One Day Without Shoes. A bunch of my friends were doing it. It sounded easy. All I had to do was go without shoes for a single day. The idea was to experience what millions of people around the world experience, plus spread the word that shoes are important. I have a weak spot for kids, and after my friends explained all the diseases kids got from not wearing shoes I knew I had to spread the word.
I agreed whole heartedly. I agreed to vlog about my day. I went out and bought a video camera. I thought about polishing my toes, something I never do. Instead, I just filed my nails to hopefully perfection. I bought the Threadless shirt and the TOMS shirt. I was good to go, until I looked at the calendar. My husband would graduate from USAF Officer Training School a couple of days afterwards. He would have the weekend free to spend with me the day afterwards. I would be on the road traveling. Without shoes. After all, I gave my word that I’d participate. And I stupidly said I’d try to vlog. (I hate being in front of a camera.)
My baby sister, who traveled with me, got roped in to being my camera gal. My Threadless shirt came out. I started my day with the first vlog and a lack of shoes while loading the car.
Then the brilliant walk across my grandma’s front lawn. She could use some grass or non-poky plants. At least I had Starbucks! The kids who go without shoes in developing countries don’t get their daily Starbucks.
After that we stopped at a welcome center in Dennison, Texas. Thankfully, the sidewalk wasn’t hot at the time. I did wear the sandals inside the welcome center.
And that’s when I realized vloging on a car trip isn’t exactly easy. Someone forgot to mention that in the idea. When we stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Tyler, Texas I forgot the video camera in the car! Luckily, the people at Cracker Barrel were fairly cool about the whole thing. One of them even mentioned his girlfriend had the same shirt and was participating. It made the day slightly easier when I realized I wasn’t the only crazy person living without shoes.
By time we made it to Louisiana I thought about changing my mind. The clean welcome centers and Texas rest stops turned to not so clean, dirty gas stations. Even the parking lots were less than stellar. But, I’d given my word to go without shoes. And I managed to survive. (Don’t ask me how!)
When we pulled in to the hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi I had one thought in my head: soak my feet! Though I spent most of the day in the car, my feet were discolored, sore, and not exactly the pristine feet I’d started the day with. But, the nieces needed baths, and I gave up my bath for sleep. Bad idea in the short run.
The next morning I was sick as a dog. I thought it was nerves and traveling. Somewhere along the road I called a friend who happens to be a doctor. He listened to my symptoms and decided it wasn’t travel induced, but due to some funky virus that you can get when you don’t wear shoes. Gatorade, 7-Up, crackers and shoes fixed the problem. It made the last leg of the trip so much fun!
Yet, I learned a lot in that one day. I learned that I love my boots. I’ve never contracted a disease through my feet while wearing my boots. My feet my ache when I’m in my boots all day, but not the same way. I don’t have cracked and bleeding feet from glass and plants thanks to my boots. While I will never be like a lot of my friends and have a closet full of shoes, I love my boots!
There is a difference between not wearing shoes and not wearing shoes. When you do it just to rush out places you know where your feet will land. This was nothing like that. I suddenly became very, very aware of my surroundings. What should have been quick trips across lawns or parking lots became time consuming, carefully taking a step before determining where the best place to set my foot down next long walks. Every little plant might hurt. Every speck of grease or other liquids became things to avoid.
Today is the 2011 One Day Without Shoes, sponsored by TOMS Shoes. Assuming I get off bed rest and out of the house I’ll participate again this year. I will be careful about where I put my foot this year. No matter what, I can still help by spreading the word. Go without shoes for part of your day, even an hour. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and about the problems people around the world face.