I have almost always been drawn to naturism. And for most of my adult life I have practiced nudism both publicly and privately. But it was not until I move to a nude-restrictive place where nudity in most any form is frowned up that my passion for the practice kicked into high gear.
From nudist paradise
A year ago I moved from the relatively nude-positive southern coast of Spain. Living in the center of the city of Malaga, I had several sanctioned nude beaches to choose from within a 30-minute drive or less. I often rode my bicycle to one beach which was not officially nudist, but where most goers basked clothes-free on the little-trafficked sand. The particular beach sat between two branches of a river bordered by a nature preserve. So the relative isolation meant few people took the time nor made the effort to visit it. And so, naturism could be enjoyed without much problem.
However, another beach near the heart of the city also afforded opportunities for naked recreation. This beach was part of what had once been a large private spa club with tennis courts and a charming canteen. The primary stretch of sand there was visible from the coastal highway and was not clothing-optional. But a smaller stretched tucked around the side of the small peninsula of the property presented no such restriction. Like the river delta beach, it was not officially clothing-optional. But nudity was allowed there.
In fact on one of my last weekends in the city, I joined a group of nudist group my spouse discovered on Facebook for a picnic at that beach. While we sat there chewing the fat, singing a bit and generally delighting in the feel of nudist camaraderie of new acquaintances someone decided to light a small campfire. Eventually, a couple of officers of the national police appeared. They said nothing about the fact that we were longing nude in what was not a clothing-optional space. Their concern was only for the unauthorized campfire on a public beach.
Moreover, during periods of warm weather, I spent time nude on the terrace and balconies of my city-center apartment. When on the street facing balcony of my second floor flat, pedestrians and neighbors could easily see me. This included people parking in the above street public garage facing my building. Many people saw me nude and most just smile and continued on. Some waved or gave a nod. No one ever seemed the least bit bothered or offended. Also in southern Spain, I was occasionally nude in mountainous areas while trekking.
To a nude-restrictive place
Fast forward to a life in Thailand. The more traditional and conservative north rather than the tourist enclaves of the south where locals often turn a blind eye to shenanigans of income-generating foreigners. In Chiang Mai, I quickly discovered that what went practically unnoticed in Spain would prompt dramatic reactions here. While living in yet another second floor flat, I sat on my balcony one afternoon taking in the pickup baseball game on the adjacent field. I thought no one had noticed me honestly. But when I stood up to go back inside, my lower half — more than half really as I’m all legs — became visible. The gasps, unintelligible calls — at least to my non-Thai-speaking ears, — and quick turns away from my direction told me that being seen nude was not common here.
After asking around to those who either native or had spent more time in norther Thailand, I was told in no-uncertain terms to forget about any form of public nudity here. It was not only completely illegal in all circumstances but culturally unacceptable. Thai acquaintances informed me that they would never consider being nude anywhere outside of showering. They mentioned one gay sauna that had naked nights a couple of times a month within the safety of their walled gardens. Even then, the local guys would keep at least one hand over their genitals at all times. I have since seen for myself that this is true.
Fortunately, after a few months I learned about a clothing-optional resort hotel (The Oriental Village) some ways outside the city. And later, another opened (Freedom Sky Resort). So I have been able to enjoy some nude leisure time outside my own house. Of course me being me, I have also been nude while hiking in Thailand risking fine and deportation.
An activist is born
We do not miss something until it is gone. Or so the conventional wisdom goes. In the case of naturism, this was exceedingly true for me. Despite years of being a bare practitioner, I never identified as a nudist until naturism became difficult to engage in. I realized how much I crave being nude and to not be limited to doing so at home. Feeling the sunshine and the fresh air on all parts of my body is something that I love. I like the comfort of swimming without the weight of clingy, wet clothing.
I soon began seeking out other nudist both locally and virtually. This led me to online groups, associations, websites and new friendships. And the process encouraged me to start the predecessor blog to Nudist Planet in order to provide resources for other naturist and to encourage others to give naturism a try. I have become an advocate for naturism. Are there more pressing problems in the world? Of course. But it is advancing the cause of naturism and working toward a world where each person can choose whether to be nude or clothed according to his/her own desires rather than laws and cultural limitation that stirs my passion. Thanks to living in a society where naturism is denied, I realize how important it is to have that choice and freedom.