What does one pack on a three-day trip to a nudist colony? It was late-August and I somehow found myself asking this question as I frantically packed my bag en route to a remote nudist beach in the south of Spain.
I was three months into a long-haul backpacking trip, and thought I had shed a lot of the fabrication of my former Sydney self. I’d slept in a tree house in the jungles of Laos and camel trekked through a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert. ‘I can do this,’ I thought.
Oh, how wrong I was.
San Pedro beach is a small slice of sand hugging the rocky coastline in the south of Spain. It’s famous among locals as a down-to-earth hippie spot, where Spanish free spirits shed their material positions (read: go butt naked), sleep under the stars and drink fresh water from a natural river source. (Christine Anu talks to Mamamia TV about body image. Post continues after video.)
Sounds exotic, right? I had visions of wandering the shore gloriously naked with a glowing full-body tan and overcoming the language barrier by singing kumbaya at night.
The reality: It was a shadeless beach with no WiFi connection, communal toilet pits and a ton of naked people – the ultimate place to really test how I felt about my body.
1. The first hour is the hardest.
When I arrived at the beach with three friends (one of whom was a guy), we felt like outsiders in clothing. ‘This is it,’ I told myself. No big deal.
But it was. I sheepishly ducked into our tent and popped on my bikini bottoms. When I came out I half expected people to gawk or whisper, but no one even noticed. I lay for the first half hour face down on my towel, trying to act cool but desperate not to expose my belly or boobs. (Post continues after gallery.)