Feet, FiveFingers and sandals

A couple of years ago, I started taking feet photos. I stole this idea of a couple of friends who jokingly took photos of their feet instead of landscapes and the atmosphere. They added texts to them such as “feet in Limburg”, “feet at Lowlands” (a Dutch music festival), “feet at the camp site”, “feet in the pub”.  This was before the rise of Facebook and long before the selfie hype.

I see it as a positive trend that nowadays you stumble over the feet photos and that they have even been named Footfies. There is a story behind every photo post, that someone apparently wants to share. I think it is more inspiring to listen to the message, than to criticise the chosen means.

By now, I have built up a nice feet photo collection and I could say that my feet have been meaning more and more to me. At first I took my feet for granted, while I was wandering around all day, but now I am more and more aware of the service that my feet are doing to me.

I have noticed that my feet are trying to tell me a lot; they are continuously sending out signals. Those generally deviate from my will, which makes me often get the feeling that my feet are rigging the show. Like they know that I depend on them, they seem to abuse this all the time by putting me harshly in my proper place when something happens they don’t like.

Tiring. And a battle that I can’t win. So I have changed track. Turns out that my loyal servants asked for nothing more but to let me walk all over the place, as long as I would involve them in my adventures. They didn’t think it was fair that I let them do all the heavy work, without them being able to catch a glimpse of anything. Worse still, I put them away in smelly, squeezing coverings in which they were unable to do anything but feel deeply unhappy.

Stomme teen

No wonder they started to resist. Sweating, blisters, ingrown nails, inflamed tendon insertions were not meant to be sabotage, but a cry for attention. When even that didn’t seem to be enough to bring the message across, they went over to the heavier artillery: they involved my ankles, lower legs and knees, and concluded a pact. A cry for help.

They don’t care about what I think, and even less about how it strikes me what others think. If you want to walk over the Balkan, to make the feet journey of your life, then we would also like to experience it. We will help you move if you make us part of your journey. Like that.

Mark time. I will listen. I will give you room to breathe and I will involve and reward you from now on. I will exchange my heavy climbing boots for my lovely, light FiveFingers.

My feet make adventures possible. My feet set boundaries. My feet occasionally put me in my proper place and my feet help me stop rattling on. That is why I would like to walk the Via Dinarica this summer, together with my feet. Because, if I am correct, my feet are, just like me, dying to set off.

Translated by Hester Falkena

Ode aan mijn voeten


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