This is the untold story of my trip to Australia. (You know, the bits dealing with all the nudity.) I'll be writing it in 10 parts through the rest of the winter. I encourage you to follow along because there are many important lessons to be learned from it. Also, it offers a peek into Australian nudism and the tells the story of my lonely, persistent journey into social nudism.
Sometimes, life can put you in some very unique situations. As I was finishing my bachelors degree, I was having a lot of trouble finding a good job. Just as I was giving up hope, I got an email from the university: Something like "most of you have already found jobs or graduate programs, and we wish you the best of luck on your future careers. However, if you don't fit into either category, you may want to consider our masters program." Their timing was perfect -- I signed up. There was just one issue -- the program requires a semester of study in either frosty Europe or sunny Australia. I ended up being the first person from my university to go to JCU in Townsville, Australia.
I spent the fall semester of 2006 on the other side of the world. I had no idea what to expect since I was the first person to be sent there, I had a shoestring budget, and my family, girlfriend, and everything that I knew was 8,000 miles away. Keeping in contact was difficult, because the phone system was expensive and nearly impossible to use, and internet wasn't cheap. (JCU charged $22 AUD per gigabyte, so Skype was certainly not an option.) My main forms of communication were a blog, photo album, email, and IM. Anyone who knows me personally can have a link the first two, if they ask, but they only cover half of the story. (The other half is here.)
I had three main goals during my stay:
1. Do well in school (to keep my 4.0).
2. Do as much as I can as a poor temporary local. (Don't be a tourist!)
3. Visit every nude beach I can.
I have been interested in nudism for many years previously, and often went nude at home. I have never before been nude outside, but I knew this was the place to try it. Australia has a lot of legal nude beaches, and the beaches are paradise. Townsville is in the tropical north-east, where the tropical rain-forest meets the big white sandy beaches, and where the big white sandy beaches meet the clear water and great barrier reef. This place was just as beautiful as any other pacific island. Every day was sunny (about 5 rainy days during my 5 month stay) and the temperatures were perfect (highs of 75 to 88F year-round). This was the perfect place to be nude, so I knew I had to try it!
Come to find out, Queensland is the ONLY state in Australia that has NO legal nude beaches! In fact, Queensland doesn't even allow topless sunbathing at their beaches. Bummer!
However, here are some other neat facts:
- There are over 10 porn shops in Townsville, many along main roads and brightly decorated. (One was right across from a candy shop full of kids!)
- Australia's media allows nudity, both on TV and in magazines, so it seems to not be as big of a deal as the laws make it out to be. I picked up a few postcards that have topless women on the beaches from a tourist store.
- Nobody that I saw at the Townsville beaches went top-free, and very few wore anything revealing.
- There are a lot of laws for a lot of little things! But...
- There is a sense of lawlessness, especially once you get outside the city.
- There really isn't much civilization outside the cities, and there are so many beaches and trails that it's easy to have one to yourself. (Therefore, it's difficult and not worth the time for police to patrol anything outside the city.)
My first stop was only a ferry-ride away -- Magnetic Island.
* Picture is of Townsville, with Castle Hill in the middle of town and Magnetic Island in the distance. Taken at the break of dawn from Mt. Stuart.