I met her at the fluvial beach in Villafranca del Bierzo, a village I stopped in along the Camino. There was a music festival that weekend in Villafranca, and people were happily dancing, singing and swimming in the river. She – along with many other men, women and children – was completely naked. I had never seen so many naked people before. They all seemed so free and so comfortable with their bodies.
This woman was swimming and enjoying the afternoon with a group of friends, next to me. I watched her for a while. There was something so captivating about her. She did not fit society’s “beauty standards”. She did not have a perfectly fit and slender body. She had not removed any of her body hair. But she was one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen. So confident in her own skin, so happy, so free. Her light and carefree attitude moved me, and made me reflect on my own behavior towards my insecurities. I asked her if I could take a picture of her. She nodded yes, and put her hands up to cover her breasts. I said “no, your face”. She crouched down in front of me and smiled. I snapped the picture, and showed it to her. “Look, you’re so beautiful”, I said. She smiled, held my face in her hands and kissed my forehead. And said “No! You.”