Well, This Is Awkward

Well! It’s New Year’s Eve, and we are all hastily wrapping up our Holiday festivities and tying up whatever loose ends remain from 2019. At least that’s what I’m doing. I genuinely did have a lovely Christmas, and I hope you all were able to find some rest and peace this Holiday season as well, whatever your tradition.

I suppose I should apologize for disappearing for… what… at least seven months? I am honestly a little embarrassed, because when I started out on this blogging journey, I had every intention of diving in headfirst, of keeping the entries regular and of consistent quality, of devoting more energy to being an outspoken advocate for naturism. Alas, life happens.

Eight and a half months ago, I accepted a job offer for a position based in Los Angeles. Two weeks later, all of my belongings were packed into a truck and my partner and I left Portland for an exciting new adventure in Southern California. The job that I accepted was one I dreamt of someday achieving and, while it’s not the end of the line for my career, it is an excellent jumping-off point for all sorts of new adventures. Hopefully I won’t need to move across the country again any time soon. In a city like Los Angeles, the job opportunities are plentiful, so I do have faith in my ability to settle down here.

So, what happened next? What happened next is that I got to Los Angeles and hit the ground running. I started my new job two days after arriving in the city, and there have been myriad life changes, adjustments, new relationships, and hardships along the way that have made it increasingly difficult to get back in the saddle and start writing about life and naturism again. In no way do I intend to disparage naturism, but taking the time to write about it is a luxury I haven’t been able to afford. Moving to a new city is glamorous on TV and in movies, but it’s messy, and hard, and scary in real life. For a while after we moved to Los Angeles, for example, my partner was able to continue working from home for his employer, but that ended abruptly a couple months after we arrived. Finding new friends, getting new doctors, learning new neighborhoods, getting used to the weather… all of those things are easy enough on their own but add up to a mountain of seemingly insurmountable stressors when experienced all at once.

I can say that I do really like Los Angeles, though, and not in the same way that I said it a few months ago, through clenched teeth, trying to convince myself that everything was OK. It’s a huge, messy, beautiful city, with a million things to do and see and twelve million people to bump into along the way. All in all, I don’t regret the move, despite a few kinks that I haven’t worked out yet

About that naturism, though. You know, one thing I was unprepared for when I moved here was the lack of accessible nude beaches. I knew that Black’s Beach was the closest, but at 2-3 hours away by car, it’s not the easy day trip that Rooster Rock and Collins Beach were to Portland. It’s such a shame that a city with as beautiful and warm of weather as Los Angeles doesn’t have accessible nude spots within the city. Granted, with my limited calendar and increased time spent getting to and from work during the week, I haven’t had much time to scout out any non-landed clubs in the area (if you know of any good ones for younger people in LA, please let me know!), and I even feel terrible that I haven’t taken the plunge to drive out to one of the neighboring naturist grounds.

That all reads as a long-winded excuse. For me, though, it’s a reflection on the things that come up in life that distract you from the things you enjoy, and that’s totally OK. But it’s also a reminder of those things I love and that I should make an effort to make time for them as life settles down again (I hope) in 2020. Let’s not beat ourselves up for the things we can’t change, let’s not feel bad about the things we didn’t have time to do… let’s just remember why they’re important and make time to treat ourselves to those experiences that we love, to hold close the people we care about, and to cherish what time we have.

A happy new year to all of you! May 2020 be kind to you.


Nude Year, Nude You

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always a hazy period of reflection, introspection, not knowing what day it is, and being confused about whether or not to take down my Christmas decorations before watching the ball drop on TV–what would Martha do, I always wonder. My thoughts and feelings about the previous year give me some guidance on how to proceed for the following year, but I am not a “resolutions” guy, at least not as a New Year’s tradition. I prefer looking back in order to move forward, I suppose.

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Rooster Rock State Park. Summer 2018

Personally, the past year was bumpy but ultimately satisfying. Despite my partner and I facing some financial woes (adulthood turned out to be far less luxurious and carefree than the Disney Channel had led me to believe) and health hurdles, 2018 was the year I finally considered self-care and prioritized my own wellbeing, which is an overall win. It was the year I decided that working 60 hours per week was not healthy. It was the year I decided to actively take care of my body. It was the year I decided to put more care into my appearance—you would be surprised what skincare and regular haircuts can do for your self-esteem. It was the year I got my finances under control. It was the year I made peace with being an introvert. It was the year I turned 29 and made some decisions about who I wanted to be when I turn 30. (It turns out the person I want to be when I turn 30 uses a softer toothbrush and conditions his hair every day.)

Among all the positive changes I made this past year, special consideration was made for, well, getting naked. This was the year I reconnected with a few nudist friends, joined AANR, embraced “nudism” as a label and stopped caring if people knew, prioritized making more visits to the nude beach during the summer, spent an entire weekend at a nearby nudist club for the first time, and—drum roll, please—started this blog. I visited new clubs, new beaches, made new nudist friends. I even casually looked into how much it costs to go on a nude cruise—I’ll start saving… *sigh*. The point is that I made a conscious decision in 2018 that I wanted nudism to be an integral part of my life, that I wanted to wear that badge with intention and pride. It goes hand-in-hand with discovering self-care: Embracing a lifestyle that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, whatever that may be, is the essence of taking care of yourself. For me, that just happens to involve getting naked. Hashtag self-care, hashtag nudism, hashtag hashtag.

This was the year I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t do things, and started finding ways that I could, from physical health, to mental wellbeing, to spending more time getting naked. Life has a way of presenting challenges loudly, but it also presents workarounds, albeit much more quietly. I’ll openly admit that I have a lot more that I would like to work on, and I don’t know what 2019 has in store for me or the rest of us, but I look forward to finding out and making the best of whatever it brings.

Final note: Don’t be afraid to prioritize your own wellbeing, don’t be afraid to take pride in your accomplishments, and get naked when you can.

Happy nude year, everyone. Here’s to the nude you.