"Keep a diary and one day it'll keep you" ~Mae West

The Naked Traveller

Image by statravelsa.co.za

So there I was… Standing in front of a camera holding only a piece of cardboard with the words “Ehrard 4 STA” scribbled on it protecting my dignity. My heart was pounding while my exposed skin was pressed against the cold wall of a boardroom in the Grand Daddy Hotel on Cape Town’s cultural artery, Long Street.

Nudity had always served me well. By working as a live figure model for UCT’s Art School, it paid a good portion of my tuition fees. So that wasn’t really a problem but I had hoped to have left its stark powers behind. For this, however, I would need to invoke its shameless authority once more. At least this time I could keep my underpants on!

My nerves were really to blame on an unbelievable opportunity. The ultimate prize was up for grabs - worth losing everything for, even the comfort of clothes!

STA Travel South Africa in partnership with Chilli Adventures and Contiki were searching the country for their World Explorer. This lucky individual would spend the next 12 months travelling across 6 continents and 25 countries while blogging, seeing the world and volunteering on a journey valued at R 200 000. Out of almost 5 000 initial applicants, 60 were chosen. I was lucky to be one of them. Now the search was on for the wanderlusters who would occupy the top 5 spots.

So there was an undeniable need to be stand out and to (un)dress to impress!

"Hello my name is Ehrard Vermaak. And I am the naked traveller…" I started my speech that voters would base their decisions on, hoping that no other eager traveller had gone to this extreme.

This was followed by a rather unusual, albeit laughter-filled, formal interview in the buff with the three lovely ladies from the organizing sponsors. They told me that, at the very least, I was "memorable". Mission accomplished? I think so!

Image by hatsrack.com

Only time would tell if I were to be memorable enough to make the top 5. I felt confident that I had told them nothing but the naked truth and had nothing to hide…

Alas, my efforts were in vain. I was that guy. That guy who showed up naked to an interview! As if it was a dream, the ride was embarrassingly enough now over. But to comfort myself, the five finalists truly deserve it.

These 5 souls are now at the mercy of the voting public who will ultimately decide their fate - who will win the prize and who will stay in South Africa, stripped of their dreams!

Check out STA Travel South Africa’s World Explorer page to view the finalists’ and help decide who the ultimate World Explorer is.

As for me, I’ll probably wear some pants to my next interview!

Would you bare it all for your dream holiday?
-Published 31 August 2011 on gotravel24.com

  • 31 August 2011