FreeForm Festival – first experience as a theme camp

naturist 0000 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

FreeForm Festival really lives up to its name, and after I had so much fun there last year, I was determined to come back, and even more excitingly, together with our theme camp Gymnasium. FreeForm brings together a very diverse crowd, and although you wouldn’t see many naked participants, it is officially a clothing-optional event. Our camp was the only one where nudity was at its core, but there were some occasional fellow nudies here and there, e.g. two naked fire-spinners at the effigy burn (to which I unfortunately forgot to bring my camera).  So, we saw it as our opportunity to reach out to many people who don’t have experience in naturism (or simply said, those who are not used to hang out naked) and show them the great fun that comes with nude recreation. This was also a good test for us before launching our project of Gymnasium on a much larger scale at Burning Man later this summer. We got lots of encouragement and ideas for collaboration, and here are just some highlights.

Our first event attracted about a dozen people, but only our camp members were naked. Well, we thought it was still a success, as to bring across the idea of social nudity, people should get comfortable with others being naked, and then maybe it will not be too long until they feel comfortable in their own skin too.

naturist 0001 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And our event required quite a bit of collaboration, often between ‘skins and shirts’, as it was a race that combined a piggy-back ride

naturist 0002 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

and a barrel run.

naturist 0003 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

It was pure fun,

naturist 0004 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

but to add a bit of competitive spirit and even more fun, we arranged a final race for the first 4 pairs from the initial run;

naturist 0005 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

for the final, the leading person had to wear a horse (or pig, in one case) mask, which partially obscured vision.

naturist 0006 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Thus, besides making it more fun for the spectators, these masks were supposed to encourage communication between riders and horses.

naturist 0007 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

At the turn from piggy-back ride to barrel-run, riders and horses had to swap, so the participants in each pair experienced both roles, though in different versions.

naturist 0008 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Just seeing these photos, it looks like barrel run in the mask was a bit more difficult to control,

naturist 0009 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

but everybody made it till the end :-)

naturist 0010 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

My pair won, and is it was the only one where both participants were naked, let me conclude (admittedly, in an anecdotal manner) that  communication and collaboration work best between naked people :-)

maskot program 0000 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And the horse sort of became our camp’s mascot (we hung our program with historical references at the entrance to the camp).

Later in the day, we went to the temple area, played wind gongs

naturist 0011 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

and climbed trees (because why not? This won’t be an option at Burning Man :-))

naturist 0014 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Then it was time for our nude dance workshop aka NuDance, for which we collaborated with our neighbors, ‘Priority 5′ camp – they provided the soundtrack. Thanks again, guys, in case you read this! We were really lucky to have them as our neighbors, as they had some of the best music around (probably among my 2 favorite music camps along with ‘Echo’).

naturist 000000 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

But here is a sad side note about music at FreeForm: apparently, some outdoors after-hours music sessions that were not supposed to take place kept some locals in the neighboring village awake to the extent that they filed a complaint and now FreeForm has to find a new home :-( Hopefully, it won’t be difficult for the organizers.

Then there was another event that triggered some joyful nudity – a crossover from Holi festival, where participants splash each other with brightly-colored powders. I missed it, as I was getting massage at that time, but luckily other campmates brought some extra powders, so we had our own naked celebration of colors.

naturist 0012 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And our colorful rabbit with a powerful jump deserves an extra credit :-)

naturist 0013 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

We continued with Indian-inspired activities by doing yoga that turned into a symposium (as you may know from our theme camp description, this idea of drinking wine in different poses was also inspired by depictions of symposiums from Ancient Greek vases).

naturist 0015 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

We discussed a bit how to increase attendance of our events next year, and one solution was obvious – we should apply for workshops at the lawn by the main stage to increase visibility and traffic.

But then our last event was very successful indeed. Perhaps because people started packing and bringing down their tents, so our camp became more visible, or simply because many liked the idea, we had a very good attendance at our oil wrestling match. Even the founder of FreeForm Festival stopped by; he liked the idea of our camp, being both very interactive and educational, and advised to get some Greek-themed decorations such as columns (which we’re already planning for Burning Man).

oiling

oiling

Quite a few people showed for our wrestling match, and then more were joining from passers by. It was a good idea to use oil for participants (and we used a good quality Greek olive oil), as this encouraged them to get naked (and all did except for one who kept his underwear, because his girlfriend was strict about that allegedly :-))

naturist wrestling 0073 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Here are just a few highlights,

naturist wrestling 0075 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

so you get an impression of how our matches went.naturist wrestling 0076 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

We used sumo wrestling rules, which are the simplest of all wrestling styles, i.e. only the soles of the feet are allowed to touch the ground and you have to stay within the ring.

naturist wrestling 0077 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

The most common winning strategy was pushing the opponent outside the ring, sometimes quite vigorously,

naturist wrestling 0079 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

but even then all matches ended in a peaceful manner

naturist wrestling 0080 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

and the whole atmosphere was very friendly.

naturist wrestling 0081 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Another strategy was lifting the opponent and bringing him, or her as in this case, down… Though it didn’t work for me, as my opponent clung to me, and I had to extend my arm to the ground not to fall.

naturist wrestling 0006 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Lifting the opponent and carrying him outside the ring worked well too.

naturist wrestling 0058 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And some more selected moments for you:

naturist wrestling 0010 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

I really like these pictures,

naturist wrestling 0013 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

as they show interaction between people,

naturist wrestling 0017 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

many of whom are complete strangers to each other,

naturist wrestling 0024 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

while some are close friends,

naturist wrestling 0026 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

but in either case, it is both very physical and social.

naturist wrestling 0046 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

At times it looked almost like a fist fight,

naturist wrestling 0050 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

and then more like a dance,

naturist wrestling 0061 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

but keeping it balanced was the key to maintain the fun,

naturist wrestling 0031 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

even when the opponents were of quite different size.

naturist wrestling 0143 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Which by the way wasn’t often a good predictor of who would win:

naturist wrestling 0147 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

our match showed that size doesn’t matter, but skillfulness does! ;-)

naturist wrestling 0101 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

Admittedly, the matches between more similarly skilled and sized opponents

naturist wrestling 0110 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

were the most exciting to watch

naturist wrestling 0117 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

and lasted longest.

naturist wrestling 0134 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And I guess you’ve been wondering – yes, we did have an all female match too!

naturist wrestling 0139 FreeForm Festival, Pennsylvania, USA

And I’ll just finish here quoting a comment from one of them, which makes me think that our mission was accomplished: “thanks for making me feel so comfortable naked and learning how much I love how it feels!”

PS I actually love these photos so much, and I think they quite grasp the essence of the whole idea of Active Naturists and our theme camp, so here is a gallery with an extended selection for your enjoyment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Harriman State Park? Anytime!

naturist 0028 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

I’ve written about Harriman State Park near New York City on multiple occasions, but I guess you won’t be surprised that I’m at it again, given that it is the most accessible location for me where I can enjoy and explore nature “as nature intended”. So as Sandy Hook has become my default beach and the latest post about it proved it’s good anytime of the day, Harriman is my default outdoors location, which I find to be great anytime of the day – and I’d like to say anytime of the year, but I’ll have to limit this statement to spring, summer and autumn, as I haven’t been there in winter.

autumn view 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Last October wasn’t so warm, but we did snatch a nice hike with some skinny dipping. I have some pictures of autumnal skinny dipping in another post, but here are just great views all the way up to Manhattan (Didn’t I say it was close? The photo is pretty zoomed in though.)

autumn view 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

It was nice to see all those bright colors, though frankly I prefer summer green (compare to this photo of Pine Meadow Lake view from a previous post). (Not to mention that I like swimming in those lakes when it’s warm, but we’ll get there.)

autumn view 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Still, the autumn colors were spectacular, especially in contrast to the dark sky on that day.

autumn view 0004 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

But it’s not like summer doesn’t offer more colors than “50 shades” of green. Here is the photo of the same islet on the Pine Meadow Lake with mountain laurels’ white-pink bloom a week ago.

naturist & mountain laurel bloom 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And here is a close-up of one of those:

mountain laurel bloom 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

these bushes provide a fabulous backdrop for naked hiking :-) (And again, you can see more of such photos in an earlier blogpost.)

naturist & mountain laurel bloom 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Pink and purple tones seem to be particularly fashionable in Harriman:

flowers 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

I’ll be happy if my more botany-inclined readers will identify these plants for me,

bush bloom 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

but anyone can surely appreciate their beauty.

These wild roses also smelled sweet,

rose bloom 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and probably to preserve that smell they close for the night, when insects wouldn’t visit them anyways.

rose bloom 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And even young oak leaves in the beginning of May were of purple tones too.

oak bloom 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

But some berberis shrubs bring the intensity of the color to the next level!

plants 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And you can see an occasional red-leaved branch in the end of the summer, standing out among the greenery of the rest of the forest.

leaves or flowers? 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

The leaves of the plant below are usual green, but the shape is quite interesting, as if the tips were cut by someone.

plants 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And some more flowers from this spring-beginning of summer:

flowers 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

viola,

bush and trees bloom 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

berberis (green this time),

bush and trees bloom 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and multiple white-blooming trees;

bush and trees bloom 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

blueberry bushes also bloomed intensely this year, so we can expect a nice blueberry season later in summer.

blueberry bloom 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Plants aren’t the only ones to please your eyes with bright colors in Harriman State Park:

eastern newt (eft) 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

orange juvenile newts (efts) are a common sight in the beginning of summer,

eastern newt (eft) 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and we also saw an orange frog!

frog 0003 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

This frog from last summer was not conspicuous at all though,

frog 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

but I wanted to take a picture of it, as it still had not finished its metamorphosis and featured a long tail.

frog 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

But then there was also a lizard with an orange head, a broad-headed skink:

I waited quite a bit for it to come out from the whole between the rocks,

broad-headed skink 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and it was worth it.

broad-headed skink 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And again, for contrast, here is a less conspicuous reptile, but at the same time a lot larger and dangerous.

hidden rattlesnake 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Can you see it? If you don’t, check out another blogpost of mine, where I have much better pictures of it.

Usually insects are a part of my nature report, but this time they’ll be represented only by this vaguely seen dragonfly which photobombed a photo of a turkey vulture taken at the Turkey Pond.

turkey vulture + fly 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Here is a better picture of a gliding turkey vulture. I’ve also seen wild turkeys there but have never been fast enough to snap a photo of them.

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/423/18688531185_f9068c5495_z_d.jpg

A lot more exciting though was a sighting of a bald eagle! It was soaring higher than turkey vultures, but its profile was unmistakable. It is even more exciting that I’ve seen this iconic American animal so close to New York City (so as a black bear 3 years ago).

bald eagle 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Even if you don’t see a bald eagle in the sky, the sky itself may present quite a spectacle.

sunset view 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

We witnessed a very colorful sunset last September at Pine Meadow Lake. Just scroll down,

sunset view 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and see

sunset view 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

how

sunset view 0003 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

colors change

sunset view 0004 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and eventually

sunset view 0005 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

disappear!

sunset view 0006 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

The sunrise (on another occasion, in July) wasn’t as nearly as colorful,

view 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

but the fog made it mystical.

view 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Well, and I’m not even nearly done with nature photos for this blogpost! Besides purely esthetically pleasing sightings, Harriman State Park provides a few possibilities for encounters that may be pleasing for the stomach too ;-)

I’ve already mentioned blueberries (and have some yummy photos of those in another post),

raspberry 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

but you can also find raspberries and blackberries of different varieties – look for those in the openings in the woods.

This kind of blackberry is my favorite. They usually ripen in August, after blueberries.

blackberry 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Didn’t I say pink and purple were trendy in Harriman?

raspberry 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Here is a pink raspberry with purple flowers!

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8896/18500556378_c8e7a815af_z_d.jpg

And even young grape leaves (early May) have a purple rim!

grape vine 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

You can see flower buds on this photo too, so hopefully they will develop into grapes by September, like last year. They aren’t as sweet as cultivated grapes, but you can’t be too picky while hiking in the woods – it’s great to have a snack courtesy of wild nature!

grape vine 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

These bright mushrooms below should probably have stayed in the esthetically pleasing category,

mushroom 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

as I am not sure if they are edible, but I want to think they are… I’d like to join the local mycological society to learn about mushrooms in the area on their foraging outings.

mushrooms Harriman State Park

The idea of foraging while backpacking is very appealing on many levels, but one has to be careful, especially with mushrooms.

mushroom 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

But I guess you can’t go wrong with the fish here! Although my father and grandfather are avid amateur fishermen, I haven’t learned much about it.

naturist 0027 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Luckily, my new naturist fisher friends were willing to share their catch! I’m yet to buy fishing gear, but meanwhile I’ll enjoy fish as a naturalist.

Most of the fish that you see in the video are sunfish species, and what I like about them is that they are quite tame and even curios about people – they often come close and stare at you, and sometimes nibble (not painfully, don’t worry). Snorkeling at the Pine Meadow Lake may not be as colorful and diverse as at the coral reefs of the Red Sea or in Hawaii, but those friendly sunfish spawning among water lilies make it really interesting.

naturist 0011 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

I certainly like swimming in the lakes of Harriman park a lot more than in swimming pools, which are easily accessible in New York (including my workplace). Besides having more space, beautiful surrounding and fish to observe, possibility to swim naked is of course another strong factor ;-)

naturist 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

If dogs can do it, why can’t we?

naturist 00000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

These lakes are good size if you want to exercise swimming by crossing them forth and back,

naturist 0010 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and some of them, e.g. Turkey Pond, have small islands

view 0002 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

providing nice resting spots…

naturist 0013 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

or nude posing opportunities :-)

naturist 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

If you will to carry a kayak with you,

naturist 0035 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

paddling around is another fun way to explore and experience these lakes,

naturist 0037 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and a great exercise for the upper body too.

naturist 0036 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And if you want some extreme (well, admittedly, just a hint thereof), there are cliffs at Pine Meadow Lake from which you can dive in the lake.

naturist-0043-Harriman-State-Park,-New-York,-USA

Nudity will make it a little more extreme and fun ;-)

naturist 0055 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

But besides exercising and observing nature, such naked outings by the lake provide nice opportunities for social bonding, and we kicked off this season with a good group of 8 butt-naked people.

naturist 0065 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

We had nice summer weather already in the beginning of May, and the water was warm enough for swimming.

naturist 0063 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

We were lucky to have one of the nicest spots at Pine Meadow Lake all to ourselves, with perfect flat rocks to sit on just above the water and in the water.

naturist 0056 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Splashing

naturist 0058 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and talking proved to be a great mix :-)

naturist 0059 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And if you can’t find such nice flat rocks for your rest spot, perhaps a tree will do ;-)

naturist 0015 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

This one turned out to be good as a lounge chair and an observation deck alike!

naturist 0023 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And if all those lakes are great destination points, journey to those (hiking) is just as good in its own merit. There are lots of well-maintained and marked trails in Harriman State Park, but bushwalking is fun too.

naturist 0008 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Most of the time though we take known trails and consult with the map.

naturist 0068 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

The terrain and surroundings are quite diverse,

naturist &0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

from soft soil of the woods to rocks and cliffs.

naturist 0066 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

It’s hard to predict how many people you’ll encounter on the trails,

naturist 0067 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

but once we were lucky to have even this well-known rock formation all to ourselves.

naturist 0070 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

And just as a reminder of the “other world” (and proximity to it), once in a while you may get to a viewpoint where you can see Manhattan skyline.

view 0003 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Such points are great for taking pictures (such as the first one in this post) and rest/stretching alike.

naturist 0029 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

The greenery of the forest provided a nice background, and while it appeared massive,

naturist 0025 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

we were quickly reminded about fragility of the ecosystem,

burnt view 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

as we saw traces of the recent wildfire.

burnt view 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Luckily, it wasn’t that big (though it’s not the only instance, as you’ll see below), and we could continue our hike safely.

naturist 0030 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

But even the most active naturists need some rest after all this hiking and swimming :-)

naturist 0031 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Sometimes a cup of tea is the only thing needed,

naturist 0033 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

and sometimes nothing at all – you just feel blessed with what mother nature provided, especially when it is a thick soft layer of moss just at the time when you want to lie down…

naturist 0071 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Though not for too long… and if we’re not moving forward in some way, we find another activity;

naturist 0072 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

trees, dead or alive, serve well as apparatuses for exercises :-)

naturist 0032 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

 

When the evenings get cooler in the end of summer, it’s nice to get the last sun rays before sunset.

naturist 0034 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Note the “obelisk”, an erect dry tree trunk in the background… This picture was taken mid-September last year, and this is what it looked like this May:

burnt view 0003 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Unfortunately, that little peninsula that we liked so much has burned out quite badly, though large trees have survived.

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/297/18067815753_227f559a38_z_d.jpg

We discovered traces of exploded camper stove, burnt batteries and parts of a tent, so we speculated that could be how the fire started, though we of course couldn’t tell if all this wasn’t actually the result of wildfire, simply having caught the flame. However, most likely it was a man-made disaster-ish. Regardless, hopefully nobody suffered seriously.

burnt view 0005 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Not all human activity is devastating of course, and here is an example of some rock painting art.

rock art 0000 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Doubtfully it’s older than a century though; I couldn’t find any information online about it, so maybe for a moment we can think we uncovered art from the neolithic era… or maybe someone craftily imitated it last year :-)

rock art 0001 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Well, the ruins of what apparently used to be a pump house by the Pine Meadow Lake are certainly not that ancient, but I couldn’t find much information on that either.

naturist 0075 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

Regardless, the ruin inspired us for more exercising and posing :-)

naturist 0074 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

I think there hardly can be any better combination for photography than decaying constructions being slowly overtaken by nature and nudes!

naturist 0073 Harriman State Park, New York, USA

I am happy to have captured all this and share it with you, and surely there’ll be more material from this summer!

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

WNBR in Northern Hemisphere is coming!

World Naked Bike Ride will gather thousands of cyclists in many cities of the Northern Hemisphere to promote cycling as a mode of urban transportation, as well as body acceptance. The dress code is “as bare as you dare”, but in my opinion being naked is the best way to get the message across: cyclists use the power of human body for commuting in the city – so, show that body! – and yet we are the ones who are most prone to the truly indecent exposure to the traffic and vehicle pollution. In most cities, including my current hometown NYC, the ride will be held on Saturday the 13th. You can see the list of participating cities here, though it’s not entirely updated – look up if you have a local World Naked Bike Ride near you!

You can see my reports from WNBR in NYC 2013 and 2012, Boston WNBR 2014, as well as from Madrid in 2009Philly Naked Bike Ride was in is the biggest one I’ve participated so far. As long, as NYPD doesn’t disturb us like last year, we should have a fun ride all along – come and join WNBR NYC if you’re around:
Bodies assembly at 4:00pm, ride departs by 5:00 pm sharp. Arrive early for body painting, trainings, teach-ins, and socializing! Volunteers plan on coming early!
Grand Ferry Park; final route will be communicated to riders who show up only. More details on WNBR NYC wiki page!

wnbrNYC2015

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

NuDance

Active Naturists present  NuDance, a nude dance movement, at FreeForm Festival this weekend! It may sound new to you, but we see it as urban movement going back to its roots ;-)

We are about to start regular weekly classes in New York City, so if you are interested, get on our  e-mail list for updates and find out the location and timing of classes. We are launching this project at FreeForm Festival as a part of our theme camp Gymnasium. We plan to have more workshops at other festivals, including Burning Man, and outdoor locations (e.g. Sandy Hook beach), as we see nature as a source of inspiration too.

We see dance as a celebration of human body in movement, and what a better way to celebrate and appreciate it than in the nude? We also think that by removing clothes, we’ll get rid of preconceived notions of how we are supposed to move according to the social status and social group associated with clothes; also, different dance styles are usually associated with different attire, whereas we want to give your body full freedom in motion and let you move the way you want  irrespective of style. In other words, free your ass, and your mind will follow!

The class is based on various street/urban dance styles, such as hip-hop, breaking, krump, house, etc.  Electronic music and various mixes will serve as the musical accompaniment for the class, to get your energy flowing and your heart pumping while you have fun, learn and get a great workout in the process! And while these styles may appear utterly modern, many moves and rhythms are traced back to tribal and folk origins. Thus nudity will only add that authentic, raw feel, as in many tropical cultures, as well as the cradle of European civilization, Ancient Greece, dance was often performed naked.

And as a pleasant side effect, you’ll probably learn the moves better than at any other (clothed) class, because you can’t cheat your moves naked ;-)

Enjoy this preview with our brilliant instructor damoN, and stay tuned for updates! Join the NuDance Movement!

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

celestial bodies at Sandy Hook

naturist-backflip-0001-Sandy-Hook,-NJ,-USA

Now that the beach season is open in NYC, here is a recap of last year’s fun times at Sandy Hook, and to complete the full circle (and start the new one!) – a couple of photos from the first beach day this year. (Well, first beach day here – as you know, I was in Miami in March :-))

Before I forget, here are useful links for the Seastreak Ferry that goes to Sandy Hook: two $25 dollar offers – Groupon 1 and Groupon 2; and $30 coupon from  website (regular price for return ticket is hefty $45).

759D4161-E3A4-49D9-94A7-595658418C70

I’ve written on Gunnison Beach of Sandy Hook on multiple occasions (just do a search for “sandy hook” on this website for more); so if you’ve read my blog for a while, you know it’s a kind of beach where you go with with a group of friends, and even if you go alone, you end up with with a few friends anyways :-)

naturist 0012 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

… just sometimes you need to dig them up from the sand!

naturist jump

With my friends, our beach day is rarely a passive pastime, as we literally jump around, and frolic in all ways possible.

naturist 0009 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

While I did some acro-yoga with one David, I was happy to see another David to be almost fully recovered after his surgery and back to do his gymnastics tricks, including a backflip.

naturist flip

Looking forward to doing more gymnastics and capoeira with him this year, just like we did it two years ago! If you’re there, feel free to join us :-)

I did report about our ball games at Sandy Hook last year, and I hope to do only more of these year. It’d be awesome if we could manage to play foot-volley,

naturist 0007 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

though unfortunately one of my best friends who was good at football juggling has moved to Hawaii.

naturist 0010 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAnaturist 0008 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

As the evening approaches, the beach is emptying out and calms down.

sunset and crescent moon 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

If you stay till sunset, you may be a witness of a grand show provided by our two brightest celestial bodies.

crescent moon 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Last year, I discovered that there is a campground on Sandy Hook. Unfortunately, if you want to stay on the weekend, you have to reserve it well in advance (most Fri and Sat nights for this summer have been booked out already)! The campground itself is not nude-friendly, but you can go back to the beach and experience it like never before.

night naturist 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

These are pictures from Christian and Giorgio –

night naturist 0002 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

they were inspired by the full moon.

night naturist 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

But if you are not lucky enough to capture the full moon,

night naturist 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

you can enjoy the lights of a different kind:

night NYC view 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

New York City at night provides quite a spectacle too.

night NYC view 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

However, I was looking forward to seeing sunrise at Sandy Hook, as the beach faces eastwards.

sunrise 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Arriving to the beach just before sunrise, to our surprise we were not the first ones, but it was still very different from a day scene there.

sunrise NYC view 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

Well, and even the ‘city that never sleeps’ looked kind of sleepy in those pale morning colors. But the sun was about to come out,

sunrise 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and we looked away from the city skyline. I don’t see sunrise very often, and there is always something inherently exciting about seeing the rise of our parent star.

sunrise 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAsunrise 0005 Sandy Hook, NJ, USAsunrise 0006 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

It was even more exciting to experience that naked; not to mention that even in August, dawn time is a bit chilly, so the first rays of the sun were very much welcome on my skin!

sunrise 0007 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

The  beach was still pretty empty,

sunrise NYC view 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and shorebirds such as plovers certainly took advantage of that.

plovers

It is always funny to see how they follow retreating water in search of newly revealed food

plovers 0002 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

and then hastily run away from approaching waves. They literally live on the edge… of the ocean.

plovers 0003 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

And here is a couple of photos from my first day at Sandy Hook this year – this past Monday. That was apparently the last week until the end of summer when Gunnison Beach was open in its entire length, as already this weekend part of it was closed for an endangered plover species to build nests in the dunes.

shrine 0000 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

No, this is not how plovers’ nests look like. Somebody had built parts of this construction, but then I found it destroyed by the strong wind later in the day. I repaired this “shrine”,

shrine 0001 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA adding an animalistic twist to it. Well, to me it was just an artistic expression, but I can bet that if it ever gets fossilized and then later discovered by future archaeologists, they will get some twisted story to explain it :D

naturist 0015 Sandy Hook, NJ, USA

By the way, I have a strong suspicion of who might have initiated this construction, as someone I got to know last year built something of this kind but even more impressive. This summer has just begun though, so surely we’ll have more stories to share from this amazing place!

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

volleyball and more at SuperBowl South, Lake Como resort, Florida

After participating in the Naked Volleyball Superbowl last year, I got the volley bug and now want to visit as many such events as possible. Before I get to the report from Volleyball Super Bowl South, I’d like to announce a few other naked volleyball tournaments in which my friends and I are going to partake this year:

Banana Rum Cup on the weekend of 20-21 June at White Tail Resort in Virginia (this one I personally will skip, because I don’t want to miss a trail race that’s become a yearly tradition);

Sunny Bowl on the weekend of 25-26 July at Sunny Rest Resort in Pennsylvania;

– and again The Original Naked Volleyball Superbowl on 10-13 September at White Thorn Lodge.

For a fuller list of naked volleyball tournaments in North America refer to Nudist Volleyball website (and if anyone knows of similar lists for other parts of the world, let me know!)

As to my report from Volleyball Super Bowl South, I have to disappoint right away that there won’t be any pictures or videos from the volleyball tournament itself, as photography is not allowed at this event, just like at White Thorn. You can see what I think about such no-photo policies at naturist resorts in my previous post, but I still hope that one day I’ll be able to produce a complete reportage with video footage from one of these volleyball tournaments, just like you would expect from any other sport event. The picture below is the only photo with volleyball you will see in this post, and it’s not even used for playing :D

naturist 0008 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Super Bowl South takes place mid-March at Lake Como naturist resort near Tampa, Florida, and attracts a couple of hundreds participants – a lot fewer than the event at White Thorn but still an impressive number. And I guess I can’t help but compare these two events. I saw many familiar faces, and perhaps because of a smaller crowd and less busy program, there was more opportunity to socialize and get to know other participants.  But if at White Thorn I had an impression that the entire resort, including the residents, was involved in the Super Bowl in some way, it seemed like most Lake Como residents were rather detached from it. It still very well organized, however, and there even was a small fair on the weekend.

Most players camped at two lawns at the front of the resort.

naturist 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

The grass was very nice and soft, and there was also enough shade from cypress trees covered in Spanish moss.

Majority of younger people were a part of Tiki-Tombas group and camped near the entrance to the lake. I joined their team from Novice+ division. Besides a few volleyball matches during daytime, we had lots of fun playing silly games by the fire at night. The rest of the time we spent mostly hanging out at the pool and hot tubs, and a bit of hiking. By Saturday, we had to have the teams formed more or less, and played several matches to determine teams’ levels. Our team did very well, winning 4 out of 6 games, so we were all hyped for the main game on Sunday. Between the dinner at the local restaurant (it was pretty good, but typically for a naturist resort, without too much of a healthy selection) and relaxing in a hot tub, I went back to the court to practice serving with my glow-in-the-dark ball, I just couldn’t get enough! However, on Sunday our team didn’t do so well, losing almost all matches. That’s when you start saying that you participate in such events to have fun and not necessarily to win :D Well, fun was certainly had, irrespectively of results! After novice league was done, we enjoyed watching the pros of A and AA level, and thankfully they kept on playing well into the early evening.

Even though I don’t have any volleyball-related imagery to share, there is still a couple of photos from Lake Como resort in line with Active Naturists’ credo.

naturist 0002 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

At the outskirts of the resort, next to the pine woods, there was a couple of apparatuses for calisthenics. I hadn’t done calisthenics outdoors since October, so I was happy to do it out in the open, and even more so naked! I shared my routine with Peter, and he gladly did some exercises too.

naturist 0006 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

The trail around that pine grove is adorned with wooden statues, mostly of animals.

naturist 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Some were more naturalistic than the others,

view 0002 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

and some were clearly made to be photographed with :-)

naturist 0005 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Besides wooden animals,

view 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

we saw some real ones too.

falcon 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

This falcon favored one of the volleyball fields as its hunting ground.

falcon 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

(Again, ironically, the only imagery of a volleyball field from this report on volleyball tournament has nothing to do with the game…)

falcon 0002 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

I wasn’t sure if the falcon’s hunting efforts were successful, but I was glad to be able to shoot it (with a camera!) in the nice late afternoon light.

falcon 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

This was also a fruiting season for loquat, which we ate plenty.

naturist 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

There were various fruiting citrus trees as well, but only one of the mandarins had a couple of ripe fruit at the time.

cinnamon fern 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Cinnamon fern, despite the name, was among the plants that we could only enjoy visually, so as this aroid below,

plants 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

and huge Spanish moss “beards” swaying in the wind.

view 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

We were puzzled by some fist-sized round fruit that lied on the ground in many places without any sign of a plant that could produce them… until we finally saw one dried exemplar.

plants 0001 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

This bromeliad found a perfect spot to grow, looking as if planted there by someone on purpose.

plants 0003 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Thus, there is a couple of short but quite diverse trails at the premises of Lake Como, providing an opportunity to get in touch with a bit of Florida’s nature while being naked, as [hot Florida’s] nature intended ;-)

plants 0005 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

One of the trails is called ‘Sea of Ferns’ for obvious reasons.

And in addition to plants, here are two more pretty specimens from the trail: a lichen,

lichen 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

and a mushroom.

mushroom 0000 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

Another branch of the trail is called ‘Sunset trail’, also for obvious reasons;

view 0004 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

there you get a nice view of the resort from distance.

view 0005 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

That’s about it, and if you want to hear more about Lake Como resort itself, check out the recent review from Young Naturists America.

As we were about to leave, I noticed another bird of prey right above our campsite. It made that disturbing high-pitch and quite human-like call, about whose origin many campers had been wondering, and not necessarily out of pure curiosity, as it often came about at dawn… Well, still I would shoot this bird only with my camera ;-)

falcon 0004 Lake Como resort, Florida, USA

I hope I’ll be back to Lake Como next year again, to play volleyball in the buff with friends and strangers, and be ‘welcomed’ by this screaming bird :-)

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

secluded spot at Key Biscayne (Miami)

naturist 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Welcome to Miami! And if you think that glamorous and crowded Miami Beach is the only way to enjoy the tropical seaside, you are wrong. Key Biscayne island lies south-east of Miami Downtown, close enough to see its skyline,

view 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but wild and remote enough to enjoy a small secluded beach with barely anyone else in sight, and totally naked if you will. (By the way, the first photo and the one below were taken at the same spot, just at different times of the day, so you can see how tides change.)

naturist 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

The northeast point of Key Biscayne, right by the fossilized reef, has a history of nude recreation, but it’s not an official nudist beach, while Virginia Key just north of it did have an official nudist beach until 1980’s. The place is known as Bear Cut beach. Maybe “bare” would be more appropriate than “bear” here, though far not all visitors bare it all, and some – actually nothing at all: a couple of fishermen were covered entirely, face included.

fisherman 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Besides humans, we also saw quite a few animals of the rare kind that actually wear something:

hermit crab 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

hermit crabs were all over the place there, from the size of a nail to the size of a palm. And luckily for them, there seemed to be no shortage of shells of various sizes.

hermit crab 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USAhermit crab 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It was nice to wander through the mangroves and observe nature.

naturist 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Besides numerous crabs, we saw quite a few crab spiders (aka spinybacked orb-weavers).

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Some of them built their webs quite high up,

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

with an impressive span between the trees.

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I found these spiders pretty too, and hopefully there aren’t readers of this blog with arachnophobia :O (Does anyone know its scientific name btw? And if you like spiders, check this post out!)

spider 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Well, the sight of ibises would probably be more commonly appreciated :-)

ibis 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

As we walked at the fossilized reef,

naturist 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

we also saw a heron. It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence. I got pretty good shots of it resting,

heron 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

hunting

heron 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and flying.

heron 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

We also saw flocks of pelicans pass by,

pelican 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but only a couple of them rested nearby.

pelican 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Our neighbor at the cove where we stayed was an iguana.

iguana 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It  was climbing trees,

iguana 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and Lee Roy followed its example.

naturist 0004 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Although majority of trees there are represented by various mangrove species, we also saw papayas

papaya 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and coconut palms.

coconut palm-tree 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Too bad none of them had ripe fruit. These ants though seemed to be excited about something at the tip of the mangrove root, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. (BTW I later discovered that honey from mangrove blossom has a very particular fruity flavor, make sure to try it when you get a chance!)

ants on mangrove root 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Plants and animals weren’t the only thing that drew our attention though:

trash 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

unfortunately, there was quite a lot of trash too. Most of it was probably washed off from the sea. On the way out, we collected plastic bags and bottles from the cove where we stayed.

mangroves view 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Some of the bigger bits of trash though found their new life as sitting surfaces among mangroves. That’s a good way of recycling too!

mangroves view 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It also turned out to be a great place for snorkeling. I hoped to see manatees,

seaweed & corals 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but I had to be satisfied with their potential feeding ground only, as some parts of the seafloor were covered with seaweed.

seaweed & corals 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I was also happy to see that despite this place is known for its fossilized reef from several thousands years ago, there is some new coral growth – hopefully there will be a new live coral reef sometime soon!

seaweed & corals 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USAseaweed & corals 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I saw quite a lot of fish, e.g. young barracudas (?)

fish 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and a stingray.

ray 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

There was a lot of small fish by the mangrove roots, confirming mangroves’ role as fish nurseries. Among the bigger fish, puffers were probably most common.

As you can see, the water is very clear there, and the seafloor is clean, but I did see some glass, so be careful when you wade.

hermit crab 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Overall, it was amazing to see this pocket of wildlife right off Miami downtown, great for naturists and naturalists alike!

mangroves view 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

As we were about to leave, this crab wanted to give us a good-bye hug… We weren’t quite sure.

crab 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

We also had a small video shot for something very special – stay tuned for updates!

naturist 0005 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

For now, just enjoy this view of Eddy’s jump split trying to bridge Miami downtown (on the left) with Miami Beach (on the right).

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

theme camp application submitted for Burning Man 2015

Last week, we submitted our theme camp placement application for Burning Man, and if we get approved, we should get a nice location for better traffic and attendance. Our program is quite extensive, so we hope our guests and we ourselves will have a fun and productive experience at the Gymnasium camp. If you are going to Burning Man this year and would like to participate in any way, please e-mail us or leave a comment here! New members are also welcome! Here are some excerpts from our application (with illustrations of our inspirations as well).

Gymnasium camp layout plan + name 3.0

The layout of our camp is very simple, as our main focus is organizing interactive events rather than creating mind-boggling constructions. We will have a square shade structure with open space in the middle – our gymnasium’s “palaestra”, where most of activity will happen. The entrance will be adorned with columns, while the internal court of palestra will feature a couple of [artificial] trees typical to Greek landscape such as cypress and  olive. The perimeter of the camp will be used a track for our races.

yoga wine drinking Ancient Greecewine drinking Ancient Greece

Unfortunately, we’ve ditched our idea with serving food and drinks to our participants so far, as this would require additional applications to state authorities, which might be too much for the first year while not really crucial for our theme.

But we shall certainly have several athletic activities, as we shall revive a few events from the authentic Olympic games with some modifications.

wrestling Ancient Greece

Greek-style wrestling, and as a variation, oil wrestling; we shall provide olive oil to participants; on the one hand, oil will make wrestling more slippery = difficult and fun at the same time, but on the other, we think participants will appreciate its soothing effect on their skin, being in the harsh arid environment.

oiling Ancient Greece

We had do think how go around prohibition of animals at Burning Man for our “equestrian” events

chariot race Ancient Greecehorse riding Ancient Greece

The solution is simple, our participants will play the roles of both riders and horses:

piggy back Ancient Greece

piggy-back and barrel-run races (possibly relay races, depending on the number of participants) will be our equivalent of equestrian events. We would like to hold these two during the Burning Man’s edition of the World Naked Bike Ride aka Naked Pub Crawl. We may offer participants to cover themselves in olive oil for these events as well, as a symbolic act for filling a car tank, to remind that the World Naked Bike Ride is a demonstration for oil-independency and for alternative energy sources and body-powered transportation (not to mention that the slippery aspect will make it more fun as well).

discus thrower Ancient Greece

A frisbee throw will be our equivalent of discus competition (this is one of the reasons why we would like our camp to be at the esplanade); we could have one frisbee event during day and another during night with LED-lit frisbee discs.

For athletic training, we would like to provide workshops on wrestling, yoga, acro-yoga, street-style dances (hip-hop, house, break etc.) and capoeira. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance and usually accompanied by music. In this aspect, it is similar to the way Ancient Greek athletes often trained, accompanied by live musicians.

music and jumps Ancient Greece

As for the artistic aspect of our theme, we plan to hold a poetry slam. In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals, including the Olympics. Also, champion athletes commissioned great poets to compose their victory odes, so we would like to combine one of our athletic events with a poetry competition and make the losers compose odes to the winners.

Similarly, to make our events even more interactive, we could introduce bets among contestants or their supporters: e.g. “If you win, I’ll give you a foot rub every night for three nights”.

Our camp has two certified and even more amateur masseurs, so we would like to provide massages to the winners and most active participants of our events.

To add another aspect of Ancient Greek culture – mythology and drama – we will reenact some famous duels between mythological figures.

For the philosophical aspect of our theme, we plan to hold discussions on various topics, and at the same time experiment with different forms of discussion: symposia, Socratic dialogues, debates, autobiographical explorations of themes related to the body. Our topics will include:

– body image and body acceptance across cultures and history; their roles in naturism, and what naturism may teach the rest of society about body acceptance;

– body modification (e.g. cosmetic surgery, piercing, tattoos, scarring, the practice of circumcision);

– the place of god(s) and humans in our modern worldview and in Ancient Greece;

– the concept of gymnasium, as training for the body and mind in equal measure; mind/body relationship; mediations of the body and athleticism of the mind.

thinker

Let us know what you think, and if you cannot participate directly but have an idea related to our theme, just comment here.

Posted in active naturists, Burning Man | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Haulover Beach

Haulover beach in Miami is  surely one of the busiest naturist beaches in the world, with reported million visitors a year. Tourists come year round and from all over the world, but I bet that New Yorkers are particularly common, considering that NYC – Miami area is by far the busiest air route in US in a “push to make South Florida New York’s sixth borough“. So I wasn’t too surprised when I stumbled upon a couple of friends from New York on my last trip there. (And that’s besides two other groups of NY friends who I knew were coming.)

naturist 0004 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

Haulover is also one of the best organized beaches thanks to supporting organizations such as the B.E.A.C.H.E.S Foundation Institute and South Florida Free Beaches. They provide free brochures where you can read about naturist movement and activities in the area (also available online). They help to preserve this beach for naturist use, which often gets threatened given that this is one of the last undeveloped beachfront lands in Miami metropolitan area that are not part of state or national parks.

naturist 0005 Haulover beach, Miami, Florida, USA

At least for now, we’re safe to enjoy this beach as nature intended :-)

At the same time, the beach has all basic facilities that you’d expect from an urban beach – restrooms, showers, drink water fountains, volleyball courts, food trucks, and of course lifeguards. Haulover beach is accessible, but after I was run over by car on my trip to Florida last year, my favorite way of getting to/from the beach was on Tam’s shoulders.

naturist 0002 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

Guardhouses apparently also provide opportunity for exercising, at least according to Mat.

naturist 0003 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

By the way, guardhouses in the clothing-optional section of the beach are painted pink, and yellow in the adjacent textile area – so, in case you go swimming along the beach it’s easy to figure out where should get off the water and return. And swimming is something you definitely should do at Haulover. The water is just perfect – clear and warm year round.

naturist 007 Haulover beach, Miami, Florida, USA

On my first visit to Haulover beach, which was with Joe and a whole bunch of people from  Florida Young Naturists event, besides having nice company at the beach, when we went for a swim we were accompanied by a school of small fish… Either they mistook us for their parents or thought we’d simply provide them shelter from sharks  :-)

In any case, they followed us for half an hour!

Sharks are sometimes spotted at Haulover too, of which you’ll be notified by the lifeguards, but it’s rarely a dangerous kind. From my experience, you should be more worried about cars in Florida…

I used to think that the only thing missing to make Haulover an all you-want-from-a-beach kind of place was surfable waves, but on my last trip I saw there a surfer too who managed to catch some waves – nothing spectacular, but he had fun. Well, I guess you can’t have it all perfect, but Haulover gets pretty to close to it when it comes to urban beaches. Altogether, it is a great place if you want to spend the day together with your friends in the altogether.

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Berghain

When I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago for Miami Music Week (amongst other things – more on that later!), it felt like the entire world of electronic dance music was there, with pool parties during day and club gigs during night (and sometimes well into early afternoon), not to mention Miami Winter Music Conference and Ultra festival… I could only wish one more addition to the whole shenanigans – nudity (or removal, of clothes, that is!) Despite the perfect weather and context (e.g. pool parties), nudity will doubtfully be allowed at Miami Music Week events, and pretty much anywhere at dance parties, unless these are specialized events. Luckily, there is one club that has managed to combine worldwide fame and a truly underground atmosphere where “anything goes”, including nudity! It’s Berghain in Berlin. It is often dubbed as the techno capital of the world and is famous for parties that start on Friday night and finish on Monday morning.

It was voted the best night club in the world in 2009 by DJ Magazine. Not surprisingly, on a Saturday night you may end up queuing for 2 hours… and in the worst case in vain, as many people aren’t admitted for no obvious reason (rather random, I suspect), which sounds nasty, but the demand is just clearly too high. And you should appreciate the club management, who have preserved the entry fee pretty much the same throughout the years and haven’t turned the club into a posh place for more cash: there’s still “No VIP, no mirrors in the bathroom, no expensive cocktails, just a good sound system and great crowd!”

Berghain flyer May 2014

You can sort of get the vibe from Berghain’s racy flyers. The one above is probably my favorite from all I’ve seen, and by coincidence it features all naked people. It is from May 2014, the first time when I got naked there and almost 4 years after I moved from Berlin. When I used to frequent Berghain while living in Berlin, I always suspected it’d be fine to dance naked there, but I’d never seen anyone do that. I talked about it with a couple friends, but we just never tried. Last year, I was determined to test it. And when I got to Berghain on a late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, the atmosphere was just right. Perfect ratio of crowd/personal space, great music and people who were into music… Off went my clothes, and it felt great. Finally I was 100% at home in Berghain! Most people around didn’t seem to notice, but I got my share of smiles and thumbs up. One guy told me it was more common to see naked people on a Sunday night, when more locals come out as opposed to more touristy Saturday night. He himself was from New York originally but resided in Berlin; we got in touch and agreed to return in the evening of the same day (which was Sunday)… After getting some sleep and doing acro-yoga in Tiergarten, I went to Berghain again, with Tam this time. Despite there was no queue, the bouncer didn’t let him in – as always, absolutely no reason was given (and most likely there was no reason?)… I had a stamp from my previous visit though (once you’re in, you can leave and enter the club throughout the weekend), and as it was my last night in Berlin and wanted to see Berghain on a Sunday night, I still decided to get in. My new ex-New-Yorker friend was already there, and he introduced me to his friend who apparently always danced naked in Berghain. So, this time, I got naked as soon as I found my spot on the dance floor. I kept my clothes nearby, but the nudist Berghainer said I should have left it at the coat check – the staff is absolutely cool with nudity; the bouncer even told him that in case someone made a fuss about nudity, THAT person would be kicked out! That night, I saw 3 more naked guys dancing, so while nudists are a tiny minority in Berghain, we are certainly welcome and safe there. If you like techno and dancing naked, you can’t think of a better place!

PS You might have noticed the absence of photos in this blogpost – that’s because one of the very few rules in Berghain includes prohibition of photography, similar to some naturist venues. Photos or videos wouldn’t make much justice anyways (not to mention that it’s quite dark there), it’s more of a personal experience that makes Berghain special.

Posted in active naturists | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments