the next step. The removal of the bikini bottoms. Ever tried undressing discreetly on a sand dune? I’m sure I made a complete palaver of it, but he very kindly didn’t batter an eyelid and just let me get on with it.
Ok, so mission accomplished. I have to admit, I do remember reading the same line in my book over and over again in between glancing around me to make sure this was a reality and that no one was looking at me. What I failed to realise at that point was that this was by no means the end. Slowly, but surely I was beginning to feel a little cooked. I have your typical “English Rose” type complexion and therefore did not as a habit, lie on a beach and so by now I was in dire need of cooling off in the sea. But that presented a problem. I would have to come out of hiding and reveal myself to the rest of the beach. So I instinctively reached for my bikini bottoms but Mark, taking my hand, guided me out of the dunes towards the sea. At that moment, I think I felt a resounding empathy with those coming onto a theatrical stage for the first time. Admittedly I was not going to perform, but my upbringing, social etiquette and beliefs were at risk. What if I did like it? Would I have to admit this to others who most likely would not understand? What if I didn’t like it? Would that then get in the way of our relationship? A dilemma indeed!!!
This of course was ridiculous. Mark was proud of me that day. He would never have applied any pressure and was fully prepared for me to express a dislike. I have to say at this point I wasn’t won over. But then during the holidays that followed, when we found a secluded piece of beach or a naturist section, I sometimes joined Mark in nude bathing – sometimes I didn’t! For some reason, it seemed right when in a hot country, to make the most of the sun and not sit around in wet irritating swim wear.
The crunch came when we booked a week’s holiday in June to a Mediterranean naturist resort. We are the sort of people who normally do not go for the “package holiday”, so we chose a small-ish resort, bit the bullet and went. The resort proved to be ideal for naturism and epitomised the whole idea of returning to nature. The place was beautiful. It had lush green grass, stunning flowers and was impeccably clean – both in the rooms and all the communal areas.
We have to, of course, tell the tale of the first “naturist moment” – everyone has one!!! We decided swimming in the pool was the way ahead – somehow being beneath the water to begin with feels like a slow introduction to the idea! Even Mark was a little nervous having only been naked on beaches prior to this. We took our obligatory towels with us, but decided to be brave and carry them rather than wrap them round us, especially as the pool was a stone’s throw from our room.
Deep breathes at the door, ready, steady go…. And who did we meet? Two gorgeous female German models and a film crew! We believe someone up there was having a laugh with us! To this day, I still look on that holiday with fond memories – excluding the part where they asked us to play volleyball for the German television programme! When we looked apprehensive, they said, don’t worry we’ll blur out your faces. Mark’s response was, ‘it’s not my face I’m worried about!’
The memory that stays with me though, is the people. The atmosphere was relaxing, friendly and easy-going. If you go on a normal holiday, no-one speaks to each other, which is the opposite of a naturist resort. I didn’t realise until this experience, how much the holiday could be enhanced by the people you meet. Age and status was not a factor. People could not pass judgement on who you are, what you earn, whether you are fashionable or whether you rate alongside existing friends!
I also felt beautiful. It may sound daft, but I felt like my body was acceptable. I didn’t feel fat, didn’t worry about what to put on for dinner that evening. This made me even more attractive to Mark and confidence oozes sexiness, ladies!
Obviously this experience gave me the confidence to do the business we do now. It has also given me more confidence. Each year it gets easier and I wear clothes on resort less. It hasn’t changed me completely as a person; I haven’t suddenly become some extremist! I still love clothes and love shopping. I still believe I have wobbly bits that I don’t like. But I do worry about it all a lot less. I have a better outlook on who I am and on my life as a whole.
Each year we have had photographers out to take pictures of our resort with models and our guests if they like to take part. When Charlie was booked to come out the first year, I said that I was not happy to take part, but it took no time at all for me to feel comfortable with him and with what we were trying to achieve, natural photographs of people enjoying being naked on resort and in the sun. As a result we have a couple of lovely photographs we will frame and put up in our house.
So come on girls, guys, anyone who is unsure. It is something that is easier done than said, keeping talking about it makes it a lot harder as the idea of it seems so much worse than actually doing it! If you are already a beach naturist, this is actually a very easy step. If you have never gone naked before, I believe going to a naturist resort is easier than a beach. On a beach, anyone could be there, but on our resort everyone is there for the same reason and the atmosphere has been created as such to make you feel comfortable. I have great friends who never thought they could ever do it, but they did, so can you! Listen to Gok Wan, even if he does annoy you, he is right, we are all beautiful and can learn to appreciate that, by dressing appropriately for our figure and going naked once in a while!