Naked life


Naked life
Life without walls
Just picture your neighbourhood without walls, your neighbours walking around around in their underwear, drinking their morning coffee in plain view of all before they manage to get their face to sit straight. The warm familiarity of a warm hand down the front of your trousers while watching TV or that moment when the bile rises in repugnance of a spiteful comment from your dear spouse. Our lives depend on walls. Without walls when would we pick our noses or break joyous wind.  But this is exactly the experience that camping gives us and I have to admit, it is a very pleasant one.  

As a Brit, I have always viewed camping as an exercise in resilience. I remember shivering

Camping in Britain
kingdom of rain

throughout the night as a small child, fear stoked by campfire ghost stories; the sounds of nature morphed by the imagination into ghouls and monsters. Waking up with a raging hangover in a puddle after a stormy night at a festival as a teen.  Camping in Britain is a badge of honour, a rite of passage to fill the heart of any Victorian explorer or even Baden-Powell himself.


Then, I tried camping in Greece. Camping in Greece is not an SAS survival course; it is an exercise in prolonged nudity. Not just the fact that you spend most of your time in your trunks or bikini but  that people set up complete roaded suburbs from canvas and string, it is true open-plan living.  The result is taste of life without walls. The barbeque indicates the kitchen, a piece of string the laundry room.
What really started to make an impression on me, though was how a life without walls can be quite liberating. Stripping life back to basics is 5star living on 1star expenses, your every need is fulfilled because you don’t have any. The most taxing dilemma of the day is whether to make the trek down to the beach or sit and read a book in the hammock. The most arduous task is lighting the barbeque for dinner.

Your neighbours are all very semi-clad and this seems to make them more open to a good morningand a friendly chat. The lack of boundaries makes open visits so much easier and we enjoyed meeting people that we may not have otherwise spoken to on a hotel break. We shared food and drinks with them without fear of encroaching or interference.
The whole experience got me thinking what my own neighbourhood would be like without walls. Would we be a little more considerate without our doors to close, a little more charitable if we saw what was on other people’s plates.

naked camping
life al fresco
Then there is the matter of vanity; you would think that being naked all day would make you very self-conscious but quite the opposite is true. When the illusion of perfection is no longer made possible by push-up bras or baggy shirts, people look more human, more flawed and less intimidating. We tend to imagine what we cannot see and we tend not to imagine the worst. That said, you do become more in-tune with your own body and are more likely to pass on another sausage from the grill when you feel your tummy starting to protrude. One of my neighbours was a young guy with a fantastically chiselled physique but seeing his mealtimes served from a carefully prepared Tupperware box helped me appreciate that nothing comes for nothing. I personally found people less pretentious and more attractive for it.               

Taking some of the pretence from life might help many to feel less inadequate and more happy with reality. The walls that protect us from prying eyes also allow us to become more influenced by illusions from the popular media than by the people we live around. Reality becomes what we think everyone else is doing.

I can thoroughly recommend a couple of weeks under canvas each year, without push-up, lycra or baggy trousers. It would help to realign our notion of reality and view others in a more human light, not to mention redressing the illusions foisted upon us by the photoshopped media stars.      




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