As I get ready for the GSE to Taiwan, I’m thinking about packing light. I’ll be away for almost six weeks (four weeks in Taiwan and 11 days in Japan) and will have professional, casual and vacation clothes as well as other things.
While in Taiwan, I’m staying with Rotarian host families and won’t want to have a bunch of stuff to cart around from home to home. I’ll have my camera gear, my iPad2 and a suitcase of clothes and necessities.
I’ve been reading about techniques for dealing with jet-lag and one suggestion is to try and incorporate 30 minutes rigorous exercise during your regular REM period for three consecutive days after you arrive. I’ll need to calculate my REM period and then do the timezone math, but it’s something I’d like to try and do even for the first day or two after we arrive. I’m a runner and it’s one of the easiest ways of exercising. Slipping on a pair of sneakers, turning on some music with a heavy beat is the perfect thing for me. But my running shoes aren’t small (besides the fact that I have BIG feet, they’re not compact footwear) and I don’t see myself wearing them a lot when I have a pair of casual sneakers I’d rather wear.
I’m guilty of bringing way too much clothes and footwear when I travel, so I’m struggling with what I should and shouldn’t bring. And with the whole idea of exercising, at this point it’s exactly that: an idea. It may not even be possible to work into my schedule. The idea of bringing a large pair of footwear I may not even put on has me looking for other options.
Potential solution: my Vibram FiveFingers or as I like to call them – my toe shoes!
I heard about these types of shoes last year and while in Barrie visiting my in-laws in May 2011, Matt and I made a visit to MEC to see if they had any in stock. They did indeed and success (!!) their KomodoSport style fits me like a glove (har har, ya like that pun?).
I know what you’re thinking. What the hell are those? …Are you insane? …They look so weird? …How can they be comfy? …I’ve got the willies just looking at them. Surprisingly, even with my sensory issues with socks, I don’t mind having my toes separated by this glove/spandex-like material. For the record: certain socks are the devil… I’m very picky about socks. Don’t ever bother buying a pair unless you’ve seen me purchase the exact type before.
Confession: I’m ashamed to admit that after wearing them a few times at home and once at the gym, they were wrongfully neglected and pushed into the back of the closet. No specific reason beyond a lapse in memory and a fit of ADHD had me forget about them. But I was at the gym recently and saw someone wearing a pair just like mine. She’s a personal trainer at Goodlife (at least that’s what the shirt she was wearing said) and loves her Vibrams. I asked for advice on how to get used to them and told her about my sudden idea to bring them to Taiwan instead of running shoes (I literally came up with the idea when I saw her walking around the track). She thought it was a great idea and highly recommended I start using them ASAP. Even 20 minutes during a warm up will help.
Now I’m trying to wear them every other day or more. They’ve been to the gym a couple of times and I’ve pounded the track with them running and walking during some lunch breaks. They’re also being worn around the house at night and on the weekends. When I bought them, I was cautioned by an employee to ease myself into them because it’s a very new experience for your foot. It’s not used to doing a lot of it’s own support, especially when walking or running. I also have falling arches, so I don’t want to make them angry. But personal trainer lady said that she wore them to a day trip to the Calgary Zoo and found them fine (that was all the buy-in I needed).
Oh and on Wednesday I was at the gym and another runner came over and asked me about my Vibram shoes. He’s been thinking about getting a pair, but is concerned about causing an injury. I was upfront and said that I haven’t been wearing them a lot, but told him about my plans to bring them to Taiwan. It was really great to chat with someone who was in the same mindset as myself before I took the plung and bought a pair. I suspect he’ll end up getting a pair at some point.
Can I do it? Can I get used to these crazy toe shoes in time to have them replace the need for running shoes? They’re pretty comfy and feel AMAZING when walking on grass. I used them a lot last summer when gardening (which is a nice way of describing my war on weeds as I was obsessed with pulling ALL THE WEEDS that infested our front and back yard).
What do you think? Could you handle wearing shoes like these? It’s really not bad! Honest!