A Delightful Trip

Mrs. Phil and I recently had the chance to visit some friends in the Pacific Northwest. Since the time we first met them elsewhere, we decided that it was a trip that we would have to add to our naturist bucket list of places to visit for a nakation (clothes free vacation). It did not disappoint!

Any time we can get away together is good, but when we have some naked in nature time together, it’s even better. Throw in some friends, and some new friends, and it’s a great experience.

A question that gets asked often is: Why does nudity have to be social? Well, it doesn’t have to be. And for many naturists, it isn’t. Many are home nudists but don’t have the opportunity to be nude in non-sexual ways with others. This is unfortunate, because there is something about being that open and vulnerable with other people: friends or strangers. The longer we have embraced this way of living and thinking differently, we can testify to one fact that affects naturists more so than non-naturists. Simply put: winters are harder. The reason they are hard, is that due to the weather and other factors, socially nude time greatly diminishes. We can’t even lay out in the sun for an air bath by ourselves! But because we were made to be social creatures, the lack of opportunities really puts a damper on what some already see as a dreary season. There are things I do like about winter, but this is definitely not one of them. I don’t know what it is exactly, but the friendships made with those with whom we’ve been socially nude are some of the best friendships we have. When we go too long without experiencing socially nude time, we both start to feel like something important is missing. Why social? I say why not? We are social in textile situations, and we should be in nude ones too. The era in which we live makes this level of friendship difficult, but not impossible.

This is why a trip in the spring was such a welcome idea. We were feeling the need for such a trip and an experience of this sort badly. Mrs. Phil told me the confidence she had gained from being socially nude was waning. She is so much more confident than in the 20 years before embracing naturism, but she could feel a need to be befriend her body again. Shedding all your clothes has a way of shredding with them the insecurities those clothes hide away. We weren’t in danger of falling back into old habits and an old way of thinking, but since we have this freedom, why not use it? We desperately wanted to go, and are so glad we did.

Aside from the absolute beauty of God’s creation and getting to see a new terrain, we got to be just as we were created in all it’s glory. This is something else that often goes overlooked or unappreciated by non-naturists. Can’t you hike and see amazing landscapes with your clothes on? Yes. But when you can experience these sights and be in your natural state, it’s even more amazing! If you haven’t done it before, you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I feel so close to our Creator when I’m unencumbered by any trappings of society, and simply enjoying beautiful nature and joining with creation to praise our Lord. If we don’t do it, the rocks will cry out, Jesus said. To experience natural hot springs (and several of them in different terrains) was awesome, and I use that word sparingly. Here, the Creator has built into his creation a hot tub that doesn’t require electricity. It simply requires strategically placed rocks to create a pool that separates the hot water from the freezing cold water of the river. You can do a polar plunge and warm up in the hot spring within 10 feet of each other! And you can do it all in the comfort of your own skin, no soggy bathing suits (or shame suits as a friend calls them).

A neat thing is to hear how accepting the culture up there is towards nudity, especially when it comes to hot springs. There was one we did not get to see because when we arrived, there were a bunch of “suitors” (bathing suitors) there, or “textiles.” Sometimes it’s not an issue, but this was a big camping group with little ones, so we just went on our way to the next one. Our friends will often take their own little ones to the hot springs and just like at a family friendly naturist park, there is no problem and it’s perfectly fine and acceptable. Any thoughts otherwise would prove a pornographic mentality, as opposed to a mature and renewed mind we talk about on this blog so often.

We got to meet a bunch of people from all walks of life. They were all very nice. The lack of clothing jump starts better conversation because the small talk that generally happens is unnecessary. Humans don’t only tend to hide behind clothes, but also hide the real and authentic versions of themselves as they attempt to project a certain image of themselves. I think we do this instinctively, or at least subconsciously. Perhaps not all of that goes away, but naturism tends to accelerate the loss of phoniness due to the common acceptance of our natural state. I’ve observed this phenomenon over and over, and even though I can’t explain it, I do appreciate it. 

This blog post makes some good points worth further reflection and contemplation: “Nudism is not about seeing others naked or being seen naked, per se, but I also think it would be disingenuous to say that seeing and being seen are not part of what makes nudism so liberating and empowering. Overcoming the fear instilled in us throughout our upbringing and, for many of us, throughout much of our adult lives, by confronting head-on the anxiety associated with being nude in front of others is one part of it. Another part of it is a very sincere curiosity and a very human desire to know others and to be known for who we are, to be vulnerable, to be acknowledged and accepted and, yes, seen. Not seen for the sake of exhibition or attention. Not seen to show off or flaunt. Seen in order that the truest version of ourselves, warts and wrinkles and wounds laid bare, might be accepted and celebrated.” I love that thought and others mentioned in that particular post. I love that we can express joy and freedom in its most raw form together without shame spoiling it. 

During this trip, we were also off the grid with no cell service or wifi. That made Mrs. Phil a tad nervous having left our kids at home, but they survived just fine without us. We had a terrific time and relaxed those days and enjoyed the handiwork of our Creator on display. We can cross the Pacific Northwest off our naturist bucket list now. Not that we won’t be back again, but we’ve been there and done that. We didn’t get the t-shirt, but rather we took them off. Oh, and one more thing. Ignore this whole post. The locals told us to say there’s nothing there that’s worth seeing! I think they just want to keep it for themselves!

The “comfortablist” and the hot springs (Jason’s interview)

Today, we are interviewing our friend, Jason. We met Jason online and later spent a week with him and his wife and some other couples down in Florida. We have yet to visit their favorite hot springs…

Q: Would you tell us how you got into naturism?

A: I grew up in a Christian home where no one was ever naked and clothing was always required. I started sleeping naked when I was about 8 or 9, but locked my bedroom door because I didn’t want anyone to know. Once, I visited my cousin and it was summertime and there were a bunch of kids at his house. We stripped down and ran around like “lost boy” from Peter Pan all day. I suppose nudity was always intriguing to me. I found it curious that our local library hid the photography books that depicted nudity and that those books had to be requested from a librarian. It seemed to me that nudity was natural — the way God meant us to be from the beginning. I never could see the lie that humans’ bodies were shameful after the Fall. 

Q: How did you bring this viewpoint into your family? 

A: We moved across the country several years ago and decided that since we were getting a new start, we’d try to change the way our children grew up and understood the body. We wanted them to have a better experience — one that didn’t involve delving into pornography for answers about our bodies — than we did. We didn’t want them to be ashamed of their bodies or be led down a road to sin, so we had a family meeting and announced that, starting then, we were making it a baseline that “bodies are good” and meant to be seen.

“bodies are good”

We brought all of the children to a few places where we could all be naked naturally so that we could adapt. And we started being naturally nude more around the house so that they would feel comfortable to do likewise if they wanted.

Q: Do you have a better term than naturist?

Around our house, we usually use the term “comfortablist.” If it’s more comfortable to be naked, be naked! There’s no law that says you have to be naked all the time, but if it’s practical, why not? If there’s no good reason to wear clothing, then don’t. I look for the day when our society returns to this practical wisdom.

Q: What are some benefits you’ve seen from this way of life?

A: We have a large family with lots of boys and girls. Practically, it has made for much less drama for our children. We don’t have to deal with squeals of “he saw me naked!” from the girls when the bathroom door is opened anymore. And for the teens, we have seen a very positive  response in the way our boys treat their sisters as well as other girls. They also have not had issue with pornography addiction. Once the human body is no longer hidden away, the mystery does not draw you into obsession. Our children have been taught to appreciate the beauty of God’s design without cause for lust.

We’ve made it a point to teach our children that “Modesty is an attitude, not a dress code.”

When our children are learning about classical art, there’s no need to hide their eyes from depictions of nudity, as do so many Christians we know. They’re not shocked by the sight of bare bodies and this allows us to discuss, in more depth, the artworks themselves.

Q: One thing you have shared with us is that you frequent hot springs with people from all walks of life and different beliefs. How has this provided an opportunity to represent not only body positivity, but also an authentic Christian example for people who might otherwise not be so open to learning about Christianity?

A: After we moved to the Pacific Northwest, which is known as the least-churched region of our nation, I wanted to change our circle of influence. I ended up co-founding a hot springs adventure group with a focus on body positivity and a welcome to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. That has been remarkably successful. We have had men and women from all walks of life as well as a full spectrum of age groups join and participate in our group. It was a little rocky at first, but we established a “Naked is Natural” philosophy and it has led to lifelong relationships and friendships and a place where so many have experienced safety and peace of mind in experiencing the goodness of natural nudity.

“Naked is Natural”

My wife and I have had many opportunities to share Jesus with members of this group and see lives changed.  Someone I once knew called this “proximity evangelism.” If we aren’t near people who need Jesus, how do we show them His love? If we’re too scared to jump into the activities where the lost are, how can they have an opportunity to know the freedom and joy of Christ? Just last weekend, a couple who described themselves as “ex-Catholic” spent the weekend in our cabin and they were very curious to find out “what made us tick.” This led to a welcomed discussion of the things of God deep into the wee hours of the night. The next morning, one of them remarked, “If we had only known you twenty years ago, our lives would have been so different.”  I replied, ‘We are all alive now and it’s not too late!”

If not for our willingness to follow Jesus into baring our bodies, we would not have had the opportunity to bare our souls.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

A: If someone reading this is questioning, I just want to encourage them to make the leap. There are too many benefits to taking the bold step to step out of our clothing and step into God’s greater plans for our lives. Don’t allow anything – clothing included – to stop you from pursuing Jesus wherever He goes and wherever He leads.