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

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  4. says: James

    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.

  5. says: Jim

    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>

    1. LOL, that’s funny Jim. If I get to meet you in person I’m definitely going to have you make me some comfortable sandals and boots 🙂 I really ought to stop being so cheap and get a new pair soon!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. says: Nicole

    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…

  9. says: Eileen/ Possibly Pinay

    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. 🙂

  10. says: flipnomad

    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