Meet the woman who dealt with breaking up with her fiancé by becoming a naked hiker
Rachael Fitzpatrick has been a lover of hiking and hillwalking since she was a little girl. But now, at the age of 28, she's decided to put a different spin on her rambling by stripping off and walking nude.
Rachael, who hails from Melbourne in Australia, hasn't always done so, though. She used to be fully clothed during her long wilderness excursions, but after breaking up with her ex-fiancé, she started going on trips in the buff, as a way of expressing her newfound self-confidence.
In 2016, Rachael became single after six happy years of being in love. Following her split, she decided to make a resolution: she was going to say "yes" to everything that came her way. While on a hiking trip that summer, her friend made the impulsive decision to strip off when they were in the middle of nowhere, and Rachael followed their lead. She found the experience liberating, and now she sets off into the wild for naked rambles every weekend.
She now posts pictures of her various nude exploits on Instagram to share with her followers, and is now an ambassador for the body positivity campaign Get Naked Australia.
Commenting on her naturist hillwalking in a recent interview, Rachael stated: "It’s the feeling of total liberation that I love. The feeling of being completely free and close to nature – it’s just awesome. Going out into the big wide world and baring yourself totally can be a little daunting at first, but once you’ve gotten over that initial fear it is so rewarding. It really helped me to become more comfortable in my own skin and about who I am – and I know that I’m a much stronger person for it.
"I will often go on my own, but usually there will be a friend who is around who wants to join, and of course they all know that the expectation is that they will be naked, which they have really taken to.
I even go with my mum sometimes, although she doesn’t like the hiking part so much. So we’ll just find a spot somewhere and she’ll take off her clothes and we’ll relax for a while and maybe take a picture or two."
She added: "I obviously have to lotion myself up quite thoroughly because the sun can be really strong. And there is, of course, the danger too of snakes and spiders, with which I have had many encounters throughout the years I have been hiking ... I came across a lady a few months ago who saw me strolling along naked and we got chatting about why I do it and how great it makes me feel. Then a couple of weeks later she sent me a picture of herself on a naked hike too, saying that I had inspired her – and that felt really great."
Rachael is hopeful that her hiking pics will ultimately encourage others to join her and share the psychological benefits of disrobing in nature. If you'd like to keep up with her, then why not follow her Instagram blog? Be warned though, it might not be safe to view at work.