2019 was a good year. I did a lot of traveling for work, and I finally “sort-of” became used to flying. I’ve always hated flying, I work myself up into a great big ball of anxiety. I dread the drive to the airport, the lines through security, the waiting to board the plane. The uncomfortable seats. The less than considerate fellow passengers. I traveled a lot in 2019. I did my first Adventures by Disney trip (Arizona & Utah). I flew to Seattle to explore the city before my second Alaskan cruise. I went to Disney World & Universal countless times. I flew to Nassau, then took my first propeller plane to Exuma. I flew to New York for my first Canadian cruise with Princess Cruises. I was on the Inaugural sailing of the Norwegian Encore. I sailed my first back-to-back cruise, which was also my first solo cruise. I did a lot of traveling. I did a lot of flying. I was fortunate and blessed. 2019 was a good year for me!
Enter the pandemic. Life changed. All of a sudden, I was basically out of work (although I never stopped working for my clients, I was, however, stopped from being paid for said work). Cancelling trips, re-scheduling trips, canceling re-scheduled trips, placing insurance policies on hold, all of which had to be done time and time again, had no commissions for Kenneth. Booking new trips to then cancel or reschedule. It is absolutely part of the job, and I absolutely LOVE my job. Just not so much love for my job in 2020. It’s been dis-heartening. Depressing. Anxiety-ridden. Worrisome. Hopeful, then hopeless, followed by small glimmers of hope. I’m expecting travel & cruising to return to normal sooner rather than later now. I hope I’m right, as I cannot wait to pack my bags again for another adventure.
So, that’s a rather long introduction for a blog about what’s in my suitcase; which for today, the subject will be shoes. Lol. Yes, shoes. It’s the first time I’ve mentioned shoes in any blog I’ve written. I felt I needed to give a bit of backstory as to why I, as a travel agent, am writing about shoes. I travel a lot, obviously. And, since I traveled so much in 2019 (I had a trip every 5 weeks or so for the year) I had to streamline what I packed, as I was a chronic over-packer. Nearing the end of 2019, I began to get serious on what I packed for trips. I especially needed some things that made me comfortable while I traveled. I’m planning on visiting Asia & Australia in the future, and I shudder to think how I’ll have to endure those flights to the other side of the world. But, I love visiting new places, and since my Bucket List continues to grow, my need to visit new places outweighs my anxiety of flying to actually get there.
During this down time, when we really didn’t leave the house except for doctor visits or grocery store runs, I watched a lot of YouTube. I found people’s channels that travel basically year round, and I watched their adventures, taking notes of their tips, tricks and travel advice. One of the couples I watch mentioned their travel shoes and I listened. I began doing a bit of research on the shoes they mentioned. I had never heard of Allbirds before.
From what I read and the videos I watched, they were “the most comfortable shoes” these people had ever worn. I was doubtful, and assumed that Allbirds had given them shoes in exchange for glowingly positive reviews. They are, for me, expensive shoes. They start out at $95. I went to their website, and saw that they offer a generous return policy, and thought I should at least give them a try.
About a week later they arrived. I ordered the Wool Runner Mizzles in natural grey. The Mizzles are water repellent, and I thought that would be a good feature to have in a travel shoe. I tried them on, and the reviews were dead on. They are very comfortable and extremely light weight. The best way to describe these shoes for me, is that it’s like wearing socks that offer support.
What I really like about these shoes is that I can use them for walking shoes, but I could also wear them for business casual if I’m traveling for work and need shoes that aren’t my usual New Balance walking shoes, which I usually wore every day. So, with this one purchase, I’ve eliminated the need to pack an extra pair of dressier shoes, and will now not have to bring those comparatively heavy New Balance walking shoes.
I have now found my “traveling shoes”. These shoes are honestly the most comfortable I’ve worn. I’ve used them for walking and just general every day use. While writing this article, I realized that since my grey Mizzles showed up via FedEx, I haven’t even put on my New Balance. Not once. I have completely switched to wearing just my Allbirds now. During January 2021, I rode to Hilton Head Island, SC with my parents from Vero Beach, Fl. Which is about 400 miles. Since I’ve been having issues with my eyes (blog post coming about that…I’ve now had three surgeries since coming back from Hilton Head), I wasn’t able to drive, so I rode in the backseat. Usually, on a long drive, the first thing I do is take off my shoes. With my Allbirds, I didn’t even notice I had them on, and wore them the entire time while I was in the car. With any other shoe, that wouldn’t have happened.
Now, since we are still in quarantine (my parents have just finished their second vaccination shot for Covid-19) I haven’t been to a theme park yet, to truly test them out. But given that they’re the only shoes I’ve worn since the beginning of October, I can’t imagine that they won’t pass the Epcot test of comfort. These are now my go-to shoes for travel.
Allbirds are extremely lightweight, and can fold down to pack easily. I absolutely love them. And, since I bought my first pair in October, I have now purchased three more pair. I’ve never been so happy with shoes.
In future blogs, I’ll write about what else is in my suitcase. From packing cubes (yes they are also wonderful!) to Tums, I’ll let you know what I don’t leave at the house while I’m traveling. Allbirds did not support this blog entry in any way. Besides from buying four pairs of their shoes and 9 pairs of their socks (which are AMAZING), Allbirds has no idea who I am. Check out their site, as they offer a range of colors, some of which have limited availability. I like that they offer their shoes in a wide variety of colors.
Also, if you download their app, you can virtually “try on” some of their shoes. It lets you see their shoes on your feet. Which may allow you to step out of your comfort zone and purchase a color that you would normally NEVER purchase. Like pink. Well, technically Allbirds call this limited edition color “Malibu”, but they’re pink shoes. And I love them. Amazing, what technology can do!
I can’t wait to get on an airplane again. I’m ready to go somewhere, anywhere!! And, when that time comes (soon, I hope!) I’ll be wearing my Allbirds while I’m walking down that aisle, knowing that at least my feet will be comfortable for the duration of the flight!