Not all those who wander are lost


Shoes, you took me to so many places:
City life with cocktails and chatter,
Live music, comedy, and fashion events,
Public transport from Liberec to Prague, Zurich,
Malmo, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris,
Istanbul, Iquitos, Bangkok, Nairobi, Barcelona,
London, Venice, Rome, Florence, ….. and Chicago,
Romantic walks in the park,
Symbolic understanding of cultures,
Psychological expression,
Connection to the planet we live on,
Stadiums of giving nothing but your best,
Tango nights in unique Chicago neighborhoods,
And the streets of Buenos Aires,
Admiration of the perfection of dance,
Ski hikes through Czech Paradise,
And adventures with many friends,
Long hikes through the NC smoky mountains,
Italian and Austrian Alps, Grand Tetons, And Tatras.
Rock climbing in the school of Hejnice,
Snorkeling with sharks on Phi Phi island,
And the magical world in the minds of children in Kenya.

The first time I broke up with someone, I was 11.
In Czechia, it is called “giving someone cleats”.
In response, he gave me the spikes.
Of course, he loved soccer and I loved running.
I was so heartbroken, that I ended up competing,
In the NCAA Divison I,
Still crying on some evenings,
But I could not thank him more.
Spikes took me to many states in the US,
Conference USA Championships,
High school state championships,
And marathons,
While meeting friends who share the love of sports.
My love started in Czechia,
But it is shared across the globe with many others, always!
Also, breakups have never been any different than this first one.

In, 2004 I met someone I had a more serious relationship.
His grandfather owned a shoe shop in Morroco.
I enjoyed walking around with several styles,
Completely unique in the USA,
The best memory I have of him,
Is that he had his favorite red Moroccan shoes.
He wore them everywhere.
Even in the Bahamas,
Where he greeted a guy named Scooby,
With a firm “yeah man”.
I was so lost after the breakup.
One day I ended up wearing a different style on each foot to work,
Completely oblivious and unaware,
That the night before I had a date with a shoe theif,
Who seemed to be from his MBA program,
Leaving us all behind for China.
Instead of visiting,
I moved out of the trauma of shoe discombobulation.
The result was a slight paranoia,
That I must have subconsciously ditched Glinda’s sparkling red slippers.

Tango shoes gave me the soul of dance.
Something my beautiful cousin,
Who was a ballet dancer,
Experienced for many years.
And another incredible cousin expressed on the ice.
Many show it on the stage, on the streets, or alone in the woods.
You can have the best dance with a guy half your height,
Whom you met in El Floridita in Havana,
With Hemingway watching you,
Sippin on his own version of Mojito.
We all have it in common – the power of music.
Sometimes others cannot hear the same tune,
Only seeing our peculiar moves.
But somehow we also come back to it,
with hearing being our last sense of our presence,
before we leave one world,
before memory takes over,
turning into an imagination,
making music a timeless part of our existence.

Cross Country skiing – is one of my favorite sports.
Christmas tradition in Jested hills,
Ski trips with stepfather and his class,
And training with childhood friends,
First slalom lessons learned on cross country skis,
Downhill and uphill through the countryside,
Finished with evening discos and games,
Morning alarm of my stepdad’s trumpet,
Hot teas and soups,
And card games in our common rooms,
These became the main activities.
It made downhill skiing only natural.

Hiking boots are there to take you on many adventures,
And absorb the beauty of nature,
Finish the evening at the campfire with a guitar,
Taking shots of the mountain scenery,
The first sight upon waking up,
From the open side of your tent.
You can be greeted by the ruler of the mountains,
When you hike up Krivan mountain,
As your first mountain to conquer as a child.
But another ruler of the hills,
To remind you it’s a perfect place to start.
They can make you inspired by your aunt,
If one day you decide to start with that small hill,
It is possible to hike over 5,000 miles in your 60s.
Or Edmund Hillary that you can conquer the altitude of 747.
Regardless, yaktrax is cheaper than a few nights in a hospital.

Rubber boots and old sweatpants are the styles,
When you’re out in the Czech woods,
Picking mushrooms for the morning eggs,
Or when you’ve tied your bow,
And sharpened down the tips of your arrows with your pocket knife,
To hunt wild boar with your friends.
They can also keep you safe from snake bites in the Amazonas,
As you’re on a four-day survival hike,
Through the jungle of 1,800 species of birds,
500 species of mammals,
and over 300 species of reptiles.
Or, can make you a fashionista,
Walking by excited Millenials with a unique pattern on your boots,
While they are sliding through the mud in a rain,
Listening to a blend of Deadmau5 and Emancipator at Lolapaloosa,
Each blasting their heart out from different sides of the “common stadium”.

But bare feet is where we started,
We are reminded of Gandhi,
They can change the world for the better,
By Abebe Bikila,
They can help you cruise through 26.2 miles.
By Philippe Petit,
You can walk on the rope connecting the two twin towers,
And by children in Kenyan orphanage,
They can help you continue your dance.
They can set you free.

I have to admit – there are times,
When wearing a different style of your grandpa’s spikes on each foot,
Dropping the Cinderella’s small feet must have,
And trying any size of dance shoes,
Losing your nails when practicing your runs,
Wearing cheap, a half size smaller sneakers without giving a damn,
Or not wearing any shoes at all…
Is it a lot healthier and more fashionable than Jimmy Choo?
I’ve seen women my height trying on glass slippers,
And all they got was a loss of balance and a slippery surface.
Someone who is willing to pay $15 for 1.5 eggs at a fancy restaurant,
Wearing $600 pair of shoes,
Looking to meet someone at the next table,
Is hardly better off than a djembe drummer,
Walking down streets in Riruta Nairobi,
Picking up a chapati for 25 cents on his way to jam with his buddies.
The General Sherman Tree wants you to know,
That you can live up to 2,700 thousand years and beyond,
Just by having large feet!


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