One Day Without Shoes is Today

Today is TOMS One Day Without Shoes 2012.  Cheekies and I are going barefoot.  Why go barefoot?  To bring attention to the shoeless epidemic.  Is there really a shoeless epidemic?  What is so wrong about going barefoot?  Is this really that serious?

I could write an entire blog post.  Wait, I did last year.  Below you will find a repost of a post I wrote last year that will answer all those questions.  If you need more answers, go to http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com.  Tomorrow, I’ll write about Cheekies and my experience without shoes today.

It’s not book related, but I wanted to share one of my favorite activities with you.  Every year the gang at TOMS Shoes holds “One Day Without Shoes.”  I love being involved, but thanks to a doctor who doesn’t think it’s a great idea while pregnant, I won’t be an active participant this year.  I’ll blog about last year’s great experience while on vacation, and I’ll try doing as much as possible without shoes if I’m out on the 5th of April.

Why go without shoes?  To bring to light a huge epidemic in our world.  A lack of shoes.  Yeah, I hear a lot of people questioning why this is an epidemic unless you’re a woman whose best friend is the Dillard’s Shoe Department.  If only it was that simple.

Shoes are the most important things in the world.  Imagine living in a developing country where there is no sanitation.  The ground is covered with feces, soil with diseases, mud, used medical supplies, urine (human and animal), glass, sharp metal and other bits of trash.  Rocks so sharp they can cut your feet are scattered all over the ground.  And you have to walk miles upon miles to find clean water, medical help, food, and if you’re lucky go to school.  (Oh, and you don’t have the money or means to prevent or treat any disease you get from your walk.)

Imagine walking being harmful to your health.  Podoconiosis shows up from being exposed to an irritant soil, usually volcanic soil, day after day.  Your feet and legs swell to the point they look like they belong on an elephant.  Don’t click this link if you are easily offended, but Wikipedia has pictures of people suffering from Podoconiois.  Imagine being a child and living with the disease.

The worst thing is Podoconiosis is 100% preventable!  How can you keep yourself safe and healthy?  Shoes!  I’m not kidding.  All it takes is simply wearing a pair of shoes and you can’t get this horrible disease.  It’s not the only disease one can get due to a lack of shoes, especially in developing countries.

How can you help?  Glad you asked.  First, tell everyone you know about how important shoes are in daily life.  A great way to get the message across is One Day Without Shoes.  Even if you go for just an hour without shoes people will ask you lots of questions.  Check out the website and participate in a community event with other concerned people going without shoes for children around the world.

Get online!  Spread the message to your buddies via Twitter, Facebook, and your blog.  Email your friends and families.  Blog or microblog about your day without shoes.  I’m really thinking of doing some shopping without shoes, even if the doctor is against the idea.  Pregnant women in developing countries and in parts of the US can’t afford shoes to protect them and their fetuses.  Why can’t I do a few minutes in a parking lot without a pair of shoes on my feet?

Get the kit from TOMS!  It’s free, and the graphics are really, really, really cool.  Besides, you really wanted a new graphic for your Facebook account and your Twitter account.  Oh, and there are widgets for your blog, too.

Go a day without shoes!  I thought I knew what life without shoes would be like before I participated last year.  Turns out life isn’t all that great, especially when your grandma’s yard is filled with poky plants, not nice soft grass.  If for some reason you think going without shoes makes you look crazy, go to TOMS and buy a flag.  (It’s $5 off the website.)  Buy a necklace, and TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a kiddo.  (Which means for $28 you get a necklace and that great feeling of giving the gift of a healthy life to a kiddo.)  By a t-shirt, and the gang at TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a kiddo.    Or create your own t-shirt with the stencils online.  I’ll be in my really cool Threadless t-shirt from last year.  (Assuming it still fits, or I’m going with my TOMS shirt from 2 years back.  Get your friends involved and create an event.  Heck, TOMS even created a letter for you to use.  They believe in making it easy.

And when it’s all done, and you really want to slip back into your shoes, don’t let it stop there.  Tell your friends and family and your online community what you did during your day.  Let them know how living without shoes changed your life.  Pass the word on that shoes are one of the easiest ways to stop diseases.

PS: Can you tell this is one cause that’s really close to my heart?

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Without Shoes April 5, 2011: My Experience

Welcome to my wrap-up of the 2011 One Day Without Shoes worldwide event started by TOMS shoes.  This is a vlog/pictures/words blog post.  I’m not great at vloging, but I figure this is one time video is better than words.  And a picture is worth a thousand words.

The only issue with participating this year is my enlarging gut.  I asked the doctor, and after some back and forth we came up with exactly what I could and couldn’t do.  No gas stations!  Take along a pair of sandals and if it got too bad, wear the sandals.  If I cut my foot I had to go directly to the doctor.  Any fevers, nasuea, headaches, lower gut problems, and a list of things that might just be pregnancy related and I was ordered to pick up the phone and call the doctor!  Oh, and my feet were to be washed with an abrasive soap, an anti-aging abrasive soap, body wash, and normal soap as soon as I walked back in my house.  I’m surprised I didn’t have to wash my feet after each stop!  Oh well!

Like each year the day started off with excitement.  It’s here!  No shoes and a chance to spread the word about the fact shoes are really important.

My foot looked nice, and I turned a bracelet into an anklet for the time out of the house.

See?  Excited!

That excitement usually lasts until the moment one of my bare feet steps outside the protective environment of a building.  Stepping outside the house is usually no big deal.  All those twigs and dirt is just stuff under my boots.  Yeah, not so much without shoes.

Then came the parking lot at Starbucks.  Luckily the sidewalk is right by the parking spaces.

Of course, after that I had errands to run.  Off to PetSmart!

And the stuff on my foot after I got back into the car.  It’s not very cool

Then Toucan, our local health food store

After that, it was back home, thankfully!  My feet looked horrible by time I walked in the door, but they weren’t as bad as last year.

So, what did I learn?  Well, let me actually tell you, from the bed I’m supposed to be in at all times.

I’m horrible at vlogging, but I’m can’t find the words that express what I feel after errands without shoes.  And I am a writer, or so I claim.  I should have the words.  While my doctor was worried about diseases I could get, all of them are easily curable in the USA.  Not so much in a Developing Country where people walk for miles for clean water, and even further for medical care.  If I get symptoms of anything, I can hop in my car and drive to the doctor’s office for care.  My feet were icky, but I could come home and wash the gunk off before it had a chance to seep into my skin.  My skin was cracked, but I could put lotion on the bottom of my feet.

Okay, off my soapbox about shoes for a year.  Next year I’ll just link to all these posts and run one about my experience.  Though my kid will wear shoes until they are double digits.  But, hopefully by then shoes will be everywhere.

One Day Without Shoes: My 2010 Experience

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.

One Day Without Shoes: April 5, 2011

It’s not book related, but I wanted to share one of my favorite activities with you.  Every year the gang at TOMS Shoes holds “One Day Without Shoes.”  I love being involved, but thanks to a doctor who doesn’t think it’s a great idea while pregnant, I won’t be an active participant this year.  I’ll blog about last year’s great experience while on vacation, and I’ll try doing as much as possible without shoes if I’m out on the 5th of April.

Why go without shoes?  To bring to light a huge epidemic in our world.  A lack of shoes.  Yeah, I hear a lot of people questioning why this is an epidemic unless you’re a woman whose best friend is the Dillard’s Shoe Department.  If only it was that simple.

Shoes are the most important things in the world.  Imagine living in a developing country where there is no sanitation.  The ground is covered with feces, soil with diseases, mud, used medical supplies, urine (human and animal), glass, sharp metal and other bits of trash.  Rocks so sharp they can cut your feet are scattered all over the ground.  And you have to walk miles upon miles to find clean water, medical help, food, and if you’re lucky go to school.  (Oh, and you don’t have the money or means to prevent or treat any disease you get from your walk.)

Imagine walking being harmful to your health.  Podoconiosis shows up from being exposed to an irritant soil, usually volcanic soil, day after day.  Your feet and legs swell to the point they look like they belong on an elephant.  Don’t click this link if you are easily offended, but Wikipedia has pictures of people suffering from Podoconiois.  Imagine being a child and living with the disease.

The worst thing is Podoconiosis is 100% preventable!  How can you keep yourself safe and healthy?  Shoes!  I’m not kidding.  All it takes is simply wearing a pair of shoes and you can’t get this horrible disease.  It’s not the only disease one can get due to a lack of shoes, especially in developing countries.

How can you help?  Glad you asked.  First, tell everyone you know about how important shoes are in daily life.  A great way to get the message across is One Day Without Shoes.  Even if you go for just an hour without shoes people will ask you lots of questions.  Check out the website and participate in a community event with other concerned people going without shoes for children around the world.

Get online!  Spread the message to your buddies via Twitter, Facebook, and your blog.  Email your friends and families.  Blog or microblog about your day without shoes.  I’m really thinking of doing some shopping without shoes, even if the doctor is against the idea.  Pregnant women in developing countries and in parts of the US can’t afford shoes to protect them and their fetuses.  Why can’t I do a few minutes in a parking lot without a pair of shoes on my feet?

Get the kit from TOMS!  It’s free, and the graphics are really, really, really cool.  Besides, you really wanted a new graphic for your Facebook account and your Twitter account.  Oh, and there are widgets for your blog, too.

Go a day without shoes!  I thought I knew what life without shoes would be like before I participated last year.  Turns out life isn’t all that great, especially when your grandma’s yard is filled with poky plants, not nice soft grass.  If for some reason you think going without shoes makes you look crazy, go to TOMS and buy a flag.  (It’s $5 off the website.)  Buy a necklace, and TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a kiddo.  (Which means for $28 you get a necklace and that great feeling of giving the gift of a healthy life to a kiddo.)  By a t-shirt, and the gang at TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a kiddo.    Or create your own t-shirt with the stencils online.  I’ll be in my really cool Threadless t-shirt from last year.  (Assuming it still fits, or I’m going with my TOMS shirt from 2 years back.  Get your friends involved and create an event.  Heck, TOMS even created a letter for you to use.  They believe in making it easy.

And when it’s all done, and you really want to slip back into your shoes, don’t let it stop there.  Tell your friends and family and your online community what you did during your day.  Let them know how living without shoes changed your life.  Pass the word on that shoes are one of the easiest ways to stop diseases.

PS: Can you tell this is one cause that’s really close to my heart?