Packing it in
I'm leaving for my summer vacation in a week (Prague and Croatia, can't wait!) and like any normal person, I started packing a month ago. (I'm nothing if not organized.)
My excitement and enjoyment about a trip starts well before I leave. I think about where I’ll be going, what I’ll be doing, and thus, exactly what I’ll need on my upcoming adventure.
It’s not just about clothes. I scour book reviews to download my extensive summer reading list, I cruise iTunes for some new music, and I make sure my reservations, travel documents and EpiPens are all in order and up to date.
People who wait to pack until departure day leave me feeling anxious, and frankly, horrified. I’ve actually had packing dreams, where a taxi is at the door and I haven’t started gathering my things, so I throw completely inappropriate objects into my suitcase, like pots and pans and felt pens.
Not a pair of sassy silk shorts in sight. Now that is truly a nightmare.
It’s a fine balance between being prepared and upholding Rule #1. Wear everything you bring, multiple times. (Men are there to tell you how strong you are, not to help you carry your luggage.)
I calculate how many days I’ll spend at the beach, which translates into a certain number of bikinis, cover-ups, sunscreen bottles and flip-flops. City excursions lead to more slightly more complex packing puzzles – shorts, sundresses and the dreaded walking shoe.
I have walking shoes for day – usually converse runners, or flat sandals. It’s the evening “walking” shoe that leaves me perplexed. At home, this is an oxymoron. Evening shoes by definition are not walking shoes. But on vacation, and particularly in the cobblestone-strewn streets of Europe, the evening “walking” shoe is the Dark Matter of shopping: something that may or may not exist.
So…they have to be comfortable. Meandering through twisty streets in search of somewhere to eat dinner is commonplace. (I don’t make reservations. I’m nothing if not spontaneous.)
The shoes can’t have too many tight or fussy straps, which can dig into swollen summer feet. They can’t be too high, or I’ll wake up with back pain. They can’t have a stiletto heel, no matter how high, or it will get caught in said cobblestones.
Platform wedges, like my favourite raffia Jimmy Choos come close, but most such shoes are so clunky and big they take up half my suitcase. (Rule #2: leave room in your suitcase for travel purchases.)
Just as I was about to take my own advice and stick to cute embellished flat sandals like these rhinestone standbys, when my research led me to the demi-wedge. I’d never heard of such a thing. Not as bulky as a regular wedge, but with just a little bit of leg-elongating height.
Is this demi-wedge my evening “walking” shoe Holy Grail?
My dedication to shopping and product testing leaves me no choice but to head to the mall to find out. (I’m nothing if not committed to my cause!)
Update from Prague, July 1, 2011:
I went with these sandals from Stuart Weitzman. A platform wedge, tried and tested on Prague’s treacherous cobblestone streets! Though not as elegant as the average evening shoe, they’re definitely comfortable and work for both day or night.