Friday, February 24, 2017

Have Shoes, Will Travel

In preparation for our vacation, I tried to buy warm-weather shoes. Yet, driven by the secure feeling of my New York City sneakers and boots, and the lovely thought of a suitcase not weighed down with extra things, I traveled with only the high top sneakers on my feet--not easy to take off at airport security, and not particularly attractive with shorts and among palm trees, but comfortable, and comforting--a feeling of the known in the midst of the unknown.

And so, wherever I have gone, I have worn those shoes, only once or twice looking down and regretting my decision not to bring something more. I have just worn them--to go to the theater, to walk on trails, to walk to the pool. Everywhere, until we got to the beach.

Now, the taking off of my shoes at the beach was a no-brainer--there was no way I was going to risk having my favorite shoes--not to mention the only shoes I had with me--be covered in sand or saltwater. But, as I walked along the beach barefoot, shoes in hand, through soft sand and rocky sand and wet from the waves sand, I realized that my one pair of shoes had been enough. When it was worth it--in lovely sand I could not experience at home--I was perfectly prepared--all I needed was my bare feet. And the taking off and carrying of my shoes was well worth it. And for everything else, the me I was comfortable with, shoes and all, was enough. I may not have been the most attractive person at the mall, at the theater, on the boardwalk, but did that really matter? And why should it, any more on vacation than in our day-to-day lives? If we cannot be ourselves on vacation, then what purpose has our vacation really served?

I will head home soon with the memories of my toes in the sand and my feet, in comfortable shoes, in all sorts of other places. And I will be happy to know that whether on vacation or at home, my feet can be firmly planted on the ground, reminding me to be the me I want to be.

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