Image used under Creative Commons: Birthday Cake by Will Clayton

It’s the roamantics’ birthday! It’s hard to believe it was two full years ago that I leapt out of bed in the middle of the night and purchased the domain that would turn into this site…but not right away. The best of intentions turned into three short posts the following week to family and friends during a trip to Vietnam, and then…silence. But then one year ago, on July 14, 2010, I started blogging regularly, through what’s been a hugely transformative year in my life and the life of this blog.

So when Mike and Lucy from 1000 Places to Fight Before You Die nominated me to participate in Tripbase’s My 7 Links project, I thought it would be a great way to celebrate the past year and highlight some older posts that new readers may have missed.

Tripbase asks each blogger who participates, to provide a link to a post for each of seven categories they’ve chosen. I’m mixing it up just a little by changing the order I list them in, so that readers will travel through these posts in chronological order, getting little snippets of this year of my life and blog as things happened. Just click on the post titles below to read each.

So since it’s a birthday party, let’s get the party started with a post about my birthday suit shall we?

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

First Nude Solo Getaway- Conquering a Fear

I had this experience during the one-month separation leading up to my split with my partner of ten years, and I’ll be writing more on this in future posts. I felt this one could have received a little more “exposure” don’t you? ;)


Your most helpful post

How to get a Good, Safe Tattoo Abroad

My ex and I took a trip to Rarotonga in September and it inspired me to write this detailed how-to. I’m proud to call it a must-read for anyone considering ink.


A post whose success surprised you

Out of the Mouths of Babes: Travel Lessons

There’s a saying that goes “No man is a friend, no man is an enemy, every man is a teacher.” I learned a few things from some tiny “men” in my life during my separation, and it was a hit.


Your most beautiful post

Squatting in Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Having just split, this post was a birthday tribute to a happier birthday past. I chose it as most beautiful for the sentiment, the writing, and the photos.


The post that you are most proud of

And Then There Was One

I’m most proud of this post on so many levels. First, I’m proud that I had the courage to change the course of my life after ten years when I was deeply enmeshed but it wasn’t working anymore. Second, I started this blog because I wanted to get over my intense fear of putting my solo creativity on display, as I’d avoided doing so by being a creative collaborator my whole life. With this post, I took my boldest creative leap ever (to me) at the most emotionally difficult time possible. I’m proud of that! Third, I’m proud of the blogging community & readers for demonstrating what incredibly supportive, compassionate, thoughtful, inspirational, and kind people you are through the comments on it. So glad to be among you!

Your most popular post

Cute + Green = Creen! Buying a Creen House on Wheels

Newly single, I cooked up a plan for my first big solo adventure, an epic road trip with an eco-minded, minimalist twist… and the support for my tiny new life was huge!


Your most controversial post

The Vancouver Riot- Thoughts and Photos

I don’t really write extremely controversial posts, but on my first stop on my road trip, I experienced a massive riot that had me reflecting on how negative experiences can color our perceptions of places. For some the riot did that, for me…


It was quite a year. I learned how to tweet, to make a blog, endured a breakup of a long-term marriage, made genuine friends, learned from, got inspired by and processed through this blog, received and offered support, overcame enormous fears through it, sold everything, made a new home on wheels, and now I’ve started sharing my biggest dreams in life- I’ve taken off to travel indefinitely with this blog. I can’t wait to see what roam antics this year holds and I really hope you’ll stick around to find out as I do. We’re just getting started! Now let’s eat some cake while these awesome bloggers I’m nominating put together their 7 links. Cheers and Thanks so much!

Locationless

One Step 4ward

35 Summers

A Cruising Couple

Quirky Travel Guy

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.

Harbin Hot Springs by Luiza Leite Photography (www.luizaleite.com)

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…

NAKED!

Image used under Creative Commons: nUde? by 27147 Sippanont Samchai.

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?

Section-2 Sign Project Clothes Optional by Ellen McCaskill

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!

© 2011 the roamantics. header photos by alegre rivas Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha