Over the last 3 months of my travels there’s been one thing missing from my attire and indeed my backpacking kit as a whole – shoes, flip flops, in fact any kind of foot wear (besides my hiking boots for the Inca Trail, which I’m still yet to wear in!)
Yup – I’ve been a barefoot backpacker.
Giving up footwear was a decision that was kind of forced upon me. I’d bought a tasty new set of flip flops for my south america adventure and they were beginning to bed in nicely, you know the feeling, perfect indents for toes and heels that make flip flops one of the nicest pieces of footwear to own.
Then I went to a beach wedding in Montanita – which of course was an opportunity to party barefoot, however at the end of the night my beloved flip flops were nowhere to be found. Some pikey had stolen them!
Help came to me in the form of a travel buddy leaving to go home – he kindly donated his second pair to my needy backpacker self and I was once again in the land of the civilised. It didnt take long for that pair to disappear either though.
Montanita was calling me with her hippie alter ego.
After a quick look around the shops I soon realised that $15 was a stupidly inflated amount (especially when you’re living off $10 per day!) and that footwear was a luxury I could go without, and so began the walk in.
Harden the F*ck Up!
The first few days were slightly punishing on my pasty white, English feet – and despite being a surfer and wearing flip flops years round back at home my soles were soft and vunerable.
Walking aorund town everyday and surfing throughout soon started building up the calluses. Partying barefoot in clubs and bars gave me a few stubbed (and occasionally broken!) toes but I was living the Montanitian dream – bare chested, boardies and barefoot.
As my tanned topped up I looked the part, felt the part and blended in to the eclectic mix of long haired, dreadlocked hippy masse that make up the backpacking community of this beach side town.
My only nemises was the occasional shard of broken glass – but with an abundance of nurses studying medical spanish at my hostel cuts and scrapes were quickly sterilized and dealt with!
My New Look
Having left Montanita now I’m still going strong on my barefoot quest – and intend to give in to this way of life long term, my feet feel free and it’s one less thing to have to carry around on my travels.
I’m pit stopping in London on the way home for a couple of days – and if I can walk around the dusty rock strewn paths and roads of a party filled south american community I can sure as hell sprad the backpacking mantra around the UK captial, I’m looking forward to seeing the faces of the suited masses on the tube when I stroll on, unwashed, backpack heavy on my shoulders and filthy but free feet barefoot on the platform.
Barefoot is the way forward – release your feet and let them walk around the world, aired and happy!