No back up, or without a net, is the act of taking off and being away from ones clothing. You can stash them, or misplace them, but you are out someplace without a cover-up.
What is the Appeal?
Many people go to great lengths to trap themselves without clothing. What is it that is so appealing? I know how that has felt for me, but I haven’t nailed down the appeal for everyone. I have others descriptions of liberation, or feeling more naked and aware, or a rush. For me, it has at times buried, or helped to at least to heal resentments, as I have stood up for myself to demand my freedom after years of body repression. It has given me that gambling risk factor and rush. It has that just go with it abandon, like throwing myself into a sense of freedom, akin to say, for example, jumping off a cliff and diving into water below. It sometimes is like what going barefoot all over feels, which is a further degree of the delight of naked in the world. There has also been that accomplishment factor when the distance is calculated, like noting how many miles away from any clothing, or cover-up. I know that as a naturist, abandoning myself to the elements in a primitive way, when there is no going back, is creating a whole new relationship with nature.
I feel delight when I go to Redington Pass. I now always leave any coverings in the car, sneak to the trail-head and back just for the pleasure of having less to carry, to be more naked in the physical experience and then more a part of the nature of it all. It is a safe place, where I enjoy celebrating the inherent sense of it being the right thing to do. I know that when I meet others, that they will expect nudity and mostly are nude as well, which would be a more practical and perfect world order, without the boundaries of a resort. No backup has much to do with expanding one’s inner and outer boundaries that have been imposed.
During my backpacking trips, I relish the point when I can stuff my covering away with the cold weather protection in the pack and feel the environment even more. I always wait until the last minute, when I become uncomfortable, before putting on clothing and then I only cover what is necessary to that purpose. I delight in my aware sensitive nude state. When coverings are tucked away in a pack there is no quick access and this begins a sense of the no backup state. There is certainly nothing accessible within more than a minute, when there are only seconds before and encounter.
Getting in Touch with It All, Personally:
I am looking forward to backpacking and experimenting with not covering during encounters with others far in the back areas this season. This hasn’t been my policy; I’m used to stealth, the craft of not being caught nude. I’ll be struggling with my knee jerk responses, my conditioned responses, instead standing proudly as a human being without shame. I’ll be tuning into the nature of my surroundings and less with the preoccupation of catching other hikers before they are aware of me. I’ll have to see if I am unlearning valuable behaviors, or expanding my repertoire of good habits. I assume that I’ll learn to trust people more, because I will be gaining a conditioning to realize and feel comfortable with the fact that most, 95 plus percent of others, are reasonable and will not be alarmed. My reaction will become more natural and open and consequently, I’ll be more natural in my skin, as I was intended to be. This is something that I have known only among socially nude situations. So, I figure part of the no back up draw is to feel accepted as I am. Also, there is dropping the social conventions and then to experience better the nature within me. I know that it will enhance my sense of being in the wilderness. I know that from my base camp, I can travel with just a water bottle, or a water filter, feeling even more naked in nature. I will be with more trust of what I have been given and all of those natural blessings.
What is it about feeling more naked, the desire to be more naked, the act of becoming just that? Could it be a desire learned during that first time as a kid when being naked out of doors and wandering where I wasn’t supposed to? Is it to re-experience that amazing rush that I felt decades ago? Is it something inherent in a human being to let go and let God and appreciate aspects of that gift in that domain? I certainly do feel more alive without the net.
Can it be akin to a young man going out alone to make a life, or on a vision quest? There is something about packing and hiking alone rather than with someone. When it is night and there is no one there but you and the shadows and fears at camp, there is a growth and a need to find a trust in “Something.” One has to come to terms with trust. There is to rationalize the reality, which always comes down to the ease, feelings and trust amongst the unpredictably of the immediate situation. When I’m alone naked, I feel more of a comfort with being alone than when I am bundled up in a bivy or a tent. The boogey men and giant bears can’t seem to touch the naked one, although the creepy little biting stinging critters can. I can’t place a finger on it, yet. Maybe more solo adventures will reveal it, but naked feels more a part of. So, there we find a naked guy standing alone in a wilderness and he is having a spiritual/religious experience! There IS something more than the fact of a goofy unclothed man and a bunch of trees. The clothing steals the trust. The less clothing, the more trust is known, or needed. The more trust needed the more trust is found and the deeper the experience.
There is something compelling about getting out there nude and the greater the sense of naked the better.
The Gambler’s Rush:
There are also those which like to take risks, the gamblers. They take elaborate measures to trap themselves from any clothing covers and have to find their way back to safety. There is a physical rush and alarm. It is to feel more alive to a civilized person. This tendency is why we have Las Vegas and 12 step programs. It isn’t always about winning, or not losing. It is about the rush, the fear, the risks. But, what are the risks of being seen naked in an unusual situation? Reality eventually sets in, diminishing the returns, or an arrest takes place. Sometimes the rush is terrifying, or destructive. No backup can be just a dare, or something brave to accomplish. It can give a false sense of mastery when plain luck has been the grace. Whatever, being without a net does enhance the experience of simple nudity.
Many have often described the shedding of clothes and moving into the nude state as doffing the burdens of life and living free for a while. The act with no backup cuts the strings to a greater degree.
There’s Murphy’s Law. Several times, when I have felt brazen enough to just take encounters technically nude, because only a very few really care, some obstacle has popped up. Just when I started my experiment in practical liberty resolutely, people with children, who might object, or feel uncomfortable for no good reason, have popped up. Another example, after not seeing anyone for two days, I squat by the side of the trail and someone shows up at the precise wrong time. It’s a “just my luck” kind of thing. It is as a law of attraction does exist in our universe.
Over Time One finds Change:
A colleague expressed his take on no backup, after extensive practice:
“…yes it was perhaps the thrill of the unknown that first had me walking considerable distances away from my clothes, leaving them up to ten miles away at times. But it wasn’t long before the peace and oneness with one’s creator and one’s being that you describe took over and had me under its spell and displaced any remaining sense of thrill or fear of repercussion that I might have originally brought to the game. My trust in others and in the world around me so greatly enhanced as it has been through my years of venturing far away from my clothes, has in a way come full circle.”
“ Over the years, my comfort with going without a net has become so completely normalized for me, that it is the act of putting clothes on that I must now give thought to.”
“I now wear clothing with purpose and creativity such that I may enjoy the act of wearing something that expresses how I feel inside at the moment or makes a social statement rather than merely wearing something that complies with what society dictates that I should wear.”
If you try it, be safe and secure. Identify the risks, consider the odds, and then, maybe, try it. Remember that you may be in a wilderness and its unpredicted life threatening surprises. Being naked doesn’t imply unprepared, just ask any naked Boy Scout.
Later in the week, I’ll publish a “Trip report” of the first “No backup” experiment during this season.