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Which shoes to choose?

Lets face it. I have too many pairs of shoes. In fact, if you look at the very top of this page, you’ll see a page named ‘feet’ – this is because I like to take pictures of my feet in different places, but it has also shown me that I am always wearing different shoes. I may have a problem.

Today, however, I’ll make the most of the problem and run through a different variety of shoes and what they’re good for, when you’re travelling. Hopefully you can give me advice too, because I have yet to find the perfect shoe. (Christie over at ChristieThinks seems to be getting close!)

I want to start with an ode to my favourite shoes ever. I bought these at Old Navy, at the very last minute before leaving for my year abroad in Ecuador. If you are good friends with me in person, then I have told you about these shoes. They started to wear away at the sole after a year of wearing them everywhere around the world, and I gave them away. I still regret it. I have never stopped looking for their replacement, and still haven’t found their equivalent anywhere. Sigh.

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Converse

Not really ideal for much walking, but they do look fun and take up no room at all in your suitcase. The high-tops allow space for an insole, which helps give them more support. I do love my converse shoes, but I don’t really travel with them anymore.

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Toms

Kind of the same deal as converse – no real support, but they go with pretty much everything and are great to stuff into an already full bag, as they take up no space and weigh nothing. My man complaint is that they get VERY stinky, very quickly, and you can’t wear them extensively or they will wear out after a few weeks. I wore the light grey ones in the picture below for my entire week in San Francisco, and they were far from ideal – they killed my feet (although I did walk up to 10kms a day, so that’s my fault for not planning on better walking shoes), and they already smell too bad to wear anymore. From now on, I will keep them for shorter trips, and wear socks in them. I always bring the purple ones below when I travel for work, because they are great to wear inside at conferences and meetings.

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Rain Boots

Definitely one of my favourite types of footwear, but also completely impractical for travel. They make me feel invincible when I wear them, but they just take up so much room that unless you’re driving somewhere, you can’t really travel with them! Can someone invent roll-up, comfy rain boots with solid soles please?

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Winter Boots

Being from Quebec, I definitely know my way around winter boots. I went through the usual adolescent phase of refusing to wear them, but now I’m all about proper winter footwear. Problem is, they are also super annoying to carry around everywhere. I love my purple Sorels, but they live at my mum’s house because I don’t really need them in BC, nor do I want to take up valuable suitcase space for them! I also used to have a pair of Merrell boots which were beautiful, functional and warm, but the sole cracked after a few winters. Now, I make do with a pair of black Hush Puppy boots – they look good with pretty much everything, and while they are not very warm, they are exactly what I need for going to conferences in snowy places in the winter. The same problem remains though, that I have to wear them on the plane if I want to take them at all.

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Other impractical shoes

These include flip-flops, which I now only take on beach holidays, and slip-ons with absolutely no arch support, which I usually just wear around town when I’m at home. No sense bringing these travelling unless you’re not planning on doing much more than going to the beach.
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Big ol’ leather boots

Man, I love these boots. They are definitely my favourite style, and I can’t wait till autumn so that I can wear them again. The ones on top are my original, completely beaten up ones, that I still wear when it’s raining, or muddy, or anywhere that my shoes might get wet. They feel like slippers. The onesbelow are my ‘nice’ ones, that I’m (trying) to take care of.

I’ve been on a lot of trips with these boots – the only drawback is that the sole is a bit hard so my feet do hurt at the end of the day, but otherwise, if my trip consists mainly of city walking and no demanding terrain, I will continue to bring these with me. They just make me feel good! (And the ones cause the shoe-cleaning staff in airports to run after me)

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Actual, sensible walking shoes

That’s right, I actually do have some of these. Full on running shoes, that I never take anywhere unless I know that I’ll be out and about and running around, and unless I know that it’s a setting where I won’t care about how I look (Let’s be honest now. Style goes into almost every shoe decision that I make). The other shoes that I like for easy trails, and that are actually my favourite, are my Keen shoes – the blue ones below are a bit more city with less grip but tons of comfort and support (and the chickens approve), and my actual favourite, comfortable, tons of support, and grippy for easy to moderate trails, are my Keen Toyahs. Problem is? They are bulky and heavy, so not convenient to stuff in a backpack, and quite clunky, so they don’t go with everyday outfits.

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So, what’s the verdict?

The verdict is that I’m still trying to find the all around best travel shoes, and sandals! For this trip, I’ve decided to go with black Birkenstocks that go with everything, because I know that they offer comfort and adequate support for days of city walking and standing around, and I’ve just bought a pair of barefoot runners from Merrel (Pace Glove), based on the fact that they are light, squishable, offer moderate arch support, good enough traction, and that they are SUPER cute. (Seriously. I’m sad to say that looks have such a big part in this.)

I just finished the first day of my 4 week trip, and the Merrells remained comfy after walking all day. I’ll let you know how they fare on Banff’s trails, and during my Mantracker run in the Prairies.  Keep an eye out for pictures of my feet wearing them in different places across Canada 🙂



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Rethinking carry-on

In my last post about carry-on luggage, I was going away for three weeks, and I managed to fit everything into a rolling suitcase and a laptop bag. I actually ended up bringing a whole suitcase, because I was going back to my parents’ and figured it was a good opportunity to move more stuff here.

This time, however, I am travelling with carry-on luggage only. I have to bring more things because it’s winter where I’m going, and I am bringing a smaller bag than usual.

Here is the context:

I am going on a five day business trip to Saskatoon, where it is currently -16 degrees. In order to get to the airport from here, I have to take a ferry, a bus and a sky train. Once I’m in Saskatoon, I will have access to a vehicle, but the snow, and my trek to get to Vancouver airport, mean that I am not interested in bringing a rolling suitcase.

First of all, use Vanessa’s advice about what to pack. I’m bringing 5 tops and two pairs of pants, three sweaters, and one pair of indoor shoes – I’m going to a conference and I don’t want to wear my winter boots all day. My Toms shoes are ideal for this, because they take up no room in my backpack.

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I have finally, finally found a way of packing that works for me! I have always been a fan of rolling my clothes so that they take up less space, but I was forever unrolling things while rummaging through my backpack, trying to find the parts for each day’s outfit. As of last week, I have started rolling outfits together. This wouldn’t work for a longer backpacking trip, but it is a wonderful solution for short trips with designated outfits. Last weekend, I was on another four day trip, in a different hotel every night. It didn’t matter which way I had packed my bag or which outfit I felt like wearing – every night, I was able to take everything out, and repacking in the morning took me 4 minutes, because the unworn outfits were still rolled together. I also roll up the worn outfits the same way, with dirty socks and undies on the inside. When I get home, I just toss each roll in the laundry bin. This time, I’m staying in the same hotel for the whole weekend, so I will unpack and hang my clothes to look more presentable!fr_305_size880

As you can see from the picture above, I am also bringing a few other things: my laptop, some files for work, my cell phones, charger cables, and my Kindle (indispensable). I LOVE my Osprey laptop bag, but I don’t want to bring it, because it doesn’t fit comfortably when I’m wearing my backpack and running between buses and ferries and trains, and even less so when I’m wearing a winter jacket. My Herschel bag has a handy laptop sleeve on the inside. It’s not the biggest, but works for my macbook. I packed up everything to take pictures for this post, and then had to take out my laptop to write it. Unfortunately, this plan is not perfect. When my laptop is in it’s protective case, it’s really hard to pull out once the bag is full. Not ideal for security, or watching Netflix during my layover. However! That’s why I chose the purse that I’m bringing – it is just large enough to fit my laptop! It certainly doesn’t offer much padding, but it helps in getting from point A to point B when I don’t have time to unpack and repack.

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Beyond all of that, what’s left are my toiletries. I’m not gone for long, and I’m staying in hotels, so I don’t need to bring too much. I have a nifty folding toothbrush, mini toothpaste, mini perfume vaporizer, and mini shampoo. I actually have these because I’m lazy – over the next two months, I am repeatedly away for 5 days at a time, with 2-3 days home in between each trip. I prefer to have travel-only things, so that I don’t have to keep taking things in and out of my bathroom (the annoying wet toothbrush when you leave in the morning!), or run the risk of forgetting something at the last minute. My travel deodorant, hair stuff, toothbrush and a few pieces of jewellery stay in my cute little Cath Kidston bag, and I replenish as I run out. The perfume (the Travalo is a brilliant perfume dispenser – you fill it with your favourite perfume, and it’s TSA friendly!), shampoo and toothpaste go in my 3-1-1 bag, which I keep right next to my laptop, so that it’s handy to pull out at security.

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And that, my friends, is how you pack five days into a backpack! I’m a little bit annoyed that it’s winter in Saskatoon. Last week, I went to the Okanagan and stayed at a chain hotel where there were fitness facilities. I brought some light running shoes, my workout clothes, and my bathing suit. This time, because of the weather, I am wearing boots on the plane, and my scarf, tuque and jacket have taken the place of my workout stuff (but that’s ok, because who am I kidding).

What it really means is that in the summer, I’ll be able to easily pack 7 days worth of outfits into this bag, and with my bathtub laundry skills, I’ll be able to travel this way for the whole summer!

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To pack or not to pack? Part 2 : Three weeks, one carry-on

Yesterday, I posted about travelling for 3 months with a 36 litre backpack. 

Today, my situation is a bit different. I’m going away for 3 weeks, which will be spent partially in meetings, partially hanging out with family, and partially going out with friends.

Is it possible to pack for this trip without checking any luggage?

The answer is yes!

I (kind of) followed Vanessa’s advice. Her blog post is great because it details each part of packing. Since I’m still supposed to be packing right now (and doing dishes, and cleaning), I’m just going to post what I ended up deciding to bring. I actually ended up bringing more stuff than what Vanessa allows for.fr_1417

In this picture is everything that I’m bringing.

Clothes : 2 pairs of pants, 3 dresses, 5 nice tops, 3 pairs of leggings. 12 pairs of socks and underwear (re: I don’t want to have to do laundry over and over), 6 tank tops (I wear them under everything, and then to sleep each night), two bras, and one pair of yoga pants to sleep in. Also, one pair of indoor shoes.

Toiletries : The pink stripy thing contains bits and pieces – toothbrush, deodorant, jewellery and makeup. My 3-1-1 bag contains shampoo, soap, etc. – anything liquid.

This is the final product. It actually contains what I’m going to wear on the flight, so I actually have some free space.

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Others : I’m going on this trip for work, so I need my laptop, cellphones, etc. (sadface) Along with my rolling suitcase, I am bringing a ‘personal item’, which is my laptop bag. It contains (obviously) my laptop, some paperwork, my phones, my kindle and a tuque that I’m currently knitting. I’m actually not sure if I’m allowed to bring needles on the plane, but we’ll see!

So, all in all, this is everything that I’m bringing for my 3 week trip.

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Not too bad! I feel like when I take off for my RTW trip, I’ll be able to do it with my good ol’ 36er!