You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go. — Dr. Seuss
This is a picture of the hiking shoes I wore for my Big Trip in 2013 and 2014 and continued to wear for another year or so.
Anyone can see some history in a set of crusty old boots like these. But I see the specifics.
I see my hike in the fjordlands of Norway, a thousand meter ascent from the small town of Kinsarvik to the Stavali cabin. I see a couple day hikes in the Sierra de Grazalema in Andalusia and days spent wandering around Barcelona. I see, of course, my 550 mile walk along the Camino de Santiago from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Finisterre on Spain’s Atlantic coast. I see a trek in the Annapurna region of Nepal and a month touring India. Lastly, I see countless hikes up and down the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin, TX. I thank the rains of 2015 for the mud on these shoes.
No other object I have from that trip, be it a souvenir or dog-eared guide book, really captures the totality of my experiences on that trip like these shoes.
One day I’ll throw them out, recycle them if possible. But I’ll have a record, in the form of these photos, to prove that sometimes I really do use the hell out of the expensive gear I buy at REI.
What do you see when you look at your shoes? Hopefully not gum. Or something worse.