Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thailand launches naturist magazine

Asia used to be a desert for naturists.
Conservative governments and what was seen as a 'conservative' mindset among the population, and add to that a fear of fierce tropical sunlight and a beauty ideal which puts a white skin way ahead of a tan.
All those factors have conspired to make Asia a difficult continent to promote naturism to reach the level of popularity it has won in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and now recently, Latin America.
Yet, one country is steaming straight ahead, regardless of all preconceptions.
Thailand first saw the formation of a Naturist Association of Thailand (NAT) in 2007, the gradual opening of naturist hotels and resorts around the country, from Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and this year also the island of Phuket, the staging of an international NATCON conference now in its fifth year, and now, again in a major move forward, the launch of a magazine, titled Bare@ll.
Despite what some might think, naturism in Thailand is not something for the thousands of expats calling that country home only. At least a third of NAT's 3,000 members are Thai, and the new magazine is bilingual Thai and English.
That is an excellent move, since most Thai are unlikely to find objective information and background about naturism in anything but eventual foreign publications, and that only from time to time. The new publication will bring naturism right to the doorstep of any interested Thai citizen. When a Thai questions naturism or wonders what it is all about, a naturist will have the magazine to show them and make them understand.
The annual NATCON conference is also a focus for other Asian naturists from India to China and Taiwan, allowing them to learn from the experiences of their Thai colleagues and prepare for a day when each Asian country will have at least a similar organization, and possibly also its own naturist resorts.
http://thailandnaturist.com


Labels: , ,

Friday, June 10, 2016

Naturism in Thailand and beyond

Today, June 10 marks the opening of the 5th International Naturist and Nudist Conference in Thailand, hosted by the Naturist Association of Thailand on a lake.
The choice of site is original, and in many ways the association itself is also groundbreaking. Naturism has for too long been thought of as a mainly European, overwhelmingly Caucasian affair. Virtually each European country now has free clothing-optional beaches, naturist hotels or at least resorts where one can play sports, walk, run, swim, eat or just sunbathe naked.
Naturism also exists in other continents, in Latin America, in South Africa, and of course in Australia and New Zealand, the latter playing host to the International Naturist Federation's world congress in November this year.
Yet Thailand is the spearhead of an effort to make naturism more acceptable in Asia, and it is working. Since its inception years ago, NAT has been successful in converting more resort operators in the Southeast Asian country - one of the world's top holiday destinations - to give naturism a chance.
According to the NAT website, http://thailandnaturist.com, at least two new resorts are likely to open in the near future, the first on the popular island of Phuket, the other west of Bangkok. That comes in addition to those already in existence in other tourist destinations like Pattaya, Chiang Mai and the Bangkok region.
One of the features of this weekend's three-day conference is that NAT is also looking beyond Thailand to help local naturists set up similar associations in other Asian countries, such as India.
Residing in Taiwan, I know what the problems are. Public nudity is banned in most countries in the area, and even topless bathing is unseen or frowned upon. Add to that, the fear of many Asians of the hot sun in their countries, driving them away from beaches, and the beauty ideal which says that a white skin is more beautiful than a healthy tan.
Topless bathing and naturism are also not allowed in Thailand, but because the naturist resorts are shut off from the outside world, they are legal, as the nudity is not deemed public.
The more than 50 delegates from over a dozen countries present at the Thai conference will enjoy water games and a trip on rafts, but they will also discuss the situation of naturism in India, the Southeast Asian ASEAN nations, and other countries.
Last June 5 was World Naturism Day, this weekend sees NATCON 2016 in Thailand and many World Naked Bike Rides across the globe, leading into the summer, which should see naturist activities all over the world.
Now is the best time to prepare for more naturism, and try it during your holiday, even if it's just an hour on a free beach somewhere.


Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Garden of Eden

Today, May 7, 2016, is World Naked Gardening Day.
Why? Because the first Saturday of May has the ring of spring to it, at least in most of the Northern Hemisphere. I imagine even fellow naturists in the Southern Hemisphere can still venture outside in the nude today and take care of their bushes and trees.
I often use the formula #thingstodointhenude on Twitter to promote things you can do in the nude, and as the organizers of the World Naked Gardening Day say, gardening is the second-best naturist activity after swimming.
When the sun is out, there's nothing better than communing with nature in the way God created you. You can have your own Garden of Eden.
Or in my case, a microgarden of Eden.
As you can see in the picture, my garden is no bigger than a sixpack. It's set on a low wooden chair on my balcony - which gives me a grand view of the river and the six-lane road beside it, but unfortunately, that also works the opposite way.
The busy intersection below is often manned by police, as it is today, a sunny 33-degree weekend day, when thousands of drivers, but also motorcyclists and cyclists, head out of the capital Taipei toward the closest coastal town.
So my nude gardening is hardly nude and barely gardening, but I'm sure thousands, no, millions of people live in conditions better 'suited' for naturist plantwork.
Back in Europe, I used to live in a house with a huge enclosed garden. Walking around naked was still difficult, because in some spots, different neighbors might see you from their upper-floor windows, and of course, you could never tell whether they were home or not, and on which floor they were.
My dream, as any naturist's dream, would be to live in an environment where it doesn't matter whether you're nude or not. The weather would be the only force dictating whether you should be wearing anything at all, and gardening could be naked all year round, in any place, at home, behind the house or in front, alone or in full view.
For those who have already realized that dream, every day will be World Naked Gardening Day.
http://wngd.org/



Labels:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Naked Lunch

The news that rocked the naturist world - and much of the media beyond that - this month, was that London would get its own nude restaurant.
A restaurant where not the waiters or only the female waiters would go topless or naked, but where the guests would actually be allowed to disrobe and dine or lunch completely nude.
The idea was so popular that the number of people who registered to reserve a place shot up to 11,000 just within a few days, and has now surpassed 28,000 as I am writing this.
Most of those people will never make it, for the simple reason that The Bunyadi is a limited space operating for a limited time as a "pop-up" restaurant. Gawkers will be thrown out as they should be, and according to the website http://thebunyadi.com, visitors will even hardly see their fellow diners naked because of the interior outlay of the place.
So imagine my surprise to find the first criticism of the place not coming from puritanical or religious sources, but from nobody else than the head of the Dutch naturist federation NFN speaking to a women's magazine.
In the interview with vrouw.nl, Christine Kouman says the location might be wrong for naturism, and no real naturist would feel comfortable eating "in the middle of a busy city." Really, Miss Kouman?
You won't be sitting naked in front of a window for all passersby to see. It won't be a naked Starbucks, where anyone outside will be allowed to peek in and watch everything. As the organizers have said, there will be absolute privacy, and diners at different tables might not even see each other.
As a naturist myself, I was absolutely stunned during my first visit to a naturist resort, in Croatia more than a decade ago, when I was not allowed naked inside its restaurant.
As a result, after I woke up from my naked sleep, I had to put on clothes to go and have breakfast, then return to my room to take my clothes off before heading for the beach. By noon, I would go to my room to wear some clothes to go to lunch, then back to take them off, and the same annoying routine again for dinner. Is that how real naturists want to live? No, when they are at a naturist resort, they want to be naked all the time and wherever they can, weather permitting.
So I think NFN chairwoman Christine Kouman is totally wrong to condemn The Bunyadi initiative. She does have a point when she says that naturists on a nude beach should not be required to put on clothing when they go and order something at the beach bar, but her rejection of the London restaurant is something I cannot agree with.
Just like Spencer Tunick's mass naked photo shoots and the topless equality movement, The Bunyadi might not be true naturism, but as a form of promotion of non-sexual social nudity, it deserves the full support of all true naturists.
The Bunyadi website is http://thebunyadi.com/home.php
The article about Miss Kouman's views - in Dutch - is http://www.telegraaf.nl/vrouw/actueel/25648342/__Naturist_Christine__45____Naakt_dineren_is_geen_naaktrecreatie___.html
A general media article, one of dozens, about The Bunyadi project is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/restaurants/would-you-dine-at-londons-first-naked-restaurant/
The picture above comes from the Croatia camping website camping.hr and shows guests at the Koversada naturist resort.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kim Kardashian or Not


Each December, I go looking for a Celebrity Naturist of the Year who did something during the past year which might benefit the cause of naturism, i.e. non-sexual social nudity, without necessarily being a naturist himself. Over the past few year, the Free the Nipple movement has, without advocating true naturism, played a major part in normalizing the female breast, whether it be breastfeeding a child or sunbathing in the park.
Most of my past Celebrity Naturists of the Year have been famous women, actresses, stars, entertainers, because they often serve as role models, as examples to be followed. My reasoning is: if they think non-sexual nudity is allright, then maybe naturism will also get a bigger chance of being heard.
There are some stars though whose link with nudity is too sexual and whom I therefore am highly unlikely to name or even consider as Celebrity Naturist of the Year: the obvious example is Miley Cyrus, who seems to see nudity purely as provocation. Lady Gaga and Madonna also still go too far in the direction of the erotic and sexual to be considered.
However, one person recently crossed the line for me - in a positive way.
I have never been a fan of Kim Kardashian or of any other member of the Kardashian - Jenner clan. Basically, I don't understand why they're famous. They're extremely good at promoting themselves, but they're not actors, they're not singers, they're - well - entertainers I suppose. I do not like persons who only think about themselves, about promoting themselves, about making money only. The latest addition to the clan - Kim Kardashian husband Kanye West - might be a talented singer and musician, but his antics with Taylor Swift show he has a huge ego.
Still, Kim Kardashian crossed the line into 'consideration for Celebrity Naturist of the Year' for me thanks to her recent nude selfie, the most recent of many similar selfies.
Other stars such as Bette Midler and Chloe Grace Moretz inadvertently helped by condemning her. Even though she might have only posted the pic to promote herself, Kim Kardashian helped show that it's allright to be naked, to live naked. She is not and might never be a naturist, but she helped the cause of nudity and won support for it. Sharon Osbourne and Emily Ratajkowski promptly imitated her to praise her action.
Commentators talked about the third wave and the fourth wave of feminism, with the latter including a group of younger women who feel it is not sexual exploitation or pornography to be naked. They see the right to be naked or at least topless as a field where equality with men has still not been achieved. Breastfeeding in public is still being contested, topless sunbathing and swimming is still not allowed in many parts of the world, including the supposedly liberal United States.
Whatever Kim Kardashian's motives, breaking the Internet or promoting herself, she did break my barrier keeping her from being considered as a Celebrity Naturist of the Year. Whatever you think of her, she did at least one favor for the cause of naturism.
But remember: all bodies are equal, not just the beautiful ones. Naturism is not only about non-sexual social nudity, it also brings the message that everybody can be naked if he or she respects the other.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2015: Spencer Tunick

The Celebrity Naturist of the Year is a person who might never have visited a nude beach or a naturist resort.
But that's not the point. The point is that through his or her actions or words, he either actively or unwittingly helped promote the cause of naturism, i.e. non-sexual social nudity.
For the first time since I started announcing these awards, the winner of the Celebrity Naturist of the Year Award is a man: Spencer Tunick, the photographer famous for his mass nude ensembles of people, standing or lying anywhere in a landscape from the Dead Sea to a glacier to the Sydney Opera House.
Standing around naked on a street is not naturism in it self, but Tunick's work has helped to popularize non-sexual nudity. It has helped other people - "textiles," in the naturist language - see nudity as something natural, ordinary, common, acceptable, artistic and beautiful.
We were all born naked, and Spencer Tunick's work has brought the humanity and naturalness of nudity closer to daily life.
While naturists prefer to live together on beaches, in resorts and hotels separate from textiles, Spencer Tunick has brought us closer to a world where it doesn't matter whether you wear clothes or not in your daily life. Thanks to his work, you can imagine a world, a city, an environment, where some people were clothes and some do not, all living together without surprise or shock at each other.
The 48-year-old New Yorker (49-year-old, if you're reading this in 2016) can be compared to the Go Topless or Free the Nipple movement started by Lina Esco, a previous Celebrity Naturist of the Year. Not a naturist either, but a person generalizing the innocence of public nudity and breaking the link, still present in too many minds, that nudity equals sex.
A naturist who lives away from naturist resorts and nude beaches can still get a flavor of the lifestyle by volunteering for a Spencer Tunick shoot. That's on my bucket list.
www.spencertunick.com



Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Real Naturist of the Year 2015: Vritomartis Naturist Resort, Crete

I've only been to the Greek island of Crete once in my life, decades ago, probably four of them. That means you understand I have never been to the Vritomartis Naturist Resort on that island.
Yet, I must admire them for their pluck and courage. They're hyperactive on the Internet, with a blog, on Facebook, on Twitter.
They have a photography contest. They organize nude hiking expeditions in the mountains. They organize nude cruises in the Mediterranean off Crete. They welcome nude weddings.
As I said, I have never been there, but even I'm ever again in the neighborhood, their online activities and the excellent pictures on their website are enough to draw me in.
It must be quite a feat to have started a naturist resort on the south coast of Crete, the side of the island furthest away from the airports and from the crowds of the north coast. When I visited Crete decades ago, I never even saw the south coast, and I didn't venture further east than Agios Nikolaos.
My Real Naturist of the Year award is just a title. It doesn't include any financial rewards, there is no fancy piece of art that gets handed out and there is no ceremony. At the end of the year, I just name somebody or something, a resort, a person, an association, that has been active in the spread of real, true naturism.
Having been active this year on Facebook, I came to the conclusion that the Vritomartis Naturist Resort, despite or maybe because of its apparently isolated location, is one of the most active resorts, not just on behalf of itself, but also on behalf of naturism in general. That's why it deserves to be named the Real Naturist of the Year 2015.
www.vritomartis.com


Labels: , , ,