“So you’re gonna be a hobo?”

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.



2 thoughts on ““So you’re gonna be a hobo?”

    • The shoes are the best pair of hiking shoes I have ever purchased! Comfortable, light, and durable. Everything I was hoping for.
      About the “hobo life”…I now realize that no matter where I go in Asia, I am living in luxury. I am so fortunate for my freedom and opportunity to travel.


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