The Realization

Model: Non | Photographer: D^A^O

I am an entrepreneur in my early 40’s, a Hong Konger but I was relocated to Singapore by my previous employer in 2002, have not left the Lion City ever since.

After my graduation in 1995, I immediately put some money aside for supporting my insatiable appetite of travelling abroad once I started working.

Despite the numerous opportunities to visit Europe, I had attended many live football matches and concerts from the last 17 years, my first encounter with nudism only came 4 years ago when I was visiting Europe again. In fact, I must thanks to my wife who suggested us to pay a visit to some local thermal baths in Munich. According to the receptionist of the place, there are many rules from a German sauna, I quickly learned that there are 4 important etiquettes before entering the saunas: firstly, you must bring your bathrobe, secondly two big towels , thirdly a pair of bath slippers and lastly no mobile phone is permitted. He further explained that, basically "bathing suits are banned", "the spa is a nudist area", "you must go completely naked in order to use their facilities".

As we are not often allowed to bring in a wet towel, you need to be prepared to pack two towels: one for sitting on in the sauna and the other for drying yourself. Before entering the sauna you are also expected to wash yourself and your hair. Furthermore, the towel needs to be big enough to allow you to place your feet on it when you sit on the wooden benches. No perspiration is allowed to drip onto the benches. At most German or Swiss saunas, the bather is to be dry when entering the sauna steam room.

Initially, I was not prepared to shed all my clothes off in front of so many other naked people because I didn't know the way I should react when people were staring at me. I told myself that I was not ashamed of my body, neither I should care about the presence of other naked strangers. I realized that I was just overly controlled about my body issue of self-consciousness, so I had to let go myself and enjoy the special and unique surroundings they could offer.

Indeed, I’ve begun to indulge so much in the freedom of clothes free saunas as well as the skinny-dipping at the pools. We spent more than three hours there during our first experience and it was marvelous and rejuvenating after almost two weeks away from home and spending most of our time sightseeing. I was still not too sure if I was a naturalist at this stage yet.

Over the next few years, we went back and forth to Germany, Switzerland and Austria for our holiday. I'd decided to defer my other holiday destinations in order to spend more time to travel to this part of the world. One of my favourite things to do is to visit ski resorts in Switzerland and Austria. Anyone who has been on a skiing holiday would know how tiring all the physical exertion and après-ski can be, so you can imagine that I was often is need of some down time after the ski. I would often rush back to the resort to enjoy the saunas and hot steam baths down at our ski resort every day without fail. This was my perfect escape!

I recalled that I’d befriended with a German family from Freiburg when I was at an Austrian resort about 3 years ago, a family of 4, Mum, Dad, a son and daughter who both must have been in their early teens. All naked as the day they were born, the husband basically explained that he could tell that I was not at ease when I first entered the small sauna room owing to their presence, he explained that people have less hang-ups about nudity and going to the spa and everyone getting naked together was not a big issue. Nobody judged and nobody would stare, but that was because of their European culture – there are some spas, you can choose whether you want to mingle with members of the opposite sex or stick to your own sex for certain hours or days. Everyone is there to relax and have a great time, so nobody would bother who you are or who you are with. In Germanic/ Nordic world, everyone is accepted to be partly or completely in the nude, either when you are bathing or sun tanning at some resorts, swimming compounds, or parks. You won’t be getting arrested nor hassled by the passerby unlike in most of Asian countries. I’d love going back to the thermal baths to enjoy the freedom and lack of judgment, I can also completely forget about my stressful and hectic life at work.

The realization did hit me at the same time, so I am a naturalist? I wouldn’t be honest if I said that I don't think the nudism would cause my fidgety when walking through a sauna’s entrance or exit in the nude, while taking my tower off for a naturalist event still does to me this day, but once I am surrounded by cool like-minded people all my worries are gone and I can feel truly free.

The Absolute Beginner
Image countributer: www.montafon.at

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