I met Nic when I was in the town Franz Joseph, which is on the west coast on the South Island of New Zealand. Franz Joseph is known for its glacier, and the people I hung out with there were mostly glacier guides; including Nic, who is originally from Australia.
I had initially thought that most of these “someone I once met” posts would be written about people who inspired me through their words, making me think from a different perspective. Nic inspired me through something quite different though!
I was sitting in the home of some of the guides when Nic walked in and sat down. I was filming a timelapse of the communal area (full lapse to be posted soon) as it was a pretty awesome spot, and would be a nice way for me to remember the special time I’d had there. Nic looked at the GoPro and asked if it was on, so I replied that it was. Seemingly as a (pretty funny) joke, someone suggested that Nic should get naked and casually walk through the place. I laughed it off and continued with whatever conversation I was having.
Nic casually left the room and, next thing I know, he is walking through the place completely naked. It was great, and can be seen in a slowed down chunk of the timelapse below.
We later had some beers on the roof, and then came down and the boys decided to make a fire and burn a whole lot of stuff that they didn’t need. Most of us were sitting inside as Nic was manning the fire. Next thing I look and all of his clothes are off again. I could see a bare bottom, beer in hand, and roaring fire with smoke drifting up to meet the overhanging clouds.
Initially this whole experience was simply entertaining, but later that day during my lift back to Christchurch, I caught myself asking why such a thing is so dissonant to our daily lives. Have we completely disconnected from the fact that at the end of the day, we are all naked, under a layer of (physically and psychologically) protective clothing? The man on the street is naked, you and I are, as well as the CEO whose pockets you probably slave away to fill. I think this is something that we blindly accept, but never actually think properly about.
It’s quite difficult to communicate quite what experiencing Nic did for my perspective. I think the very fact that I am sitting and writing about this says something about how I’ve been conditioned to “societal thinking.” Co-incidentally, two nights before I met Nic I went skinny dipping for the second time since I’ve left home (first was in Thailand). It’s something that I want to become a new travel ritual for each place I go. Not for the act of “being rebellious,” but to do just the opposite. To get myself more comfortable with being vulnerable (or to lose this feeling altogether), to realize that being “exposed” is actually totally natural. Perhaps it’ll allow me to connect to nature on a whole new level. Or perhaps it’ll simply get judgment and I’ll start getting a label from my peers… what do you think? 🙂
Either way, experiencing Nic gave me a much needed perspective-shift and got me thinking a lot about not only us on an individual level, but also on a wider scale; relatively where we are at as humans. I’m really interested in animals (especially animal psychology) at the moment. Why are we the only species who feels shame about their appearance, who covers themselves up? I could easily go into the neurobiology aspect of this, but just because we have the capacity to feel such doesn’t mean we have to. I think this is something Nic has overcome.
More about this another time!