On July 8, 2016, I wrote my first fictitious blog post. I never published it. Here is the first paragraph:
"SHOES. If all goes well I will wear this pair of shoes for the next five years: every day and on every tour, in town, by the sea, in the desert (ice or sand), on the mountains, in the valley, on the plateau. A pair of shoes for all situations, without me knowing exactly WHAT I would see. As with everything I had to organise for this trip, I was looking for the impossible."
My brand new hiking boots were the first purchase that meant I really would leave. Since then, they have carried, grounded and protected me. Traveling with a backpack brings a certain minimalism with it. Depending on my needs, it expands in form and shape and adjusts to different climates and demands. I don't carry anything around with me, that is not truly necessary. The most important thing, however, were these shoes, by a long shot. In the dark, they looked like combat boots, they didn't have a steel cap, but they could still be used as a weapon. Their profile showed only negligible signs of use, and they added some badly needed street cred to my image of experienced traveller.
The last picture I have of them was taken in Armenia, while I wandered through the canyon. They were filthy and dusty and in desperate need to be freshly polished. I had worn them almost every day for the past 365 days. Over 18,000 km they have carried me safely over rock and stone.
On my second day in Tehran, they were stolen from the hallway of the residential building I was staying in. My heart broke into a thousand pieces. This is when the floodgate of negativity opened.