It is not the first time I have been naked. I definitely spent the majority of my childhood under the age of five without clothes. In the front of my mind there is a picture I can see of myself as a naked skin, getting held up by my mum whilst I go to the toilet. I’m still not sure why my dad took that photo, but it has allowed for at least one naked memory for me, and one explicit situation for you to think about.
Right now I am back to my pre-school state, naked as a salad without dressing (get it?).
But it wasn’t necessarily my choice, and no – I’m not in the shower, in a bed, in a private space, or getting changed.
It all started when we unpreparedly rode without a destination in mind. We knew we wanted to get about half way to Cologne from our current location, and was simply hoping for a camping site to pop-up at the perfect time. The day was beautiful, sunny and we were both feeling great after a few days of rest.
Our route chopped and changed all day, despite saying I’d never disagree with the Garminator again (in the last blog post), but this time it worked really well for us, with minimal issues.
The day was growing older so we were keeping our eyes peeled for a place to stay. Surprisingly, we hadn’t seen anything en-route today, and now that we really needed something – it just wasn’t there. The sun got warmer as our energy levels dropped. We really wanted to stop. Right now.
I gave in, and decided that searching for somewhere was futile. We should wild camp. I could tell that Kat was not keen to do it, but really, enough was enough, and we had enough water, food and toilet paper to pull it off. I found a green patch on the Garminator and headed for it. Kat still had a sour look on her face as I waded through thick forest looking for a nice place to sleep. Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for Kat – the forest undergrowth was too thick to set up easily.
We kept on cycling in the heat until I stopped to gaze at a map of the region. We both noticed on the legend of the map a small tent symbol, but even after staring at it for a good ten minutes, I could not find any little blue tents marked on the map. Kat was much more adamant than me that the little blue tent did in fact exist. After an extra ten minutes under the eyes of Where’s Wally extraordinare KJDUB, a deformed little blue tent was found in what looked to be a forested area. NICE!
Luckily it was only 1.5km away so we were there in minutes, but it didn’t look great for us again. Where our deformed tent was printed on the map, we were just looking at a bit of farming land – and I don’t think sleeping amongst the cabbage patch was going to cut it. Stubbornly we rode a bit further into a forested area where I noticed that above a 3m high fence, were what could be the roofs of caravans. WINNING. The only issue was that there didn’t seem to be an entrance. I found a walking track through a heavily tree’d area which took us further around the perimeter of the high walled caravan park. Then we noticed the entrance. So much relief.
We rang a doorbell style buzzer at the 3m high gate, thinking we had maybe stumbled across a school camp. If we weren’t able to stay here we would most certainly be able to get directions to somewhere else. A gentleman wearing nothing more than a towel let us into the camp after saying in his broken english that we were able to stay a night if we liked. We followed him in, having no idea what was about to come up.
This caravan park was akin to the Garden of Eden; amazingly green, lush, leefy and exclusive. But that wasn’t the most astounding part for us. Yes you guessed it, there were naked bodies wandering about without a care in the world, drawing great contrast to the dark green of the surrounding trees.
We were about to spend the night with a nudist or “naturalist” colony!
As it came as such a surprise to us, I really did not know what to say, or where to look. I felt uncomfortable about the whole situation due to a mixture of confusion, exhaustion and the “pow in your face” girl and boy parts flopping all about. There were people trimming hedges, people building structures, people showering, sunbaking – everything, just naked. We awkwardly walked through the campsite towards somewhere marginally private, not sure what our next move should be.
After thinking for a few moments, my initial thoughts were that I had to get my kit off. I figured it would be much more respectful and would probably attract much less attention. Kat, exclaiming that I was just an exhibitionist had to think about it all a bit longer. I took all of my clothes off and started setting up our tent, with Kat giggling about my nudity in the background.
I felt great and free, if not awkward, attracting nothing but sun rays to every inch of skin on my body. There were no wandering eyes at all; this was normality at Atlanta. Spending the first ten minutes getting our gear sorted for the night, I was ready for stage two. The walk from tent to shower. Armed with a towel slung over my shoulder and a toiletries bag, we walked aimlessly into the centre of the campsite hoping for the showers to be obvious. A cry and arm point from a naturalist nearby headed us in the right direction. The walk was long and slow, as I tried to act as casual as possible. We found a distraction from our nervousness in the form of guinea pigs hanging out in a pen. This gave us a casual conversation starter to the nearby sitting owners, allowing us to seem normal in this setting, you know, like we are naturalists all the time. We step-stoned across to the next distraction, a 14.5 year old Malamute (dog) who is set to break the world record age soon for this breed. We got talking to these naturalists for a while too, again to seem normal, but I found myself being Austin Powers in that scene where cleverly placed props cover up his man-bits as he walks naked through his workplace. What I mean by this is that my towel and toiletries bag seemed to be very strategically placed.
The showers integrated quite well with the outdoors – no doors, lots of natural light. This was where KJDUB planned her integration into the colony, by taking a shower without clothes to change into. We discovered that after a long ride, you have lots of lines from your lycra all over your skin; something I’ve never really seemed to notice before now. I also discovered that people can tell when you’ve scratched your bottom…
We sat down on our Thermarest chairs and polished off our 250g slice of Brie cheese, which happened to cost just $1. We chatted to people as they cruised past, understanding most, but not all of what they were talking about due to our noobness to naturalism.
It seemed a bit sad to keep to ourselves given the circumstances. Feeling a bit more confident, we went for a walk to visit the guinea pigs and potentially chat to some more friendly people. We ended up being offered a seat and some drinks after barely getting past chatting about the “guard guinea pigs”. We accepted the offer, bringing across a bottle of wine that a generous Belgian bloke had given to us at our previous camp site.
We ended up having a really great evening with a bunch of very gregarious people. So much so, we forgot about having any dinner, chatting until one in the morning – naked of course.
Would I do it again?
I think I would. The initial half an hour was pretty awkward, but once you realise that everybody is in the same boat as you, it just doesn’t matter.
(Kat will fill you in with her experience and a bit more on the etiquette in another post)