My Prized Travel Sandals | AKA ‘My War Boots’ :P

Most individuals have a prized possession – something that has far more sentimental value than monetary worth. Typically, one´s cherished treasure might be something handed down from generation to generation.   It might be a special watch or pennant from a Great Grandparent or precious porcelain china from a long forgotten era. In my case, I`ve been living abroad working & traveling for the better part of my twenties. Things have changed over time. I´ve replaced ragged, torn or faded t-shirts. Cameras & other electronic gear has come and gone; however, the one thing that has been a trusty companion (even after all of these years) are what I´d like to call my ‘war boots’ – a very humble pair of sandals – that have been marched all over thirty countries in Asia & the Americas.

A quick examination of these sandals reveals the telling truth. They´re nearly worn to shreds. The straps have been frayed beyond recognition while the heals and soles are marred beyond belief. They´ve survived numerous close encounters with the rubbish bin. Ripped, shredded & torn apart on more than one occasion they´ve been doctored up by street merchants & shoeshine boys in both La Paz, Bolivia & Hanoi, Vietnam. Additionally, I´ve crazy glued both the straps & soles of these marvellous gliding pads more than I´d like to admit. In fact, I´ve just returned from a Seven Eleven in Chiang Mai, Thailand with a small bottle of crazy glue. They´re in desperate need of being repaired once again.

One must be thinking the obvious question – is this guy mad? Well, I´m not willing to clear my name of such accusations, but I do have my reasons for keeping them. Firstly, they´re extremely comfortable, after years of moulding to the shape of my feet. Secondly, in some ways they´re symbolic of what it´s like to be on the road travelling in mostly developing countries for long periods of time. The journey is astonishing; however, it´s also filled with plenty of bumps & bruises along the way with challenges that need to be conquered. The road will wear you down at times, much like the jagged path will tear away at my sandals; however, perseverance, inner strength & determination keep things moving forward in a direction of uncharted territory. I´ll need all of these qualities both internally within myself & externally from my sandals if I hope to continue onwards. They´ll eventually bite the dust & hit the waste bin. I´m not thoroughly attached to them, nor will I mount them on a wall or give them some sort of grossly grandeur type of ritualistic mourning ceremony. I know they´ll be toast someday, possibly even soon than later, but for the time being they´re a trusty companion helping me to confidently move one step forward at a time.

Samuel Jeffery

25 Comments

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  • James says:

    I get your attachment to sandals. Me too.

    Shoes are easy to replace, but a great pair of sandals is hard to come by. I recently had to get rid of a great pair of Nike sandals that couldn’t be re-glued one more time. I still don’t have an “official” replacement pair. Just some cheap ones from rural market that I’m wearing until I find my new solemate.

    Before the Nikes it was a no-name-brand pair of leather sandals that I was in love with. Too bad leather and whatever natural material the soles were made of just don’t hold up well in tropical climates.

  • Jim says:

    Bin them Samuel. Buy another pair. You never know, there could be another sole love affair awaiting in that next pair.
    BTW as a custom shoemaker I never face this problem, I make my own sandals and boots. In fact each time I go off to Africa I leave a pair behind: they call me back.
    Last pair I left with a cleaner in a lodge just on the Botswana border…already Kay and I are planning a return.
    Works every time.LOL>

  • I love it!! I have a pair of what I term, “the ugliest sandals” that I take with me on every single trip since I purchased them in 2006. They are so comfortable and still in tact. They have pounded the pavement in many countries. LOL. If they could talk, I’d have to kill them. 🙂 If you decide to stop glueing 🙂 You should check out Teva (that’s the brand of my sandals) they may just last you forever.

  • Some think when articles of clothing become frayed, torn, or get holes in them it is time to throw them out. I think this is when they come into their own. Your shoes are in the prime of their life. May they accompany you through your thirties and thirty more countries.

  • Nicole says:

    I had a pair of sneakers in a similar condition. Alas I had to get rid of them because they just couldn’t fit in my baggage at the airport and because they had mud on the soles Australia customs siezed them anyway. I may have shed a tear…

  • Eileen/ Possibly Pinay says:

    I have *just* found my pair of soulmate sandals. I’ve taken them on two trips and have fallen in love with them, I don’t think I’ll ever wear anything else again for traveling.

    I am sending good vibes for the speedy recovery of your war sandals. 🙂

  • Amer says:

    wow I would’ve never imagine for a sandal to last that long. I’m sure Reebok would be very proud of themselves!

  • flipnomad says:

    put them in a frame so you could display it lol 🙂 or you can just throw them away… amazing that it withstood your travels to 30 countries… i guess it’s his time to rest and go to “shoe heaven” lol

  • Leif says:

    Hahah, be well pround. Put them in a vacuum sealed bag and save em for your grand kids

  • haha very nice shoes. Many of mine end up like this, but I refuse to throw them away 😀

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