After the journey : Two steps to get back in a « modern » society

Here are the two main steps that make me realize that I was done with the traveler’s way of life…  It make me also realize how we put pressure on our body and how it’s hard, even painful to get him back to « normal » when you give him his freedom.

Step 1 : Buy a deodorant

I spend most of a year travelling out of the industrialized nations and usually surrounded by nature or in high altitude, and, guess what ? Far from of the pollution, you can sweat and it’s not going to smell bad for days!!! And even if eventually, it does, the people around you are as smelly as you and don’t care.

Then I arrived in Australia and I got someone telling me that I was “smelling”. Truth is that I smelled my odor too but I didn’t care too much even if, probably because of a different diet, it was not the same smell as usual. But since then, I realized that settling down in Australia means also to live with some people who care about theirs and others smell.

So, I bought a deodorant and the first time I used it, I felt really strange as my smell that I lived with for a year was gone. I think that there is something wrong about masking our natural body odor as it’s prove to have an influence on human interaction (check this) but I’m ok to give this up and I’ll wait to be back on the road, with a pure atmosphere around me and out of sensitive noz to give my odor his freedom back.

Step 2 : Wear « normal » shoes

Not that I was walking barefoot but in Africa and while I was travelling, I’ve been wearing only sandals. It means almost 2 years without wearing any closed shoes (except a month in north Morocco and Europe).

But now that I have to look for jobs and want to look casual, well, you have to give up the light shoes and go for something more conventional. So, I bought for 5$ some fake converse in Kuala Lumpur. It was a very uncomfortable feeling to feel my toes stuck in a close shoes and it took me 3 weeks to get used to it and to stop to get blisters. I was usually wearing them for 2 or 3 hours and then, I was walking barefoot. Little by little I manage to wear them longer. Anyway, now, I have the five fingers shoes. It’s a pretty close of the barefoot feeling and it’s an incredible conversation starter. I’m wearing them all the time and I can see people watching my shoes and some are asking me where they can buy these foot gloves.

You maybe don’t realize how your shoes are conceived against the nature of your foot and how it’s affect the balance of all your body. Your shoes prevent your feet to play their role of suspension as your foot arch his completely supported and your knees and you back take the full impact of each step. You don’t need some extra soles or EVA to protect your heels as long as you let your feet doing what they’ve been design for. Give a bit them a bit of freedom, walk barefoot and they will make you feel that they don’t want to go back in this jail called shoes.

As I see lots of people curious about this minimalist shoes and I hope that one day, wearing toes shoes will be so common that no one will stare at my feet in the street and I’ll not have to force my feet to go back in some close shoes.

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2 réponses

  1. Pierre dit :

    Thanks for this comment and supporting my point. Interesting, this relation between the idea of loss of self-control and natural odor, i never though about it. Le stop en australie n’est là que pour mieux repartir donc j’accepte assez bien le fait d’être « coincé » ici : C’est le meilleurs coin pour gagner de l’argent et ensuite, je devrai être financierement tranquille pour plusieurs années que je passerai à voyager 🙂 A un de ces jours sur la route !

  2. Camille Hugo Fontenelle dit :

    Salut Pierre, I’ve just read your article and want to com’ approving what you’re saying about wearing closed shoes. Last year in Ecotopia, a guy proposed a workshop about « how wearing closed shoes with inadequate soles is actually destroying the natural balance of your body ». It has consequences all along the spine and is dealing a lot with backache, this century’s pain.
    That was the first time I was hearing about it, even though I was wearing sandals more and more. I also met these « strange » fivefingers shoes on somebody’s feet and realized how good was the idea to create them !

    I also stopped to use deodorant for two or three years now as I realized that the smell – considered bad in occidental countries – of my body was more something cultural than real. There’s this idea in the occidental countries that releasing an odor coming from the body means a loss of self-control which is not borne in these societies where every details should be under control.
    As we can’t stop body odor yet, we use masks instead and there’s a lot to do with it in a country like France for instance where people started to hide their body odor for centuries now !

    Après ces considérations de pieds et d’odeurs, je te souhaite de trouver un « chez toi » qui te plait en Australie. Tu vas sûrement ressentir comme vivre entre quatre murs est difficile après avoir vécu en pleine nature. Bonne continuation !

    Camille (un ancien d’SVE pour indice)

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