If there's one photo that sums up the difference in our travel styles, it's this. We're on a three-month extended stay in Thailand, in the sleepy little border town of Ranong. The nightlight is non-existent. The most expensive restaurant in town has street-side, uncovered seating. We've no jobs to dress for. This is Thailand.
And because of that, I've only worn one pair of shoes for the entirety of our visit. My Chaco's are perfectly suitable to any and every situation I'll encounter during this stay in Thailand. Walking on the beach, hiking up waterfalls, walking around town, showing up at the weekly Ranong Throng gatherings, riding the scooter... They. Are. Perfect.
Contrast that to the pile of shoes on the right. All of these shoes (and another pair sneakers -- SNEAKERS, fer chrissake!) are part of My Lovely Wife's normal footwear regiment. The three pairs of flip-flops? All bought while we've been in Thailand. One pair of cheap, rubberized that get worn most of the time, a nice pair (because you never know when you'll need a nice pair of flip-flops in Thailand oh-wait-yes-you-do-the-answer-is-never) from TravelSmith*. And the woven pair from a street market, but they can't be worn when the ground is wet. (Did I mention this is the rainy season?)
The strappy-pair have been largely abandoned. Shoes are commonly removed before stepping into places of business, which makes flip-flops so appealing. Strappy-pairs? Less so. The water-ready pair in the middle have suffered a similar fate, as they don't quite have the grip she'd hoped and have the nasty habit of trapping rocks and sand between the foot and shoe. Ouch.
If I get a rock wedged under my foot, a quick pause-and-shake takes care of the problem. Unless I'm doing some hard-core hiking, the straps on my shoes stay loose so I can slip them off at will, no bending or unstrapping. And for the love of pad thai, I can wear them when the f-ing ground is wet. Which is always!
[sigh] But I love her. And if this is as bad it gets after nearly seven months of full-time travel around the world together, I'll take it.
* - I'll again point out that Travelsmith is a supporter of ours, and this isn't an affiliate link like the one to the Chaco store on Amazon.