It all started when I was studying for my A-levels; a burning desire to travel the world settled itself in my brain. Partly as a chance to prove that despite being small in size, at a towering five feet and one-half inch, I was independent, brave and at least a little bit interesting. My father was reluctant despite my mother’s willingness to send me out the door with a kiss on the head and a ten pound note for luck. Regardless, I decided to travel, on my own, around Australasia before heading off to University.
I worked all the hours I could at my local supermarket to save for my trip. With my final pay cheque I invested in a pair of shoes to take with me. The sensible purchase would have been a sturdy pair of walking shoes or some well-fitted running trainers. But limited space and my 18-year-old fashion conscious self meant I chose a pair of white Converse high-tops.
OH BUT THE PLACES THOSE WHITE CONVERSE WOULD TAKE ME!
I remember the way they squeaked as I walked away from my parents, through Heathrow airport security, wondering if this trip was really the smartest idea. I remember running up some stairs at LAX where I had left my book with my passport stuffed in it in the toilet. I remember jumping off the world’s second highest bungee jump with them on. I remember straddling two Australian states at the point they met. I remember horse riding through New Zealand wearing them, humming tunes from Lord of the Rings. I remember the day they turned peach as I trekked through a jungle in Fiji…I remember arriving home with the same shoes on my feet as I had left in, and how they carried me out the door a few weeks later to the sunny Brighton coast for university.
Those Converse, brought out of vanity, became my most trusted pair of shoes. I never travelled without them. Including the trip in which I christened them, the soles of that ill-advised purchase have trod on the soil of ten countries and four continents. They have literally taken my feet on an adventure. It was a heartbreaking day when those well-travelled shoes finally gave up the give. RIP white Converse. May your replacements take me as far as you did.