I have passed the 50,000 word target for my November novel. There is a lot more yet to be written, but the pressure is off in terms of NoNaWriMo. As a result, I am turning to getting things ready for our trip to South America. We leave in less than a week. It’s not quite last minute, but it is close.
Everything I need will have to be packed in the black backpack that has served me for two Camino walks and the European Peace Walk, as well as being a grocery bag during our winters in Mexico. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t come. Since we’ll be in a warm climate during their summer, I won’t need much in the way of clothing – something that suits me fine. I take every possible moment that presents itself to wear nothing at all.
My friend Lukas from the Netherlands, like many of my other naturist friends, does the same thing, escaping to a warm place in order to enjoy the world while nude. The reality that we all face is that we can’t be nude all of the time so we do need some clothing, even when we choose to stay at a naturist resort. Most of us take our small backpacks to hold our clothes when we get clothing-free time. And, if you are like me, some sort of camera as well. You can never tell when a photo moment will appear.
Along the sea shore far from the crowd one finds the freedom to be fully oneself. While wandering down trails one often finds spaces that are rarely visited which invite one to risk being clothing free.
Is it worth the risk of being seen? If you choose to drop your clothing, even though you are in a secluded area one the beach or along a trail, you will eventually be seen. In my opinion, the risk is worth it. Being seen is not the problem. The real problem becomes where, how, why, and who is seen.
A woman of any age is never perceived as a threat by anyone coming upon her topless or fully nude on a beach or relaxing in a clearing along a trail. If there is any sense of threat, it is the potential threat from the clothed passersby. A man, on the other hand, is potentially a threat simply because of his gender. For anyone coming upon a naked man, especially older men such as myself or Lukas, the other conditions determine the threat level.
A man laying in the sand off the walking path next to the shore taking some sun is viewed safer than a man laying closer to the walking path. There is a sense of the man daring passersby to look. The motivation becomes suspect – the man isn’t there to sunbathe so why is he there? However, just the simple choice to put some distance which then gives passersby the choice to ‘not see’ makes a world of difference, such as the image here with Lukas reading. The path is visible and there is little doubt that someone may appear and see him. Yet, coming upon a naked man reading, obviously not reading nude simply to be seen, allows passersby to look away, smile, or comment among themselves about him. The threat level is mostly non-existent, and what small threat that does exist is from the passersby.
Once I find myself in Peru, and then in Ecuador, I imagine that I will find the right places and times to shed my clothing. Of course, like Lukas, I will be making sure that my nakedness is about my need for body freedom in a manner that doesn’t serve as a threat to others.