Footloose and Fancy-Free

I finally bought my ticket – I’m heading to Croatia in six weeks’ time! It’s difficult to explain exactly how excited I am to finally be:

  1. Seeing my two best friends in one place,
  2. Going on vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world (with a potential side trip to Pompeii – woot!), and,
  3. Getting some time to explore and be on my own again.

The Man was supposed to go to Croatia with me, since the primary reason for travel is to attend the wedding of one of my besties. We’ve been talking about this trip for a year, and only in the last month or two, as time got tight, did he start waffling. Yesterday he told me that he had changed his mind, and wanted to save his money for our next move. Never mind that if we stick to his uber-rational schedule it will be at least a year and a half until we can go to a new town. At first I was royally pissed. Six years of dating with virtually no travel does not a happy Maus make.

Then I started thinking about it, and realized I was actually relieved. This means that I get two weeks on the road in Europe, all on my own again. Two weeks to think about life, to see ME in action again, to figure out if I’m on the right path, and if not, to think of what steps I need to be doing to get back on track.

Since I’m going to be doing a lot of walking, it seemed only right to get some new kicks. I typically travel with two pairs of shoes – a pair of good flip flops (I live in them) and a pair of Converse (my other go-to shoe). During my first trip to England in 1999, I wore Teva climbing sandals the entire time, adding socks for the cold, clammy weather. They were very comfortable, but not stylish. Though I see lots of girls wearing athletic sandals of that sort, and know deep down that they’re much better for managing back pain, I can’t bring myself to wear something that ugly again.

Instead, I spent all afternoon browsing websites in search of comfortable sandals that would last through long hikes without killing my back and hips. My current Reef flip flops are simple and cute, but not good for extended periods, so I hoped to find similar sandals in one of the active/comfort brands. It took a couple of hours (and I almost gave up and bought some strappy, buckly ugly shoes) but I finally found what I was looking for: Chaco Flip X Ecotread flip flops.

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They have great reviews for comfort level, and are supposedly great on the arches, so I’m hoping they’ll work for me. I couldn’t just stop there, though. Like I said, Converse low tops have been my go-to sneaker since high school, but they too are crap for my back. I know how I feel after one day of walking around in them, so two weeks is a no-go. Instead, I went looking for another cool sneaker that would look cute with jeans or skirts and offer a lot of support. My first choice was the Keen Coronado in Harvest Gold, but I can’t find it anywhere in my size (though Amazon has a couple of pairs left in other sizes, if you’re interested and wear size 5 or 5.5 in US sizing). I’m not going to stop searching, though, since they’re amazing – take a look…

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Instead, I ended up searching around and settling on the even funkier-looking Keen Coronado II. I love that one side of the shoe is in brindle canvas and the other is in black. Since I’m also obsessed with purple, especially in shoes, these are pretty perfect. While reading through the reviews for the regular Coronado, I also saw a couple of people remark that these don’t make your feet look huge the way Chuck Taylors can if you have big flippers. I wear a 10, and would love to find a shoe that works with skinny jeans, so I’m crossing my fingers. Check ’em out:

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Hope these both fit and feel amazing. I can’t wait to hit the road in style with my girls!

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