Naturism with a Disability

Naturism with a Disability

This post was last Updated on August 26, 2020

When we were recently talking about Naked Wanderings and all the places we have visited over the years, we were approached by a woman with a physical disability. She could still walk, albeit not very far and on not too rough terrain. Her wheelchair took her to most places but also required at least a bit of a flat underground. The gravel roads of the naturist resort where we were staying at the moment were not particularly ideal for her movements.

 

She asked whether we had any tips for traveling to naturist places with physical disabilities. Being gifted with still a young and vivid body, this is not a topic that we think about much. We’ve met others, often elderly naturists, who told us that they could not visit the nude beaches that we enjoyed because the road to get there was too long or too steep (or often both). But at naturist resorts in general, we always figured that they were pretty accessible for everyone. Especially given the ramps at the restaurant and the shower blocks and the special toilets for the less mobile. Many places even have adjusted rental units for people with a disability.

 

How they have to get from one place to another, was something we never really considered. Nor could we give any good tips at the moment.

How to do well for everyone

The topic got stuck in our heads that evening. How could we adjust this place so people who can’t walk well or have a wheelchair can use the gravel roads to get from their camping spots to the toilet blocks and to the main facilities? The easiest solution would be to put a big layer of concrete over the gravel, making the roads flat and smooth. Which immediately rose a new question: Is that what we really want? Concrete roads would definitely take away much of the natural atmosphere of the camping. Instead of camping in nature, it might feel more like camping next to a highway.

 

We started searching for alternatives. A part of the road could be replaced with flat stones, like some kind of bicycle lane. These stones could be in the same color as the gravel, so it wouldn’t disturb the overall view. Or we could put tracks in the gravel, like small train tracks, at the same width of wheelchair wheels. This asks of course for a large investment from the camping owner. This particular camping didn’t have more than 1 kilometer of roads, other campings have many more. And then we’re still not covering the problem of hillsides.

The Naked Wanderings solution

The further these people have to set up camp from the main facilities, the more difficult it gets. So the logical idea would be to provide designated spots close to the facilities. If supermarkets can provide those places on their parking lots, why wouldn’t camping owners provide them at their campings? Then again, the supermarket doesn’t particularly earn from the spot where you park your car. Whereas for the camping, it’s their main source of income. In high season, when the camping runs full, you don’t want to keep several pitches free, because maybe someone with a disability will show up. Or maybe not.

 

The best solution we could come up with was indeed a system of designated pitches at strategical places. But instead of using the “supermarket-system”, we could use the system that’s typical on public transport. Anyone can use those places, but if someone with a disability gets on the bus, you got to move to another spot. All camping visitors would get the chance to choose one of the well-located pitches, but if someone really needs them, you’ll have to move to a further located less accessible pitch. It does sound quite logical, doesn’t it?

Naturist camping with a disability

Given this particular chat, we’ve been mostly talking about people with walking issues. But there are many other types of physical disabilities. The other day we received a message from a blind person who had bought one of our Naturist Guides. With modern technology, it’s not very hard to understand that, even though this person can’t actually read the guide, there’s enough software that can read it out loud. But what if this person actually wants to visit one of the places that we mention in this guide?

 

We’ve never seen a naturist resort that was completely adjusted for blind people. On the other hand, at pretty much every naturist resort we’ve ever visited, there are numerous other naturists who wouldn’t hesitate to give someone a helping hand. To guide a blind person the right way. To push a wheelchair up the hill.

 

In Canada, we met several deaf people, who praised naturist resorts and naturists for being so accepting of them. For really taking the effort to talk to them in a way that they could understand from the lips and body language. In such cases, the naturist mentality largely replaces the need for special amenities. In other cases, unfortunately, that alone won’t do the trick. Then it remains the question of how much a resort can invest to make a visit from the less mobile just a little bit more comfortable.

 

As mentioned in the introduction, we don’t know what it’s like to live and travel with a disability. To naturist places or anywhere else. This post is just the result of a brainstorming session that we wanted to share with you. If you are a naturist with a disability or you know lots about it, please leave your insights and tips in the comments section.

 

UPDATE:Β In the MeWe group Naturists with Disabilities, you can share information with other disabled naturists and ask for help and opinions.

 

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22 thoughts on “Naturism with a Disability

  1. Hi Nick and Lins,

    I write a column about naturism and disability for H&E magazine, having been disabled myself by a career-ending stroke in 2013. I’d like to address some of the points you make in my next column. Obviously I’ll credit you and mention Naked Wanderings. Are you ok with that?

  2. I don’t use a wheelchair but I remember seeing beach wheelchair at Club Orient. Similar to a regular wheelchair but it had larger wheels so it could more easily be pushed on the beach or even into the water. I presume the club purchased it for the use of their disabled guests. I’ll try to include a photo of the beach wheel chair in the website link

  3. Your first couple paragraphs speak of your naivety, ignorance & privilege. Disgusting.

    I guess people just don’t want to touch the subject. The silence is deafening from the lack of discourse.

  4. Hi Nick&Lins: Not all disabilities relate to moving around a site. My wife has survived colon cancer and has an ileostomy, a urostomy and a central line for hydration. If she were to consider nudism (highly unlikely) she would need washrooms with a work surface such as a baby change-table and running water beside a flush toilet. A ‘disabled-accessible’ motel unit would be OK, but who would want a campsite close to such a toilet facility? Not many! The plastic pouches which collect body wastes are not attractive. they need to be emptied and are probably not protected against U/V light so the decay of plastic would have to be considered. The pouches also need to be discarded from time to time in normal garbage.

    With regard to surfaces suitable for the mobility disabled: there are recycled rubber products which could be laid over a gravel base and produce a durable attractive walk- or wheelchair way. One example could be https://coveryourugly.com/products/rubber-stone/

    1. Hi Mark,

      We’ve met several nudists with a pouch during our travels. Their procedures are a mystery to us, it’s not something most people like to talk about in detail. But all of them told us that nudism doesn’t just give them more comfort, but also helped them with body confidence and to accept their pouch.

      If you’re interested, we know a naturist from Canada who has a pouch and who loves to help other people with pouches. Both with the physical and the mental aspects. If you send us a quick e-mail, we can give you his contact info and further information.

  5. Dear Nick and Lynn, in the Netherlands there is a website where disabled naturists and volunteers meet each other to enable naturist experiences together and to enjoy them together. I am not involved in any way, but I think it is great that someone has taken this initiative. Take a digital look:
    Unfortunately for your international followers only in Dutch.

  6. Nick&Lins: Thanks for the offer to put us in contact with another ostomate. I won’t take up the offer; my wife no longer travels due to health and stress reasons.

    I prefer to encourage you to create a thread or tab on your website where ostomates (people who use a pouch) who are (or want to be) nudists could gather and share ideas about best practices and helpful hints. I think that may have been what Newdust was getting at, but could have expressed it more positively. In your travels, you could advocate on behalf of disabled naturists and report on the suitability of the various places you visit for disabled naturist potential visitors. Even places that meet the requirements for disabled facilities (according to local laws) often do not meet the needs of ‘real people’ who need (for example) a washbasin and running water in a toilet stall big enough for a wheelchair. Even Cypress Cove in Florida doesn’t meet that standard!

    1. Thanks for the tip Mark, but we don’t think that Naked Wanderings is the right place for that. Most of all, because we don’t have first-hand experience. As we mention in this blog post, we don’t have a clue of what it’s like to be a disabled naturist. Or to be disabled in general. Or to have a pouch. We’re not the right persons to write in detail about that or to give valuable information.

  7. Aloha Nick, Lins and Naked Wandering Friends,
    Sorry I’m so late to this conversation. If there are any blind naturists or friends of blind naturists out there, I would love to hear if there any tips, groups, blogs, etc. for a fellow blind naturist. Fortunately, I have a partner who acts as my eyes and is also a naturist.

    Nick and Lins, thank you for your wonderful blog and e-books that provide such wonderful description and information. Would it be possible for you to allow and enable text-to-speech on your Kindle books? This allows the Voice Over feature on both my iPhone and Kindle to read your book to me. As for the Naturist With Disability link provided by another Naked Wandering Friend, would it be possible to provide an audio challenge in addition to visual capris challenge?

    I really appreciated learning about the Dutch group who provides friendly support o naturists with disabilities. In Hawaii, there is an organization called Access Surf that provides surfing experiences to people with disabilities … but wouldn’t;t it be wonderful if there was an Acccess Naturism? Lol.

    Peace, Love and Aloha to all of you out there.

      1. Aloha Nick and Lins,
        Apparently, text-to-speech is not always enabled with Kindle books. I will follow up with Amazon to see if they can toggle this feature from their end. I will let you know if they cannot.

        I hope your Naked Wanderings will one day bring you to Hawaii after this pandemic is finally over. Ironically, Hawaii does not allow public nudity at its beaches, but there at least a handful of widely accepted clothing optional beaches across the Islands … but nothing like in California, Florida, Mexico and or course many countries in Europe.

        Aloha,
        Keith

  8. Thank you for having the courage to broach the subject of nudism and disability. Newdust was correct about the naivety, ignorance & privilege of all of us who don’t live with a disability, but their attitude doesn’t help the situation.
    For many, the concept of disability stops at wheelchairs, with no consideration being given to those with other mobility issues (partial paralysis, loss of a limb, use of a walker, the need for support equipment ), deafness, blindness, or autoimmunity issues.
    My wife has celiac disease. Eating trace amounts of gluten will put her in bed for several days. We have cancelled trips after discovering the only non-gluten meal available was a lettuce salad. Wheat is used as filler in spice mixes, condiments and many other products.
    It is used in makeup, skin lotions, and sunscreens. Use of such products will cause a painful blistering rash on my wife that can last up to a year.
    If you don’t live with it, you just don’t know all the adjustments that have to be made daily.
    My disability is that I’m 6′-4″ tall. On planes, busses and trains, the top of the headrest is between my shoulder blades leading to poor posture and backaches. Single beds are too short, and beds with footboards are impossible. Losing an eye to an umbrella at a cafe is a constant threat. It is unsafe for me to drive most cars even if I can squeeze into them because I can’t even see the horizon. Traffic signals and stop signs are impossible to see. You will not find being tall listed in any recognised list of disabilities.
    You are right not to attempt to deal with the issue, but rather leave it to those with experience. There are too many traps and pitfalls otherwise. You may consider giving the link to naturist with disabilities and other such groups a permanent place on your site that’s not embedded in a post or comments.
    What may seem like an inconvenience to some may be a show stopper to someone else. We have no expectation that any resort or destination will address even the majority of disability concerns. What is critical is having enough information to evaluate whether we can navigate the ones that haven’t been addressed.
    Building codes have taken useful strides to address some disability issues, but building codes just define the worst buildding you are legally allowed to build. We can and should do better..

    1. Thanks for your comment, Han!
      We don’t think that Naked Wanderings is the best platform to have a space for naturists with disabilities. Most of all because we personally can’t bring any added value. We would be 100% reliant on information from others, which we can’t even double-check.

      As someone mentioned earlier, social media groups will work much better for this. Someone will just have to volunteer to put the effort into those when it comes to organizing, advertising, and moderating.

      For resorts, it’s most often a monetary aspect. How much do they want to invest in facilities for people with disabilities and how much return will they get on their investment? Do they really want to invest in sending their cook to a class where he/she can learn how to make decent meals for the guests that are gluten-intolerant? And then what about those that are lactose intolerant? And any other allergies? Do they really want to invest in high doors and long beds to make the life of their 6’4″ guests more comfortable?

      We believe that the key here is organized events and group trips. If you can get a group of people with food intolerance, large heights, or wheelchairs together, you can probably find a place that does accommodate for their needs.

      1. As an achitect, I understand the costs of retrofitting buildings to make them accessible and the impact on financial viability. It is much cheaper to implement measures in new construction. Much can be done at no or little additional cost.

      2. Assembling a group of similar people together doesn’t work. It just multiplies the cost for a resort and imposes further restrictions on when, where, and who you can vacation with. Better to buy beds without footboards and train chefs to cook without unnecessary gluten. Build accomodation for greater diversity into the system and you appeal to more potential customers.
        There is one local fast food restaurant that has a dedicated fryer for french fries. All the people with celiac and the rest of the party goes there. They all have fryers. One chain made an operational change and now reaps the benefit.
        This type of change won’t happen overnight, but if we don’t start, it will never happen.

        1. Here’s the thing, if you get a group together, you’re not limited anymore to naturist places. This currently happens more and more frequently in countries where there are no or few venues for naturists. Naturists just get together and rent a complete textile place. This is something every group could do. Just find a textile place that suits your requirements and rent it as a whole.

  9. Aloha Nick and Lins,
    I checked with Amazon and, unfortunately, the text-to-speech feature needs to be enabled by the author or publisher. But I did put in a feedback form to have this feature automatically defaulted to enabled.

    I have not heard of Hanging Loose but will definitely look it up. As far as I know, there are no resorts adjacent to clothing optional beaches. Most if not all are either difficult to get to or way out in the boondocks … but I suppose this is the case everywhere. The ones I am familiar with are Polo Beach on Oahu, Kehena Beach on the Big Island, Hidden Beach on Kauai and, of course, Little Beach on Maui. There is an AirB&B called Kehena Beach Cottage which is steps from Kehena Beach.

    Aloha,
    Keith

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