I just spent the last two days naked with a bunch of strangers…and it was great!
I’d been to Harbin Hot Springs plenty of times in the past. In fact it’s become the place Francisco and I go when we feel like we need at least two weeks off but don’t have two weeks to spare. Twenty-four hours at Harbin, an incredible natural springs resort just north of Calistoga, does the trick. We camp and spend a full day pampering ourselves in the warm, hot, and cold spring pools, sauna, and steam room, among mostly unclothed people (Harbin is clothing optional) and return home completely relaxed.
But this time was going to be a little different. I was going by myself and to make it even more challenging I vowed that this time, rather than feeling it out (figuratively!) when I got there as to whether or not to wear my bikini, I would just suck it up and go au natural like most other guests.
Twice as much time there as usual, first time solo, and no…clothes.
Was I afraid of making an approximately 2-hour drive after dark by myself? Nope-been there. Of driving winding roads in rain and fog? Nope-done that. In fact, I’m the girl who moved 3000 miles away from home to live in my first apartment (in LA) without a financial safety net, who moved to NYC with $700 to my name, who flew to Paris alone, knowing no-one, and who has no problem being the center of attention. But here I was afraid to go from the comfort of two small pieces of fabric to no fabric at all in a place where it’s culturally appropriate, and where I’d done so before with a companion. Why? Because of the “what ifs.” “What if I get stared at?” “What if I run into someone I know and I’m naked?!” It’s amazing how much power we can give fear.
I procrastinated as long as I could and finally got to Harbin at 10pm. I checked into my room and almost convinced myself I should just get a good night’s sleep and start out tomorrow…but I didn’t. I got to the locker room next to the pools and was hoping it was empty- it wasn’t. And then I did what I’ve done so many times when I’m scared to do something.
I got sick of myself.
I got sick of hearing all the crap in my head that was keeping me from doing what I wanted to do, and as fast as I could I got, well…
And you know what? Nothing happened. And before I knew it, the anxiety I felt when everyone looked up as I entered a new pool, the sauna, or the steam room dissolved, and I had an amazing time. By the end, I even talked to people in the dressing room, while waiting for the sauna, full-on nude, and it would only occur to me later how I hadn’t been uncomfortable at all. I can’t believe it, but now it feels like much ado about nothing…and so liberating!
So what would I say to other frightened nudie newbies to Harbin (or elsewhere) who have decided to give it a go?
Arriving at night (instead of daylight!) can make it easier. Don’t feel bad about wanting to ease in.
Minimize the robing and disrobing between pools, sauna, etcetera- that just allows anxiety to come and go in cycles. Instead, once you’re comfortable, just commit to it and resist the urge to cover and uncover.
It’s worth it! What’s more relaxing- a bath in the buff or a bath in a bathing suit? ☺
What do you think? Ready to travel to a clothing optional spot? Already a seasoned nudist with a favorite? Tell us about it!