I want to dedicate a post to a very important, if not the most important, accessory while on my travels. My pair of sandals traveled to 10 countries, swam in oceans, lakes, rivers, and seas. They saved my feet from being burnt by hot coals at an indigenous ceremony in Indonesia, protected my soles from broken glass in Morocco, prevented me from being stung by a sea urchin in the Mediterranean and even saved my life from a potential motorbike accident in Thailand when my brakes stopped working down a steep, muddy road.
Our feet are the root from our bodies to the earth. Our feet allow us to stand, jump, dance, walk, run, swim, play sports, drive a car or ride a bike. Many of these activities have specific types of shoes to go with them. Travelers typically use high quality sandals, hiking boots or go barefoot hippie style. I embarked on my round the world travels with a pair of water shoes, hiking boots and high-quality sandals. My high quality sandals were equipped with velcro straps, gel insoles, rugged grip, a stylish design and on sale for $89.99! I quickly realized the flaws associated with my “fancy” shoes: 1) The comfortable gel insoles were wonderful sponges when I was in the rain. 2) In many stores/religious establishments around the world it is customary to remove your shoes before entering, and what excited traveler wants to undo straps or laces every time? Not me! 3) I no longer cared for the stylish name-brand design. Two weeks into my adventure in Thailand and the sandals, water shoes and hiking boots were in the trash and replaced with a wonderful pair of plastic sandals for $0.30.
Less is more, and I was proud with my new pair of lightweight, water resistant plastic, plain design, cheap, new sandals. There was one flaw though, I absolutely HATE sandals that have that piece of material that fits between the toes. Naturally, I took out my knife and cut that sucker off both sandals. Perfection! I never thought removing the toe piece would cause such questioning and interest with others. I was constantly asked why my sandals looked so different? Where did I find such a unique design? I was also frequently asked by others if they could take a picture or try my sandals on. Who would have guessed that the cheap, ugly, sliced, stung, burnt sandals would soon be a hot topic for discussion and a growing fashion trend among fellow travelers? If you’re wondering how comfortable these plastic sandals were, the answer is very comfortable! With them, I climbed mountains, showered and ran. I used them as shovels on the beach and as a hand weapon against a very persistent tarantula. Dirtied by the soil of four continents, cleaned with ocean waters, nearly melted by Greek black sand and frozen by Himalayan mountains – yes I am talking about myself, but I guess the same description works for the sandals. After all this torture and the sandals were finally worn down from use, I got out my knife and carved some more grip into the bottom of them, and they were good as new, well, good enough for me!
Some boots are made for walking. Some shoes are made for dancing. These sandals were made for traveling….and that’s just what they’ll continue to do.
Siya Zarrabi began his travel lifestyle at the age of 16, embarking on a four month solo trip to Paraguay. Since then, he has filled passports with stamps of foreign borders.