At fourteen, the expedition leader on my month long hiking trip to Costa Rica made me vow not to ever go hiking with bare shoulders. Sorry, Diego.
The beautiful reality of traveling is that you start to accumulate on-the-road habits of the people you see and meet - ever chic Europe, of all destinations, is likely one of the more favourable to be doing this. So, just as I acquainted myself with people-watching in Paris and rollerblading in Nice, arriving in sleepy Solenzara on the East coast of Corsica meant picking up a bizarre hybrid of highway, beach and rock hiking - a combination which, had I taken the liberty of packing separate attire for on top of the generous picnics we curated from the main town grocer, would surely have filled a suitcase or more.
Instead, I broke the holy commandment.
At age fourteen, the expedition leader of my month-long hiking and community service adventure in Costa Rica and Nicaragua made me swear (swear) that I would never hike without covered shoulders.
Don't get me wrong, I could have sliced the amount of sunscreen I was wearing on my shoulders with a knife and served it on white bread, but yes - when one is hiking one of the world's most beautiful coastlines, time is of the essence. Crystal clear water is calling, and there's no ten minutes for tops and bottoms and belts and associated fuss. Over the course of our first day exploring Canella Beach and its surrounds, I think I incidentally formulated fifteen ways of wearing this dress - mostly attributed to throwing it on the wrong way around or upside down, tying it up to avoid rocks or tripping over, wearing it as a turban when Corsica's wonderful dry heat verged on explosive...
And I liked it.
Feeling Corsican, as it seems, is very different to feeling French (not only because of the social and political conflict there - I'll let you figure that one out for yourselves). There is much less of a focus on appearing chic. To be perfectly honest, nobody could care less what you appear to be. Corsicans are some of the most confident and comfortable people I've ever come across. Women, in particular, know themselves well. They know their values, their goals and their bodies better than you and I could ever hope to in a lifetime - I, for one, am probably not at the degree of security with my body that I can sunbathe topless.
Corsican women are the bronzed babes the world envies.
Now, I'm off to Trivia Night so I don't have to deal with my email inbox and pile of textbooks.
Our team name is Let's Get Quizzical.
Shot on Nikon D600