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Send nudes. How I started The Nude Traveller.


I started The Naked Traveller Project after a beautiful, silly and brief conversation in a hostel in Berlin, with two guys named Giel and Lowie. Giel and Lowie were road tripping around Germany, picking up hitch hikers when they could, hiking, camping and exploring. When I asked their next destination, they simply responded with, "Ahhh, were heading to the forest. Back to the roots!"

We only ended up chatting for half hour; we got along like a pig in mud - our senses of humour aligned, the conversation flowed, it was in all - the perfect, fleeting interaction with two strangers. They'd seen me working on one of the many commissions that was helping fund my overseas travels, and asked for a portrait. I laughed, drew a stick figure, then regrettably told them with a smile, they most certainly could not afford an original Zoe Blow commission (I mean please!). 

Now here's the part that started it all, this whole damn, beautiful project. I turned back, and said, "Look, when you get 'Back to the Roots', if the two of you take a naked picture in the forest and send it to me - I'll draw that for free". One of them looked shocked, the other burst into laughter. And that was it. I didn’t even catch their names before they left. Or facebooks, or any social media for that matter. It was all for my god damn ridiculous excuse of a name; they’d remembered it, googled it, and found my website. Three days later an email popped into my inbox through my website titled, 'Back to the Roots'. Attached to the email, a photo of these two guys - stark naked in a forest, along with the loveliest email telling me of their travels. The smallest of moments, that started something so much bigger. 

And so begun The Nude Traveller project. I received nudes from all the wonderful people I met whilst travelling, set against cliff tops, mountain scenes, crowded beaches, deserted German suburban streets, in the middle of perfectly reflecting lakes. The one thing they all have in common; the electric, contagious smiles across each of those faces. You can't help but smile when see them, and feel a sense of what they must have felt being naked in those places. The beauty in this project was the give-give aspect. We would have brief, and lovely exchange somewhere - and once we parted ways, they would go about trying to work out where they would take this photo - the excitement, the thrill, the nervousness! Not only would they have this epic photo of themselves, and a story to tell about this interaction with me, but eventually a matching artwork to go with it! It was a project for me to connect and interact with others, to practice drawing techniques, and to help share my message of body positivity!

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