In the bustling stalls of the Ban Thang market in Vietnam, I met one of the most important characters in the story of my journey: my shoes. They were fake chocos,(hiking and adventure sandals) and I haggled them down to 40,000dong, around $3USD, far less than they ended up being worth.
Throughout the past several months, they have been everywhere with me, they jumped down waterfalls, climbed trees, trekked deserts and rain forests. And they became a part of history, by walking into the past and on the paths of so many who had come before. They were embarrassed by the actions of America as they crawled through the CuChi Tunnels in Vietnam. They were challenged to see what was worth fighting for as they walked in the steps of the monks in the Saffron Rebellion in Burma. Awe and respect were instilled as they walked along the path of Gandhi( and got yelled at for doing so). And pride swelled and joy for the freedom as they walked the same path as Mandela when he was released from Robben Island.
Each step connects me to the past as these shoes connected me to the world around me, the steps I took with them form my story. And just as they shoes have changed, (become worn and full of memories), so have I changed throughout this journey. My world is bigger, my perspective different, and even my goals changed. I am now a part of a bigger story, of the world and people around me, history has come alive, these characters in whose steps I followed are more real to me, and their lives are examples to my own.
Unfortunately, the chocos that carried me around the world had to retire after an unfortunate camel incident in Morocco, (they were also starting to smell less than delightful), however the end of their journey signified the beginning of another.
And as I ride away from the final port of Semester at Sea, London, Westbound, I am excited for the next steps in a new pair of shoes (they’re more fashionably acceptable here in Europe).
PS- for those of you wondering, I’m not even sure of my plans for the summer, I PROMISE I’ll be home before school starts, and I’ll keep everyone updated.
PPS also, sorry I left out some countries, I’ll try to go back and fill in details, like Burma and yelled at in India for following in Gandhi’s steps