When Lydia Buckler, Olivia Edington, and Ingvild Marstein Olsen met in 2012 while studying contemporary dance in London, they had no idea they’d soon be baring it all to each other—literally. It started with a hike around the biggest lake in Norway: “We had been for a walk and very spontaneously decided to see how cold we could really feel,” says Edington. “It was winter when we first lost our topless virginity; it was surprising to see how much your body adjusted to the temperature. It felt so natural, so free. We soon became addicted.”
As they accumulated more photographs, the trio started hashtagging their bare-chested adventures on Instagram with #thetoplesstour, an ode to the freedom and liberation of showing off one’s body in the great outdoors. The trio often enlisted the help of bystanders to snap the perfect shot—something not everyone was enthused about. “We get the occasional ‘tut’ and shake of the head,” says Edington. “In the beginning we found it difficult to approach people to take the photograph, but with the odd person not wanting to be involved, mostly everyone is super willing and interested in hearing about and being involved in the tour. We always seem to make people smile and laugh, especially when [we’re] on skis.”
The Topless Tour soon garnered an enthusiastic following: “Our fans are everywhere,” Edington says. “We have had beautiful pictures from across the world.” Fans have posted Topless Tour photos from San Diego to Cape Town to Copenhagen—a simple search for the hashtag generates 630 photos and counting.
Joining The Topless Tour couldn’t be easier: use a friend, bystander, or self-timer app to snap a picture of you and your group sans tops (no bras are allowed), then upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #TheToplessTour, or email the photo to email@example.com. Keep it PG-13 by showing only your back to the camera if you want to be featured on the Tour’s Instagram account.
“We love going topless,” says Edington. “We love seeing all the beautiful photos and hearing the touching stories—but what is so wonderful is that underneath lies the powerful message of taking pride in our differences and embracing the love for the body.” Of course if you’re going to bare all, the trio urges you take some precautions: “Really enjoy the moment, there is no rush—unless the police are lingering. Then hurry!” Here, the women of The Topless Tour share their top five reasons to take it off:
1. We should all be naked and topless a little more often. It’s good for the soul.
2. In a beautiful city, after the longest, hardest hike, in the bluest of blue sea, there is nothing better than soaking in all that beauty, sharing your body, your power, all that you are, and connecting with the world around you.
3. It gets you off your iPhone and makes you go outside and appreciate the beautiful world we live in.
4. It’s a rare moment where time just stands still. You feel so alive!
5. It’s so much fun. We dare you to feel the freedom.
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