A couple of weeks ago I spoke with and featured Rainbow’s RL mother, Tisha, in one of our naturist profiles, a story that referenced Rainbow herself and from which we may assume we already know a little of her life.
Through Tisha, I contacted Rainbow, and as before we conducted an interview mostly via IMs and notecards. Interviews with Tisha had revealed that the two of them were independently arriving at the conclusion that nude living, as opposed to naturism in a social setting, was their jumping on point as regards a clothes-free life.
‘I’ve always felt comfortable in my own skin, the usual teenage hang-ups aside. By the time I was 18-19 I was certainly quite relaxed about my body and my nudity, sometimes to the frustration of my university room mate’, she laughs. ‘I was doing yoga and if the weather was good enough I’d certainly do it naked. It did give me an extra level of connection with what I was doing’.
Did she think of herself as naturist or ever consider becoming part of a club or joining a naturist swim?
‘No, the term ‘naturist’ wouldn’t have been part of my lexicon. ‘Nudists’, I knew about. No, joining a club was never something I considered, and I wouldn’t have been aware of any swims. It was a period of experimenting, of learning, of discovering for me, finding out who I was. I found that I was pretty blasé about the naked human body, and that I was relaxed about it around me. Remember, I was immersing myself in an alternative lifestyle at the time, and the was a pretty casual approach to nudity within that group of friends. We were against nuclear energy, environmentalists, eco-warriors, crusties with dogs on strings, hahaha’.
Crusties, I should add at this point, for those unfamiliar with the term, was a phrase that was associated in the UK with alt-lifestyle new age folk, travellers and anti-capitalism.
‘We would set off in a van, go somewhere like Newquay’, a town in England noted for its surfing and surf culture, ‘and spend a week there, living in the van or in a tent. Facilities were basic or non-existent. If public toilets were open we’d use them. For bathing we pretty much had to use the sea. If we’d parked up somewhere quiet, a lay-by near the sea, it was always possible to run down to the sea for a wash and in those circumstances there was a lot of casual nudity, but I don’t think we ever said we were nudists or naturists. If the weather was good and your clothes needed washing, you washed them and hung them up to dry. If that meant sitting by a fire with little on, that’s what you did. Or dried your clothes by the fire.’
Moved on by the police a lot, and not liked by landowners, Rainbow’s group of friends struck lucky when a farmer’s son befriended them as he shared the same values. ‘It was a remarkable stroke of luck’, she says, ‘as they had woodland running through their land. Rob (the farmer’s son in question) cut us a deal. If we left the place as we found it, no rubbish left behind, we could return the next summer. One beer can left behind and…..’
Rainbow explained that these new-age travellers and eco-warriors ‘sometimes get a bad name, and probably with some justification. But my group decided we had to make a stand to walk the walk, so not only were we keeping the place spotless, but some of the guys were helping Rob in the fields, farm labouring, in return for his generosity. Next thing we knew Rob’s Mum and Dad were bringing us down buttermilk and vegetables. We lived there for an entire summer and we left that place as we found it. Some of the guys from that circle still use it annually.’
Rainbow, however, moved on, and managed to take in Rainbow Gatherings in Finland, in 2010, and in Portugal, in 2011.
‘Yeah, lots of casual nudity took place at these. There’s a great sense of ‘well, we’re all God’s creatures. We’re naked. God made us like this. Celebrate our bodies!’ in events like this. I have to keep stressing, I would not have been considering myself as a ‘naturist’, though. It was still all seen through the lens of nudity being a natural state where the circumstances exist’.
Rainbow eventually wound her way to Ireland, where her mother was living, and then followed her to France, when her mother decided to re-locate to warmer climes.
‘I’d done a degree, then a gap year which turned into three years or more living an alternative lifestyle. It was time to settle down just a little bit.’
Now working near the French town of Beziers, with a new boyfriend, and living in an apartment, she says she misses her ‘wild years’ and, more to the point, resents ‘bourgeois living’.
‘Ideally, I’d like to do what my mother has done, and get a gite and grow vegetables as an integral part of my life rather than at present, where that sense of living, of connecting with the earth, is peripheral. It makes me feel restless.’
Naked gardener: a ‘dream come true’ for Rainbow
And how much of a role does nudity play in Rainbow’s daily life these days?
‘I’ve gravitated towards people here who share my ideals, so we do find the same casual approach exists. There are naturist possibilities nearby, at beaches and camping sites. I have to say that my friends and I have used them, but we differ in outlook, a little bit, to those who are there for naturist holidays. We swim naked, certainly, and will walk naked. But those have a sense of luxury about them, and for people to work on a tan. That’s not my need for being naked, so I don’t really fit any definition of what a naturist, in what you might see it, actually is. But then again, in a larger context, we share the exact same values’.
Mother and daughter working in the vineyard
For my money, quite possibly the best SL photograph we’ve ever featured on SLN!
One of the delays in publishing this post was getting photos -Rainbow’s SL times were problematic in setting aside any time to get these done- but I’m delighted to say that in another of those moments of synchronicity SL throws up on a regular basis, a new sim called The Vineyard had come along and certainly worked to our advantage!
‘Not so different from home’, chuckles Rainbow when she saw the place in the company of photographer Hugh, and they produced a beautiful set of evocative atmospheric photographs. These and more will be up on our Flickr page soon.
And in yet another moment of good fortune, while they were taking the photos, Tisha herself popped online briefly and thus is featured in one of the photographs. Again, we hope to get both of them online at some point in the future to do more photos together.