Would you dare to go bare at the beach?

A thousand years ago, the ink was still wet on my college diploma and I was excitedly traveling through Europe with my best friend. It was summer, we were young, and we felt free.

Moments after we landed in the French Riviera and saw the gorgeous turquoise water and white-sanded beaches, we brazenly stripped off our shirts and bikini tops and bared bits of our body that hadn't seen sunshine since we were toddlers.

Of course, it was no big deal there, as in countless other parts of the world where it seems ridiculous to be covered up at all under the cover of such brilliant sunshine. But we were delighted to be reveal more than we would have dreamed back home, around the dorms, or even on the beaches in our own country. We tried to appear cool, calm, and collected as the palest-skinned places quickly turned pink and then a deep and painful shade of crimson.

Even through the eventual blistering, peeling, and embarrassing itching, we looked at our sunburned breasts like trophies of our own liberation. Plus, we had a lot of fun giggling about tanning our cans in Cannes on the train that took us to beach after beach along the coast.

Given the opportunity to take a vacation without my child to a tropical location where the culture and environment call me to be topless again, I would not hesitate. Even though my body has changed over these years and I've become a master of masking the flaws I find on my body, even though I'd definitely be slathered in SPF now, I haven't forgotten the bliss of lying on a tiny towel in the warm, warm sand. Eyes closed, arms outstretched, smiling and open and exposed.

I might be more nervous than I was at 22. But those moments and opportunities to feel that much sun envelope you are rare, golden, so worth grasping.

Do you have the confidence to go topless on a beach today?