The 2013 London WNBR was superb, well organised and very well attended, so many thanks to the organisers. Previous rides had about 1,200 riders, this year it looked like more. There were certainly more people in London looking on and as usual, their reaction was outstanding. No sign of people being upset, alarmed, distressed or even mildly put off by so many nude people. Rather I saw smiles and happy faces, children being ushered to get a better view and I heard plenty of cheers and shouts of encouragement. A good number stripped off and joined in including at least two tourist rickshaw riders and their passengers.
Yes. I’m a pagan. I tend to lean towards the Druid path, but that’s not so important here.
Pagans want to connect with nature, want to live in harmony with nature. That is important to them. Often pagans come together to perform rituals, and at times these rituals are done ‘skyclad‘. This is what it says: you only wear the sky, the air around you. In other words: we’re nude:
Spirituality is important to me, as it is for most pagans. It has nothing to do with religion, even when the connection between the two is easily made. Each can exist without the other, although many will not agree with that statement.
Spirituality, for me, is the touching of spirits. The spirit(s) of nature touching the spirit in me. For that I like to be in nature. You don’t go in the cellar to look for something you know is in the attic. The feeling of ‘nature’ at large is something that keeps amazing me. All that variety, all that power in things small and large, it’s fabulous. It is all there, you just have to open your eyes to it.
It becomes even more so when I experience that natural spirit in the most natural state: naked. It makes a difference. Feeling the ground beneath my feet restores my connection to the earth. Feeling the wind on my skin connects me in the most direct way to air. When the sun shines and warms me, that is where fire comes into play, and when I swim or when it rains on me, the element of water is there.
Of course, you can go into nature fully clothed and experience the spirits that way. Over time though, I have learnt that this would be the same as touching the skin of a loved one with gloves on; making love fully dressed; watching the eyes of a beloved through a reflection in a dirty mirror. That makes it all second hand, indirect, circumstantial.
“But in the wind you get cold. In the rain it’s even worse, you get wet and cold.”
True, those things can happen. Those things need to happen, they are also things that go around in nature. Not everything is pretty and the way we want, animals don’t stay cute and young – they grow and die. Flowers don’t remain in full bloom – they wither and waste away. So feeling some cold… well, depending on the season (this is where common sense comes in) won’t kill you. Feeling some rain won’t kill you.
This is what make naturism important to me; the direct contact with everything in nature. Feeling the bark of a tree against your bare back when you lean against it is so different from when you wear a shirt. Sitting in the grass with your naked behind: the same thing.
Being naked in nature also shows you your place, whether you like it or not. With your shoes and your gear you can trample through all kinds of rough terrain, disregard nettles and thorns. Naked, you will watch twice where you go because nettles and thorns will sting. You start to be much more considerate of everything there is. And once you’ve reached that awareness, you can reach the spirit of nature much easier than when you go in with your textile suit of armour.
Maybe you don’t like the idea of feeling that weak when you’re in nature. Man, after all, has ‘conquered’ nature, is the ‘master of things’. That is where so much modern thinking goes wrong. Man, master of things, can’t do a thing against an earthquake or a hurricane or a tsunami. Those are the large scale matters that show us our place.
Isn’t it better to start on the small scale, among the nettles and the thorns, to learn where we belong, so we don’t abuse the spirit of the place? So that we understand the spirit of the world, of the universe, as it connects to our own?
On June 14th in Zandvoort, there will be an attempt to break the world record skinny dipping. More information here (in Dutch). Money is collected for the hair-foundation, to help people who suffer from hair-loss.
Luckily I don’t suffer from that, but it’s a good cause, and also a nice opportunity to go nudist again.
Okay, this wasn’t a hike. It was a 5km forest walk, but a very interesting one. The route:
The numbers indicate the differences in speed per kilometre, nothing to worry about.
I started on the circle left of point 3, walked on to 1 and 2 and on until the end, turned back, walked back to 3 and on to the end, turned back and then went on to 4 and 5 (5 is beneath the left top circle – the end. The total was 5km, I walked 37 minutes. First off, it was colder than I thought. It was 6c/42F. This walk was near the town of Malden, in the area called Malden’s Vlak.
I found an interesting piece on a trial involving a nude hiker in Germany (original in German here on tz-online.de) which I’ve translated as well as possible in this post:
Bizarre trial around alleged exhibitionist.
Munich – A nude hiker was accused of exhibitionism by a 44 year old woman. The man from Giesingen was arrested. End of this: a bizarre trial with odd dialogues.
Just now the court pronounced Rudolf L. not guilty. But the 45 yo man from Giesingen still feels he’s been treated unjustly. “This is a joke, I feel hurt in my pride,” he complains. “This is a scandal, they should arrest the criminals.”
The “criminal” that Rudolf L. mentions is Anja N. She’s a film producer and she accused him of playing with his genitals as he was hiking along the river Isar in the nude. She was on her bicycle behind him and said how she saw how his hands moved in the area of his privates. “I do think that was not because of me,” she added. Still out of principle, “because I felt violated because of that”, she warned the police on that June 29th.
Schoes, backpack, sunglasses – that was all he wore
The officers came – and arrested Rudolf L. Little later he was formally accused of exhibitionism. This however was not confirmed by the court. Because Anja N. suddenly declared that she had not seen it all that clearly, it was more something she had deducted, that he was doing something unacceptable. Also she hadn’t even recognised him any more, she confessed. “Maybe I’d recognise him by his behind,” the 44 year old assumed. Rudolf L. in the courtroom however thought not.
Very different at the Isar. There Rudolf L. walked along rather undressed, Shoes, backpack, black sunglasses, that was all he wore on that day shortly after 6pm. “I was on the way home because there would be a thunderstorm,” he said. All the other sun-lovers had left already. “I was all alone.” At least he hadn’t seen anyone else. And even when: “From Wolfratshausen to Freising everyone lies around naked.”
“I’m gay, since birth””Then I needed to pee urgently and went into the bushes,” he reported. That was where the woman had addressed him. “I felt hindered as she interrupted me while peeing.” Shortly after that the police arrested him. “After that I was completely through with my nerves.”
That was visible in court as well. Still Rudolf L. seems to be devastated about the idea that the woman blames him to act against moral values. Even worse it is for him that the woman insists he had been exhibiting himself to excite himself. “I’m gay, since birth,” he complained. “I am not interested in women, it’s in my genes. I’m gay as they come.”
“I was ashamed to death”
That convinced the judge as well. Exhibitionism, so he said, was out of the question. Perhaps a disturbance of public decency that would require a “gravely indecent act” like “masturbating in public”. This however was not proven. Therefore the accused was acquitted.
Rudolf L. does not think that’s enough. “This is prosecution of the innocent,” he said after the verdict. That’s why he now wants to prosecute the woman. “After all, I was arrested. I was ashamed to death.”
Note from Paul: Laws about nudity in Germany are much the same as in the Netherlands. If you make sure you’re not offending anyone by just being nude and you stick to places that are not near the general public, you should generally be safe. Of course it always comes down to the local authorities, so check before you strip. Exhibitionism for sexual arousal, having sex in public and things like that however are obviously forbidden.
Monday, May 20th. The weather hadn’t been great but the temperature was not bad so I headed out. I am more and more getting into naked hiking and walking out in nature, therefore I had looked up a forest area nearby in Germany and went there. Luck was with me, an empty parking lot.
First however the trail:
I walked up and down quite a lot as I kept running into dead ends, and I wanted to get that full hour done there. And I got that done. Here’s the terrain graph. (Not everything’s captured, the GPS took too long to get a fix):
The terrain went up and down quite a bit, upto 120 metres/ about 400ft. I didn’t walk fast, the underground was often very hard to get through, and I like to look around and enjoy the area I’m going through.
The nudist in the forest.
It was truly a lovely time to be there, even when there was a little rain. No umbrella, no clothes, so no problem. That’s one of the advantages of hiking in the nude. Also: nothing is in the way. Nothing pulls, itches, scratches, is tight. Skin always fits.
This wildlife watching hut was my marker to not get lost:
Unfortunately it was locked, I checked.
Maps along the route are a good thing!
I had a great time in this forest and hope to go back there someday.
Well, that was wonderful. It had rained all day and finally the water stopped falling – around 8:30 in the evening. I was tired of being inside rooms and cars all day so I threw on something I could easily shed and drove off to a little natural area near here. It was about 11 centigrade, say 52 Fahrenheit.
I could park the car quite close to the walking area close to a house, popped over a path, walked off a little (don’t fancy upsetting the people here, I’m the one getting nude for me, not for them) and then dropped everything I had on. I had a bag with me for that. After all, it wasn’t really dark yet, so I felt I had to take some precautions. I walked along the path and saw rabbits hop all around, there were swans and geese, and also some wind and a few drops of rain. Ha, rain, another reason to go naked – nothing problematic gets wet. It was amazingly nice outside, even when the temperature could be considered low. Normally with 11c/52F you’d wear clothes, but I wasn’t really cold. I just enjoyed the walk, the area, the trees and the sounds. And of course the liberation from the clothing-maffia. The wind on my skin was purely pleasant. I reached the end of the trail too soon; I hit a road, so I doubled back.
As I came close to the car it had darkened so much that I just walked up to it and got in. Drove home in the nude, which was a first, and a great experience. After parking the car I did put on the training suit again, people in the street, street lights and such, and no need for trouble. All in all it was a great half hour and 2.8km/1.75mile walk. I’m going to do that more.
Thank you, people at www.truenudists.com, for the great idea – I would never have thought of this myself.