An employee at REI asked me that the other day.
I told the guy that I wanted a light weight, sturdy shoe, because I was going to be backpacking around towns and cities for a long time, and I didn’t want to lug around a heavy and bulky pair of shoes.
Guy: So you’re gonna be a hobo?
Me: Am I gonna be a what?
Guy: A hobo.
Me: Oh, haha (fake laugh), hobo, yea, I guess…
I guess we Californians automatically assume anyone who is walking around town carrying a 40L+ pack on their back is a hobo.
I assume this guy was making a joke, but I began to think about his comment a little deeper…Am I going to be living a “hobo life”? Yes, I am. However, I am going to be a privileged hobo, who can afford to buy a pair of descent hobo shoes. As I looked at the hikers in the REI shoe section, I started to feel bad for all the homeless people who have to travel without a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes. Then again, it’s not common to find a homeless person walking far distances. If I was a true hobo, I would probably be barefoot.
I’m not a shoe person. I prefer to be barefoot whenever possible. I purchase a pair of shoes maybe once every 5-years. However, I don’t think it would be wise to frolic around Asia with bare feet, so I’m taking this whole shoes thing a little more seriously…
Real seriously. I have been contemplating “shoes” for the past three months, and I’ll admit, I have been pretty fanatical about finding the perfect pair.
Thus far, I have purchased (and returned) four pairs of shoes from four different stores on four separate days, and spent countless hours comparing shoe weights on various online stores. I feel like a “low-hikers” expert at this point.
I started off with a $20 pair from Big 5 and ended up with a $130 pair from REI, but heck, I believe shoes will be the most important investment I will make for this trip, so I splurged.
This is what I ended up with: the Ahnu Montara II
I have been wearing them all around town, you know, to “break em’ in.” I have to say that I am enjoying the fact that I look like I have been on a long hike everywhere I go…and the fact that this perception makes up for my occasional (or frequent) salty dry hair and body odor. I may not be a hobo, but I surf, dance, AND work with marine mammals. I think that’s a good enough excuse.
I have yet to see how these ahnus will hold up during my hobo life on the other side of the world. I’ll keep ya updated.