Most people wouldn’t feel comfortable removing all their clothes in public, but for some it’s a way of life. American writer Mark Haskell Smith overcame his nerves and spent a year immersing himself in the world of nudism.

“If you’re at the airport, you don’t make jokes about bombs. When you’re with nudists you don’t make jokes about breasts. And God forbid, don’t get an erection – you will probably be asked to leave,” says Haskell Smith.

These are just two of things he learned as he visited naturist resorts around the world.

His first stop was the Desert Sun Resort in Palm Springs, California. “I was terrified. I was there, awkward and anxious in my hotel room, putting on layer after layer of sunblock, until finally, when I walked outside, I was a beacon of light and highly reflective. There are all these people around the pool and they all look at me and then they wince and cover their faces.

“I was really insulted, I thought, ‘Hey wait, I’m 20 years younger than all of you people,’ and then I looked down… and I got it, I was like, ‘Oh dear.'”

After getting over his sunblock faux pas, he went to several nudist resorts in Europe. Cap d’Agde in the south of France is one of the best-known. Once you get inside the security fence, which keeps out the paparazzi and curious passers-by, there is everything you would expect to find in any other town.

“Except everyone is naked,” says Haskell Smith. “There’s even a dry cleaner – I don’t know what they dry clean though. Going grocery shopping or having your croissant and coffee in the morning in the nude was actually so weird it was kind of fun. And once you’ve gone to the wine store and talked about the local rose naked then anything is OK.”

Hiking through the Austrian Alps for a week, with 19 naturists from across Europe, also proved to be surprisingly enjoyable.

“The air is really clean and you’re working hard because you’re climbing at altitude but you don’t really sweat, so you’re not uncomfortable – your skin is this great thermostat for your body.” read more 

Source: BBC News

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