Barefoot Wonderland

Have you ever wished you lived in a really barefoot friendly world where going barefoot is widely accepted as a lifestyle choice, it's not looked down upon, and you see plenty of people going about their daily business in bare feet? Read the following story and see if together we can't create such a wonderful world for barefooters - a barefoot wonderland!

*****

I wake up as the bright morning sun shines through my bedroom window. That's my natural alarm clock which wakes me up every morning at approximately the same time.

I'm a freshman in college, and this is the last day of school before summer vacation. There's no more classes today, but I'll be going to campus to get the results of the final exams I just took. I know I'm getting all A's and B's, so there's nothing to worry about, but I'm still anxious to know how well I did. Besides, tomorrow I'll be leaving for the South Pacific with my boyfriend for an exciting vacation that we have been anticipating all semester, and I don't want to wait until I get back to see my grades.

I'll also be visiting the student health center to get an allergy shot. Yep, it's that time of the year when I sneeze a lot and my nose runs a marathon. It gets embarrassing when I have to keep blowing my nose in public.

I lift my leg and look at my soles. They're still dirty from a full day of barefooting yesterday, and I smile with satisfaction. I don't usually wash my feet before going to bed like many people do. I like to keep them dirty for a while as a reminder that I'm an avid barefooter. I go to school barefoot most of the time. I wear flip flops only when I have yoga class that day since they want us to have clean feet.

Suddenly I start sneezing. I should have taken the allergy shot earlier, but I was really busy with homework, finals, and everything else. My eyes are itching and I don't really feel like getting up just yet. After all, it's a leisurely day today. So I roll over and close my eyes.

I feel my nose running, so I reluctantly get out of bed and slowly walk toward the bathroom to blow my nose. Then I decide to just wash up and get ready to go to campus.

After my morning meditation and a light, healthy breakfast I head out the door with backpack on my shoulder. I walk towards the bus stop which is a few blocks away. Barefoot, of course. Although I have a car, I prefer to take the bus to school for a number of reasons: I don't have to struggle finding parking on campus, it's greener, and above all, I really enjoy the walk to and from the bus stop. That's when I really feel connected to Mother Earth, admiring the beautiful scenery along the way, breathing fresh air, and sometimes meeting interesting people.

Like this morning there is an older lady walking her cute dog. We both smile and say "good morning" as we pass each other. I tell her how adorable her little mutt is, and she is very pleased. At the bus stop there are only 2 people sitting there since it's later than the normal time I get there, and the rush hour crowd is gone.

After 5 minutes the bus arrives. I look at the driver as I board. She is a beautiful lady with a red hibiscus in her hair. She is wearing a uniform, but I notice something very unusual: she is barefoot! I figure her feet were probably tired and she decided to take her shoes off. She says good morning and smiles at every boarding passenger.

After getting the results of all my exams, I head to the cafeteria where I'm supposed to meet with my boyfriend for lunch. He is already there sitting at one of the tables outside, propping his bare feet on a chair. When he sees me he gets up, and we hug and kiss before getting our food. I'm fortunate to have a boyfriend who is also a hard-core barefooter. Although we are allowed to attend most classes in bare feet, barefooters are in the small minority on campus. So we give each other moral support.

After lunch my boyfriend and I walk to the student health center. He teasingly says he wants to make sure I don't cry when I get my shot :) At the health center a nurse greets me and says she has everything ready for me. She is a young lady wearing a purple scrubs uniform. Again, I notice something very unusual: she is barefoot! I can't hold back my curiosity, so I ask her why she is not wearing any shoes, and her reply: "Hey, if you can be barefoot, so can I! This is the last day of school, so I decided to go casual and leave my shoes at home."

Needless to say I'm quite stunned. That's it, really? Just like that? Don't they have a dress code for employees, especially a professional like her? She says, since it's the last day of school, they made an exception. Hmm... how nice! But I still find it incredible. Perhaps she is the rebellious type who likes to defy authority?

As she walks around I notice her soles are quite dirty. She comes back with a syringe in her hand and I cringe a little. Uh oh, here we go! She says, "OK young lady, it's gonna sting just a little, but it will be very quick. Ready?" Uhm... do I have a choice? I close my eyes as she sticks my arm with the needle. "Ow!" I really hate needles. She chuckles and says, "That's it. Enjoy the rest of your barefoot day!" "Thank you mam, you do the same," I reply, and we both laugh.

Fast forward 20 hours.

I decided to stay at my boyfriend's apartment last night. It would make it easier and quicker for us to get ready in the morning and head to the airport.

So here we are still hugging each other in bed but wide awake after a fantastic and restful night ;) We take a look at our soles which are really dirty from walking barefoot all over, and haven't been washed for 2 days straight. We won't even bother taking a shower this morning since we will be spending a lot of time at the beach later, and we decide to just take a shower before we go to bed tonight. I tell my boyfriend our feet will get even filthier after we walk around the airport later. They will probably be jet black! We both laugh in amusement.

Yes, we will be flying barefoot, and we are traveling light. Each of us carries a small suitcase and a backpack. We don't bring any footwear, not even flip flops. That's what I call total freedom. So after a quick freshening up and a light breakfast, we hop on the bus heading to the airport.

At the airport we see quite a number of barefoot people, about 1/3 of them I would say. Not the majority, but a lot more than usual which is quite (pleasantly) surprising. Flying barefoot is actually a great idea since you don't have to take off your footwear for security screening. That's one less hassle to go through. Maybe people have caught on. As we are seated in the boarding area we both look at our soles. Yep, they are filthy, alright! We giggle and high-five each other.

Our airline is Barefoot Pacific Airways, and their slogan is "Fly in comfort, fly in bare feet!" As we board the plane we are greeted by the very friendly cabin crew. Their uniform is very simple and casual, yet elegant. It consists of a dark blue polo shirt with the airline logo on it and a name tag, and a pair of white shorts. That's it. What about footwear? None of the flight attendants, male or female, have anything on their feet. That's right, they're all barefoot.

As they walk around I notice some of them have slightly dirty feet (not filthy like ours, haha!) while the others have pretty clean soles. One of them approaches us and asks if we care for a pre-departure drink. She is a beautiful young girl who looks just a few years older than I am. Her name tag says Lynn. Following is a brief conversation I have with her.

"It's really nice to see all the flight attendants barefoot."
"Yeah, we are required to work in bare feet in accordance with the name of the airline, which we love very much as we are a lot more relaxed."
"So how come your feet are so clean?"
"Oh, we're not required to go barefoot everywhere. We can come to work in shoes or flip flops if we choose to, which I do. We just have to take them off once we get on the plane."
"Wow, that's really cool!"

Lynn smiles sweetly as she takes our order of orange juice.

Lunch is served after we're about an hour in the air. They give us plenty of delicious and healthy food. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies. I love this airline in more ways than one. After lunch I feel a bit sleepy, so I decide to take a little nap.

I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder and hear a sweet yet faint voice saying, "Miss Tania, would you please fasten your seatbelt? We will be landing shortly." I slowly open my eyes and...

I'm startled to find myself in... my bed! The sun is still shining through the window. I must have fallen back to sleep and dreamed of living in barefoot wonderland.

Dream vs. reality:

Yes, I will be going to campus this morning to check on my grades, but will my bus driver be barefoot? Not very likely, although it's not out of the realm of possibility. Her feet could really be tired or hurting from wearing shoes for long hours.

Yes, I will be having lunch with my boyfriend in the cafeteria later. Will he be barefoot? Definitely! I'm lucky to have a barefoot boyfriend in real life.

Yes, I will be going to the health center to get my allergy shot afterwards. Will I see a barefoot nurse? Nope, not a chance! With my luck, I will probably get a mean old nurse who will stick me hard and make me cry, haha! But at least my boyfriend will be there.

Yes, my boyfriend and I will be traveling barefoot to the South Pacific tomorrow, but will bring flip flops just in case. We are not yet living in barefoot wonderland, and we're not taking any chances that could ruin our vacation. You probably guessed it, we won't be flying Barefoot Pacific Airways, as that airline does not (yet) exist. Any barefoot entrepreneurs out there? Will we see any barefoot flight attendants? Again not a chance, unfortunately.

But hey, I can always dream it, right? Who knows, barefoot wonderland will be a reality one day as more and more people become aware of the benefits of going barefoot, and don't think it's taboo anymore. After all, many great things in life started with a dream.

Oh, by the way, Lynn is my little sister's name. She is not a flight attendant though, as she is still in high school. She is actually a sweet girl who also likes to go barefoot but doesn't care much for dirty feet. So she usually washes her feet as soon as she gets home after barefooting. She and I often argue about clean vs. dirty feet. I will have more stories to tell you about her in future posts. (Update: read Barefoot Sisters and Barefoot at School).

But the nice thing about being a barefooter is that you have a choice of keeping your feet dirty or clean. Whatever makes you feel good. I take a quick look at my soles and yes, they are dirty. At least that part wasn't a dream :)

I wipe my nose with my fingers. Oops, it's wet and runny. That's because I never actually blew it earlier as I fell back to sleep. "Achoo! Achoo!" Uh oh... I jump out of bed and run to the bathroom. For real, this time.

*****

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