Bye bye boots

20 Feb 2006|Lee Shupp

I’ve just returned from Costa Rica, where I spent 10 days on an adventure travel vacation with Backroads. I had a wonderful time there- hiking, biking, and kayaking my way across a breathtakingly beautiful country. But alas, I did not make it back with my boots. They died a slow, watery death in the rain forest and I had to leave them behind in Monteverde. This blog is in praise of old school technology that delivers meaning over many years.

I live in a world of constant change. My computers, software, tech toys, clothes, and most of the material goods around me are constantly changing. Don’t get me wrong: I like change, and I thrive on it. But there are a few constants in my life that provide welcome balance from the ephemeral nature of most of my material goods.

One of these has been my Raichles hiking boots that I bought almost 20 years ago. We’ve walked the world together, these boots and I. From the Sierra snowpack to the Sonoran desert, from the Australian outback to the rain forests of Costa Rica, we have explored everywhere. They were perfectly broken in, soft and comfortable, reassuring to the touch of my toes. I liked them so much, I didn’t just wear them in the wilderness. I used to wear them around the house while working on my thesis in grad school, stuck indoors writing all day but giving my feet the feel of freedom.

My boots have delivered meaning to me in myriad ways: freedom from the humdrum of daily life, a sense of accomplishment from many long hikes in disntant places, and a sense of oneness as I connected with nature and left the stress of city life far behind. I will miss them.

(BTW, had I not made the mistake of having them resoled at a small and incompetent boot repair place in SF, I would still be wearing them. My next pair will definitely be Raichles.)

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