Barefoot Vacation

Some time ago I had the chance to meet and spend some time with a fellow barefooter from New Zealand whom I got acquainted with on “a.l.b.” (the barefoot newsgroup). We had been corresponding via email and it was a pleasure to finally meet each other in person. He and his family stopped over in Hawaii for 3 days on their way back to New Zealand from visiting other countries. He is the only avid barefooter in the family, although his wife and 2 children have also gone out barefoot on occasion in New Zealand where the prevelance of barefooters is quite high.

The first day we met I went to his hotel, from where we went out to walk around in Waikiki (where most of the tourists on Oahu stay). He and I were of course, barefoot; his 11 year old daughter started out barefoot as well but later on she decided to wear sandals. We went into several stores and the “International Market Place” where we had lunch at the food court. We saw a few other barefooters but it’s hard to get one’s soles dirty walking in Waikiki.

Later I drove them around the island a little bit and stopped by the “Pali Lookout” where you can see a gorgeous view of the windward side of the island; on the parking lot there were lots of small pieces of broken glasses which made me cringe but to my own surprise, my feet didn’t get hurt at all walking on them. The many years of going barefoot has toughened my soles. Then we went to “Safeway” since they needed to buy some groceries. In there we saw 2 little kids and a girl in her 20’s barefoot as well.




A side note: the Safeway stores here are all barefoot friendly (no signs posted, and no hassles); and as some of you probably know, their employees are required to be extra helpful and friendly to the customers (this was brought up on “20/20”). In my early days of barefooting in public, I would get really nervous when a Safeway employee approached me to ask if I needed help with anything. I wished they would just leave me alone. But now I’ve gotten used to it and in fact appreciate it ‘cos they’re still helpful and friendly despite the fact that I’m barefoot πŸ™‚

My friend commented that he was surprised that “Denny’s” and “Pizza Hut” in Hawaii don’t have “the sign” posted at the door, ‘cos the ones in New Zealand have it!

The following day they went on a tour to the “Polynesian Culture Center” (a popular tourist attraction on the island) which took pretty much the whole day (including meals and shows). My friend carried his thongs in his backpack, just in case. He said there was a sign saying “shirt and shoes required” posted there but he ignored it and never got hassled even once. One person asked him if he lost his shoes, and he just said: “No, I just don’t like wearing them!”. He also saw another person barefoot there. Jokingly he said to me that “the sign” was posted to distinguish the visitors from the performers (who are all barefoot).

The third day (new year’s day) I went to church (where I have to wear shoes) in the morning. As soon as service was over, I changed into T-shirt and shorts and put my shoes in the trunk of my car and drove barefoot to Waikiki where my friend invited me to join them at the pool, since they just wanted to relax before flying back to New Zealand in the evening. He bought me a little souvenir: a brazen bookmark with a little bare foot at the tip and the words: “Barefoot in Hawaii Feels Good” inscribed on it. πŸ™‚

Below are excerpts of my friend’s email sent to me after he left, relating his observation and experience on barefooting in Hawaii and on his trip back:

[written in Hawaii]
From a barefooting perspective, thanks to having conversed with you, you were right–barefooters are more prevalent in NZ than it is here, but rubber slippers (flip flops) are more prevalent here. However, out of the places we’ve been to here, I’ve seen a few barefooters; and not much resistance or stares about it; which I would still consider barefoot friendly.

[continued on the flight on the way back home…]
We had to re-pack our suitcases in order to fit my running shoes in. Otherwise, I would have had no choice but to wear them. Thank goodness I didn’t have to. I left the hotel barefooted into the six-windowed limousine, which had trouble turning around corners (not bad for US$20 + tips). I got to the airport, went to pick up my stored luggage, checked in the stuff; went through security, boarded the plane–not a single problem, not a single stare.

Somehow, we ended up in an Air Pacific flight (Fiji Airline). It’s some joint service with Canadian Airlines. Our boarding pass says flight FJ861 “sold as CP6121”. I don’t know whether it being a Fijian airline has anything to do with it, but I did not anticipate too much problems even on a real Canadian Airline flight from Honolulu to Auckland, both barefoot friendly destinations. I had my flip flops in my carry-on, just in case nonetheless. Going through the gates, that was the first time in the whole trip that they asked me to open my carry-on to turn on my notebook PC to see though.

I don’t anticipate any problems landing barefoot in Auckland as well. I’ve done that before. So, basically as soon as I landed in Honolulu, I’ve been barefoot full-time again. Too bad it rained when we went to Polynesian Culture Center. My feet would have been nice and black otherwise.

Surprise, my wife put her sandals in the bag and landed in the Auckland airport barefoot along with me.

*****

So, will you be barefoot on your next vacation? You should also read about going barefoot in Hawaii which details my personal experiences while living in Hawaii, and barefoot Kauai vacation which is about 2 girls vacationing barefoot on Kauai and saw a very interesting barefoot-friendly sign.

About Me

  • Name: Jonathan “barefoot kid” – no, the Barefoot Kid movie is not about me, nor am i the actor – i wish! πŸ™‚
  • Home: Kailua, Hawaii
  • Interests: martial arts, swimming, movies (happy-ending ones only), music, computer games, naturism, barefooting

I love going barefoot and i do it most of the time most everywhere (to the grocery stores, post office, banks, restaurants, and shopping malls to name a few places), and consider it a matter of personal choice (just like someone would choose to wear a hat, a red dress, or drive a black sports car).

Whenever i’m barefoot i feel like an innocent, uninhibited kid, being carefree and natural, ready to experience all the fun life has to offer. Above all, it builds my confidence as i become kinder, gentler, and more tolerant with my fellow human beings.

I also love nature and love to be close to and one with it. I don’t care much for city life; i’d rather be in the country, where there are lots of trees and i can hear the birds sing during the day and insects at night, or the ocean. Oh yes, i love hanging out on the beach! I could practically live there. I also love the tropics where it’s warm year round and i never have to bundle up.

You wouldn’t guess but i’m actually kinda shy. But i’m also free spirited and have a rebellious side. I get a thrill out of breaking social taboos. Going barefoot in public is one of them. Besides, i feel more in touch with nature when i’m barefoot.




I also don’t like wearing clothes; i feel so liberated when i don’t have anything on my body. But too bad, unlike going barefoot i can’t go without clothes in public and not get in trouble, he he he! So, i’m totally naked only when i’m at home and i mean i do everything in the nude like sleeping, eating, watching tv or surfing the net.

When i go out i just put on a pair of shorts with no underwear; to me underwear are just like socks – too restrictive and i have no use for them. So i never wear them. Depending on where i need to go and the temperature, i may or may not wear a shirt. Sometimes i feel like Tarzan, bare chest and bare feet with only a pair of shorts on.

You know, when i was in my teens my hair was pretty long, like below my shoulders, and on occasion people would mistake me for a girl (seriously!), but when i didn’t have any shirt on, they couldn’t make that mistake, right? He he he! When i have to wear shirt i just put on an old t-shirt sometimes with holes on it. When i get home, whatever little is on my body comes completely off. Aaahhh… Such freedom!

My parents, especially my dad, never approved of my behavior. He would get so exasperated when he saw me walk around the house in bare feet and would tell me to put on sandals, and i always got yelled at when i came to the dining table with no shirt on. One time i walked into my parents’ room with no clothes on (i was about 14) because i had to ask my mom something and didn’t feel like putting on clothes just for a few seconds. Man, was my dad furious! It was a constant struggle between the conservative parents and the rebellious kid.

Once i got into college i moved far from my parents and that’s when i started to enjoy more freedom. I saw a few students going barefoot around campus, including to classes and i thought it was really cool but at first i was kinda timid to go barefoot on campus myself. It actually took me a while to give it a try, and when i did i felt so liberated. However, i majored in science and unfortunately we couldn’t go barefoot or wear flip flops in in science labs which was a bummer. Nevertheless, i enjoyed the time i was able to walk barefoot around campus.

I also enjoy swimming which can actually clean my soles pretty good. Oh well… They’ll get dirty again soon! πŸ™‚ here’s my soles before and after swimming…

How I enjoy life and always have fun

I try to always remember the following:

I know that everything in life, be it pleasant or otherwise, happens for a purpose, and it serves me. If i cannot change the unpleasant, i surrender, see it as the way it is supposed to be, and deal with it joyfully.

I also believe those around me are trying to do the best they can, with what they have; therefore, i try to be kind, tolerant, and forgive others easily.

I am aware that at any given moment there are good/exciting things going on around me, and i can find them by being more perceptive. Life is filled with fun; i just have to look for and experience it.

When things are not going so well, i have all the more reason to cheer up and have fun so i will gain the energy to deal with the problem. Being grouchy will only make it worse.

I am always thankful for what i have, for i know there are always others who have less.

I believe i can achieve anything i can imagine; i let my dreams be the driving force, and never let them die.

My personal code of conduct

  1. Be friendly, outgoing, loving, strong, and passionate
  2. Be kind, patient, forgiving, and slow to anger
  3. Be confident and calm in any situation
  4. Live impeccably
  5. Contribute to others
  6. Always be happy and have fun

Here’s a nice little writing that encourages going barefoot to enjoy life…

Waiting for the Station
“When we reach the station that will be it!” we cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz.” “When I put through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage.” “When I get a promotion.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after.”

Sooner or later we must realize there is no station. No one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118.24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

~Author Unknown~

*******
πŸ™‚ Smile… it soothes your soul
Bare your soles and walk a mile
Sooth your soles and free your soul
You shall smile for a long while (:
~barefoot kid~

Thanks for your visit, hope you enjoyed it, and please do come back! I may have some exciting new stuff! See ya later!

 

Going Barefoot – The Basics

Going barefoot is fun and healthy

Going barefoot, even in public, is not against the law. You probably know that already; but did you know that it’s also conducive to a healthier and happier life? Read on to find out how.

Bare your feet and

Live life to the fullest!

Health concerns

Afraid to get your feet dirty? Of course, your feet are gonna get dirty if you walk barefoot outside your house but that’s part of the fun. Believe it or not, quite a few barefooters (myself included) think it’s fun and cool to have dirty feet. And if you don’t like it you can always wash them as often as you like throughout the day which is no big deal.

BTW, there’s a post on the blog about clean vs. dirty feet. Which do you prefer? Post your comments there!

Now compare that to wearing shoes all day long. If your feet sweat, at the end of the day you (and whoever else is near you) probably won’t be able to stand the smell. Yuck! And how often do you actually wash your shoes? Not very often I bet, ‘cos you would ruin them. So the inside of your $h0*s (yes, it’s a dirty word to us barefooters :p) becomes a culture medium for all sorts of bacteria and fungi (germs) which love warm, moist, and dark places! So do you now see why going barefoot is actually healthier?




What about “athlete’s foot?” Some say you get it by walking barefoot in locker rooms. Well, what happens is most people put on their $h0*s before leaving the locker room. So whatever fungus your bare soles picked up will thrive inside your $h0es and cause problems. But if you were to remain barefoot the fungus won’t last long in dry air.

Another concern I keep hearing is that you can get parasitic (e.g. worm) infection by walking barefoot outdoors. This mostly happens in under-developed countries where parasites abound and sanitation is very poor, and you walk around barefoot on soil contaminated with human feces. I know, gross! So if you live in a modern developed country this shouldn’t be a concern.

While we’re on the subject of health, I should also mention that most, if not all, of the foot problems caused by wearing shoes such as calluses, hammer toes, bunions, and other foot deformities can be prevented and alleviated by going barefoot. In addition, some people who have flat feet have noticed improvements after they go barefoot for a while.

Yet another health benefit of going barefoot is grounding or earthing. It’s a relatively new discovery that connecting to the earth’s natural energy by going barefoot (or some other methods) can help you live a healthy and balanced life. We won’t go into details about it here, you can Google it if you’re interested. But the bottom line is, going barefoot is healthy!

OK, moving on… Stepping on sharp objects. I have to admit this is a tough one. Everything carries a risk but many people are willing to take risks for the fun and thrill of doing certain things like bungee jumping, sky diving, mountain climbing, or car racing. The risk of dying or getting seriously hurt from stepping on sharp objects while walking barefoot is much, much less than that of the aforementioned activities.

First of all, after going barefoot on a regular basis for a while, your feet become tough; the skin of your soles grows thicker and more resistant to sharp objects that they most likely won’t even penetrate. Second of all, a seasoned barefooter is usually more alert and sensitive to the surrounding that often times they “instinctively” avoid stepping on sharp objects and other harmful or yucky stuff like chemicals, bugs, animal doodoo, etc.

On the rare occasion that you do step on a sharp object and get hurt, it’s really not that big a deal. You most likely won’t die πŸ™‚ Just wash the wound clean with soap and water, alcohol, or other antiseptic solutions you have and then put on some antibiotic ointment and a band-aid to cover it. If it’s a small cut, you most likely can continue walking barefoot with the band-aid on until it heals completely. Otherwise, you may have to put up with wearing sandals for a couple of days.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and I’m not giving you medical advice. The above is based on my personal experience and what I learned from various sources.

One very important thing is to keep your tetanus shots current. This is important even if you don’t go barefoot regularly. Hey, even your finger could get cut doing manual things, right?

Also read my blog post about the health benefits of going barefoot.

Let’s take a little break and watch this short video about The Barefoot Book.

SocialΒ  concerns

What about being ridiculed or looked down upon by others? Well firstly, there is nothing immoral, disgraceful, or even improper about going barefoot, even in public. It’s not like you walk around with no clothes on. Your feet are bare and just like your hands, they are NOT private parts although some people like to think they are (it’s their loss, though!). Going barefoot is not against any religion. In fact, some religions actually encourage it.

Secondly, while it’s true that in many third world countries people are always barefoot because they can’t afford shoes (that’s actually one way they enjoy life despite their circumstances), there are places such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, most parts of Hawaii, and some parts of the Southern US where going barefoot in public is quite common and accepted.

barefoot in New Zealand
People walking barefoot in public in New Zealand.

These are not poor countries or regions, and folks walk around barefoot in public as a matter of personal choice, and others are ok with it. In Hawaii I very often see people driving nice cars and wearing nice clothes walk barefoot into stores. Besides, most homeless people actually wear something on their feet.

Now what about being considered “crazy” for going barefoot in public? If by that you mean being eccentric or a little weird, so what? Most people have their own idiosyncrasies that make them different from others. Just look at the celebrities πŸ™‚ It’s no big deal to be different and actually cool as long as you don’t hurt anyone.

If by “crazy” you mean mentally ill, that’s a little different. But how many barefoot mentally ill/disturbed people have you seen? Again, not very many I’m sure, as most of them wear shoes. I’ve heard stories of other barefooters being stopped by police because they went barefoot in public, not because it was illegal but the police just wanted to make sure they were “sane” and doing ok. Cool! πŸ™‚

Lastly, who cares what others think anyway! It’s just their opinion. There are gazillions of opinions in this world and if we let all of them dictate the way we live our lives we won’t even last a day.

Even Sesame Street encourages you to set your piggies free which is great!

Legal concerns

Is it against the law to go barefoot in public? Absolutely not! At least not anywhere in the US. Those that say otherwise, are either totally ignorant or are lying to you to cover their own prejudices against bare feet. There is not even a health code that says you can’t enter establishments barefoot. I’m sure you have seen signs posted at the door of stores saying you can’t go in barefoot “By Order of The Health Department.” That’s a complete lie! You can check out the following link to verify that going barefoot is legal in the US.

I understand that establishments have the right to set their own rules as to how their customers should dress, like certain fancy restaurants require men to wear suit and tie but they don’t say it’s by order of the government! Therefore, they should not create “phantom laws” concerning bare feet! *They* should actually be prosecuted for using the government’s name to lie!

But it’s not all bad for there are barefoot-friendly stores that, believe it or not, have No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem signs. In this particular story, the sign was seen on Kauai, Hawaii, but I have also seen something similar in Galveston, Texas. Too bad I didn’t have a camera with me at the time. I wish there were more of them to counter the negative ones.

Driving barefoot is also perfectly legal anywhere in the US. There are no laws against driving barefoot. Again, you can visit the link for reference.

Phew! Isn’t it a relief to know that going barefoot is not against the law? So whatcha gonna do? I would start going barefoot everywhere!

Click on the link to learn how to live the barefoot lifestyle.

Other Interesting links

If you were a barefoot girl, what would you be dreaming of? Read her story and find out: a barefoot girl’s dream.

Barefoot sisters – the girl above has a little sister who also loves going everywhere sans shoes (this is NOT about The Barefoot Sisters).

Read about her interesting experience being confronted by a teacher when she went barefoot at school.