I’m no hobbit. I’m not used to walking barefoot. In fact, I’ll do almost anything to avoid walking across uncomfortable surfaces while barefoot. And I have a weird thing where I can’t stand to have my feet feeling dirty. It drives me crazy. Or it used to. I’m used to it now.
Because of the amount of activity and driving we’ve had to do in the past few days, neither Scott nor I have had much time to write down the stories of our travels. After waking up in the town of 1770, we followed some hardly trodden trails to find more exciting views (Or we are “Robert Frosting this thing” as Scott would say). As an elderly couple stood at the designated lookout post, Scott and I passed them to hug rock walls near cliffs, and to climb up rocks of every color and lain at every angle. Far beneath the edges of these structures, where waves acted violently against the smaller rocks, death was super available, if either of us were into that sort of thing. To climb, our feet gripped and pushed and balanced. They were calloused by stone. They were rinsed in sand and in seawater and in sand again. My eyes told my lungs to be breathless and the rest of my body forgot about my feet.
We made it to Jubilee Pocket that evening (after making a short stop in Rockhampton, which according to the hundreds of cow statues we saw throughout the city, is the beef capital of Queensland) and went kayaking in the ocean the next day. Scott and I decided not to be bussed to Shute Harbor, so we camper vanned it down to the shore and met the rest of the tour there. We arrived early and made friends with the men who would be our kayaking guides. Mark was from New Zealand, and when Scott told him we performed comedy in the States, he immediately told us several jokes about having sex with sheep (it’s a New Zealand thing, I guess). Mick was the Australian version of what we would call a “good ol boy”—simple, sun-tanned, and strong. He liked dirty jokes, too. Befriending our guides somehow earned Scott and I individual kayaks, while everyone else on the tour had to paddle a two-person kayak. Kayaking worked out muscles I forgot I had, and placed me on island that was pretty much made of dead and broken coral. Shards of coral take the place of sand at the shore of this island, and this is where we took a break from paddling to eat and joke and climb more rocks. Coral is probably the most miserable surface I’ve ever walked across—like layers and layers of small sharp stones, like broken glass that doesn’t puncture skin. I snorkeled near the island and climbed a large, cracked rock. I ate an apple. And the rest of my body forgot about my feet.
I’ve washed certain parts of my body, but I haven’t really been able to shower since before leaving Sydney (I know, gross). The floor of our camper van is spread with sand. So my feet are never completely clean, but now I don’t think you can truly explore without getting your feet a little dirty.