It’s hard to believe, considering how massive my shoe and clothing collection are, but I’ve had the same pair of running shoes since 2008.
All trip, I´ve been saying how I can´t wait to throw out my zapatos — or as all my new British friends have taught me to say, trainers — before I leave South America. Partially because without them, I’ll have more space in my pack for souvenirs, but mostly because they’re stained, filthy, and falling apart. But as the last day of my trip nears, the thought of chucking my dear old Asics actually makes me a little sad, and even more nostalgic.
My turquoise and white babies, now a mixed shade of grey and brown, were broken in on the Great Wall of China. They took me to Squashbusters and Marino, my two college gyms, on freezing cold afternoons and sleepless, anxious nights alike. They accompanied me on walks to American Eagle on Newbury Street, where I would stand folding clothing for hours and hours on end. They climbed the Eiffel Tower, traipsed around Israel, wandered Costa Rican rainforests, and were there on my first hike up Los Angeles´s Runyon Canyon. Whenever I was plagued with depression and heartbreak, they faithfully let me shove them on and pound out my emotions on the treadmill, searching for answers to my unhappiness.
And in 2009, when Alex and I did a ridiculous 8,000 mile road trip across the United States, my Asics were there every step of the way. We saw the Grand Canyon, attempted a visit to the four corners monument, explored Denver, saw Badlands National Park and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, and visited Arches National Park in Utah… all in my running shoes. Of course there was the eastern and southern parts of the US as well, but I’m pretty sure my poor running shoes sat in the trunk when I switched into flip flops for the warmer cities.
My shoes took me twenty-odd miles up to Machu Picchu, traversed Lago Titicaca´s Isla del Sol, and didn´t complain one bit when they turned a slight reddish tinge from the bright brown dirt of northern Argentina and Iguazu Falls. They´ve stayed tightly on my feet through countless horseback rides in Ecuador, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. We climbed Cotopaxi together, ziplined together, and witnessed the incredibly gorgeous southwest circut of Bolivia together. We traversed down the entirety of Colca Canyon in southern Peru, flew over the Nazca Lines, and attempted to sandboard in the sand dunes of Huacachina. They fell with me (on purpose, of course) 10,000 feet from an airplane over San Juan, Argentina and, most recently, they´ve been absolutely soaked as I walked, biked and drove my way through Patagonia and Argentina´s Bariloche.
As I travel and meet people and stare at a map of the world, I feel like there’s so much that I haven’t seen. But I have to remind myself how fortunate I am to have explored the parts of the world that I have made it to. From the cities in the U.S. I´ve called home to the countries I’ve traveled to thousands of miles across the globe, thinking about all the places my feet, encased in my trusty Asics, have taken me, I feel both humbled and fortunate.
There´s something about traveling and meeting people from all over the world that makes me even more excited and anxious to see the rest of the world, to set foot in the countries whose borders I haven´t yet crossed. My plans of moving to NYC to settle down after this trip have shifted. I´m now revising my goals towards thoughts of more travel and world exploration, toward achieving my goal of becoming a travel writer, and with the hopes of planning another major trip for the second half of 2013.
By then, I´ll have a new pair of tennis shoes. I can´t wait to find out where we´ll go together.
A flashback of photos of me wearing my running shoes all over the world…