So, I guess the question is, why? Why has an ordinary middle-aged bloke with an ordinary life, ordinary education (advance apologies for all spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors) and an ordinary job been slowly discovering the joys of naturism? It’s been a ‘journey’, for want of a better word; I’ve found myself on for only a handful of years now.
The ‘almost’ in my pseudonym is due to the transition to full nakedness via a swim thong (Olaf Benz, size Medium since you ask) which, I have to also confess, I do enjoy wearing. It’s about as close as you can get to full nakedness without being totally naked, obviously.
For me, naturism (or even thong wearing) is not about attention seeking, exhibitionism or wanting to offend anybody. I think I’m doing this because it quite simply makes me feel better, happier. The occasions when I am naked outside and the anticipation leading up to them have become a sheer joy. Despite my middle-age I’m in pretty good shape. A near 30 year road cycling habit has given me a lean physique which I’m fairly pleased with. A healthy diet and a fair amount of walking also help, along with a love of being outdoors. Does the fact that I’m comfortable with my body shape help or even enhance the way I feel? Or, does it matter at all?
I was on holiday in the beautiful Eastern Algarve region of Portugal and wanted to go for a secluded and private walk, naked. Taking advantage of smartphone mapping technology, and satellite views of the terrain and surrounding area, I identified what I thought could potentially be a deserted 4.5 mile roughly circular route where, bar crossing a quiet country road, I could be naked for almost the entire walk.
It was a beautiful early summer Algarvian afternoon when I decided to go for it. No dummy runs in shorts and t-shirt, just planning and caution mixed with excitement and adventure. It was a weekday which I reckoned would be quieter than a weekend. I also wondered if the Portuguese followed the Spanish tradition of an afternoon Siesta on sultry afternoons. I still don’t know if they do?
I stroll up the quiet single lane country road from our accommodation in shorts clutching a bottle of water, my phone and little else. I pass a quiet, shuttered up, seemingly empty pale yellow Quinta then an odd, white fenced off industrial works which I assume has something to do with water or electricity. A left turn onto a gravel track and I’m almost at the ‘beginning’. Within 30 seconds I’ve crested a small hill and feel pretty much out of sight of everything and everyone, except the insects and birds of course.
I pause for a few moments, look around deliberately and slowly into the distance in every direction, then take a deep breath and feel my pulse quicken slightly. I slowly remove my shorts and, that’s it, I’m naked. I start to walk and inhale deeply again, through my nose this time and I’m certain my senses have become enhanced. I smell a mix of wild herbs and flowers which flourish in this arid environment. I don’t know what they are as I’m no botanist but it’s a new smell and it’s wonderful. The sun is high, warm, welcome and piercing through the cloudless blue sky. I start to focus on the walk and the wide gravel path I’m on. It’s fairly straight, roughly cleared of growth either side which is giving it extra width and it undulates ever so slightly. Amongst the gravel there are occasional larger, angular rocks, pinkish in colour with jagged edges, some are clustered together so I deviate my line slightly to avoid.
To my left the terrain is rolling with patches of tightly clustered trees, long stretches of unkempt bush, lengths of low wire fencing and the occasional narrow path heading off to nothing in particular, assuming my map apps are reasonably up-to-date. To my right, in the distance recessed into the terrain is a main road, it’s not visible and barely audible and actually quite welcome as it gives the area I’m in a border which makes it the empty paradise I’m enjoying so much.
The first mile passes quickly, too quickly so, I slow my pace a little. This helps me to relax a little more and the small amount of natural nervousness I had from the beginning completely disappears. I’ve been heading fairly straight south west but now the path turns to the right slightly and opens up, wider, more gravel and less vegetation, giving an almost desert like appearance. All I can hear are my footsteps crunching on the gravel path and the occasional waft of warm breeze past my ears. It’s pan flat now and I’m in the middle of it, alone and alive. I feel liberated, free, fresh and just a little excited about what I’m actually doing.
I keep walking for another ten minutes or so, checking the map on my phone and looking around, occasionally in a rearward direction, just in case. I know I’m getting closer to the minor road I need to cross to continue. The wide gravel landscape remains, absorbing the heat from the sun, I crouch down to touch it and it’s surprising hot, my only concession to clothing are my walking sandals, absolutely necessary in this temperature and terrain. The landscape is now flanked with odd man-made mounds with strange weeds sticking out of them at oblique angles. I see the smooth black tarmac slightly raised ahead of me. I’m almost at the road now and need to make a decision.
I don’t want to offend anyone so, although I hear no approaching cars, I swiftly put on my shorts behind one of the mounds, it’s conveniently placed, they must have known. I’m glad I do as you never know; there may be walkers or cyclists silently enjoying the countryside, just like me. Crossing the road there’s not a soul in sight. I locate the narrow path on my pre-planned route which quickly drops down away from the road; I’m out of sight once again and alone. It didn’t feel good being clothed again although it was necessary. I remove my shorts once again and immediately feel alive once more.
I’m now in what feels like a completely different landscape. More woods than anything else with narrow compacted defined soil pathways. There’s more cover here from the sun which dapples in and out of the trees, they are tall with relatively thin uniform trunks, I just don’t know what they are. I can here birds singing and buzzing insects but no distant main road. Gone are the crunching gravel footsteps too, replaced with something much softer in tone. I’m walking in a kind of right turning arc through the peaceful woods. The tree cover has reduced the temperature a little but I like the contrast from the direct sunlight on the open gravel pathways.
Walking in this section is much more secluded, a different feel to the open areas. I’m less alert due to the seclusion which is making me think and contemplate. The great thing about walking is that it gives you the time to think. One of things I inevitably find myself thinking about is what would I do if I am seen and confronted in some way? The initial genius thought that eventually comes to the fore is that I would pretend to be German. I’ve never been able to pull off any kind of accent so quickly realise this is a ridiculous idea. I reason that the chances of me being seen are minimal. I’m not doing this to be seen, I’m doing it for me.
I’m descending a little now as I arc through the beautiful green woods. As I do so the traffic noise from the main road, now to my left, becomes apparent again and, as I continue to walk, becomes louder than it’s ever been. It’s a strange noise, the swish of tyres on tarmac combined with the fluttering rumble of air being forced aside and over the fast moving vehicles. I’m almost back at the quiet country road I crossed earlier but, I’m in luck. It has risen to bridge over the main road which flanked the earlier part of my walk.
I’ve walked about 3 miles now totally naked except for the brief minor road crossing. I stop for a few minutes and drink some water which has been warming slightly in my bottle over the last hour or so. It’s hot, I’m naked, the surroundings are beautiful, this is a wonderful, natural feeling.
The wooded section has thinned now and opens out slightly, bathing me in more sunlight again. Ahead is a rectangular concrete underpass which takes me under the minor road I crossed, clothed, earlier. It’s wide, not particularly high and there’s not a single piece of graffiti or discarded rubbish anywhere, a sure sign that hardly anybody comes this way. It feels a little urban due to the concrete and traffic noise and being naked here feels quite exciting. Once through the short shaded, cool underpass I stop for a moment, look around and stretch my back. The next segment shadows the main road closely which is now to my left. I’m on a wide dusty path with low, fenced off patches of vegetation to my right. I don’t know what they are, they’re definitely not fruit but they separate me by some distance from the wider gravel tracks I walked in the opposite direction earlier. It’s noisier, with traffic, but I still find the slightly more urban feel exciting, once again a contrast with the wide gravel plains and secluded forest from earlier. Occasionally, there’s a small path though the fenced off vegetation which would take me back to the gravel plains but, I don’t take them. I count five in total as I walk with the sun on my back, shadowing the main road on the deserted track, out of sight, not wanting this to end too soon.
But, unfortunately, it will. I make a fairly sharp right turn which takes me away from the main road. The traffic noise virtually disappears and the dusty path merges into gravel and, for the first time, I’m back on a section, the last section, I walked earlier. Despite the heat I’m not really sweating much at all. Is this just due to the lack of clothing? Admittedly, the terrain has been reasonably flat combined with a light breeze but the lack of perspiration sodden clothes is another bonus of this adventure.
I slow to a snail’s pace so I can savour the last moments of this magnificent walk. The sun has bathed my entire body for the last couple of hours and I haven’t seen another soul. I inhale deeply again though my nose, this time in satisfaction rather than anticipation. The herby, flowery aroma is still there.
Just before the brow of the small hill before the road, I stop, turn, look around and survey the fantastic mixed scenery I’ve just rambled though without clothing for the last couple of hours. I then drink the last of my water and reluctantly put my shorts back on; there just can’t be many more pleasurable ways to spend a sunny afternoon. Two minutes later and back in my accommodation I do what the English do; I make a cup of tea and reflect. It’s amazing how such a simple pleasure in this complicated world of ours can make you feel so good.