There is a pair of shoes that made it around the entire world with me, then hated the idea of our trip ending so much that they walked out before I could bring them back home.
I bought them years before our round-the-world adventure but had never worn them. At the last minute I decided to rescue them from their box and take them along. I wore them for the first time in the Amazon, Brazil, the very first stop on our journey back in February 2015, and then again and again throughout the next 18 months, 26 countries, 6 continents. I traveled with three other pairs of shoes, which I wrote about here, but those were changed out along the way, replaced with newer versions. This particular pair of sandals stayed the same and became my go-to. So it’s only fitting that, after getting me safely and successfully around the globe, they disappeared on the final stop of our adventure: Mexico.
We went to Riviera Maya, in the southeast corner of Mexico, for a wedding. Anthony’s cousin was marrying his long-time love and the entire family was going. It was hot, humid and fantastic. The place was all-inclusive, which is Spanish for nada to plan, nowhere to be, nothing to DO for a week except laze by the pool, order room service and decide whether to watch everyone play beach volleyball or just stay under the umbrella with a book. After months of constantly planning our next move and learning new ways to say thank you and worrying that we might be missing something, like a plane, we were beyond excited to have everything taken care of for us. We also knew this was most likely the last stop of our seemingly never-ending trip. We had been interviewing for jobs for a few months and there were offers on the table, but nothing felt right, so we’d continued to travel. We wanted to make the most of our remaining free time until we had somewhere we wanted to be. And then, it happened. Right before leaving for Mexico, Anthony got a great job and agreed to start work when we returned. I found out while *in* Mexico, on my way to the breakfast buffet, that I’d landed my dream gig. Which of course is a blessing. And also a curse. Because the very real prospect of a job means that Our Full Stop really is coming to an end. So I enjoyed every minute of this final spot. Sleeping late in the mornings, swinging on a beach daybed after lunch, turning into a prune in the pool til late afternoon, and ahhh the unbelievably warm weather… I just savored it all. But in the back of my mind was the constant thought that THIS. IS. IT. And I’m convinced that my shoes, my faithful companions for the last year and a half, that carried me to so many new places and tirelessly supported me every step of the way, sensed this, sensed my reluctance to return to the real world, and decided that they could not support my decision to end the journey, to perhaps be left sitting in the closet gathering dust while I tried to wear shoes more suitable for cold television studios and the hard pavement of the city. So when I kicked them off on our last night in Mexico and went to dance, and came back later to find that they were missing, I didn’t really question it. I searched for them, the family looked everywhere, and it became a joke that someone with midget feet had run off with my size 5 sandals. But I knew I wasn’t meant to find them. They had done their very specific job, getting me from the beginning to the end of our trip. From Brazil around the world to Mexico and so many places in between. And they had decided they could do no more for me in this other life I’d chosen to lead for now. To wear them in different circumstances wasn’t in the cards. They’d done as much as they could, then moved on.
As excited as I am about this next chapter of my life, part of me wishes I had moved on with them. Walking with no other purpose than just to see what’s out there.
Maybe we’ll meet again down the road.
I hope wherever they are now, they’re taking someone on a journey as tremendous as mine.
I’m off to find some new shoes.
Someone is always eating the sand.
The women of the hour: the bride, her sister and mother-of-the-groom.
Still with the volleyball.
I love the cousins. 7 pools, 90 lounges and an entire seashore. Yet 6 of them will sit on the same chair.
My father-in-law loves me.
The Spino men folk.
We can fit a few more on this chair? Perfect.