The End Of An Era

When you are a perpetual traveler, you don’t have as many possessions as a normal person. And the things that you do have, well, you get kind of attached to them.

That’s what happened to Jared and his Guinness thongs.

Bloomington, Indiana, IU
Jared and the thongs’ first outing together at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Shoot. I forget that most of my readers are American, so I’d better clear that up.

That’s what happened to Jared and his Guinness flip-flops.

Jared was playing with my friend’s son during our first visit to Indiana in 2009, when his thong gave out.

“Hang on,” said Zach. “I’ve got a new pair that are too small for me.”

Like a weird, less-interesting version of Cinderella, they fit Jared perfectly, and a beautiful relationship was born.

Brighton Beach, England
Throwing pebbles at me on England’s Brighton Beach. Wasn’t funny then, isn’t funny now.

They didn’t leave his feet for the rest of the trip, and obviously came back to England with us. Jared’s kind of picky about his thongs (wide foot, plus he doesn’t like the rubber straps because they dig in. What a princess.), so I was happy that replacing the old ones had been so easy.

Istanbul, Turkey
Waiting with the thongs that time the tour company forgot to pick us up for our Gallipoli tour in Turkey.

Jared and the thongs traveled to five continents: North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. They even visited the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, where he hoped to find a spare pair, should something ever happen to them.

No thongs to be seen. Actually, I think they had the other kind of thongs, but that’s not quite what he was after.

Though sometimes I think maybe it should have been:

Jared moons the camera in Ireland
Jared and the thongs light up the Irish countryside. What a pair.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Unfortunately, Jared also has a relationship with that singlet. It is even older and sturdier than the thongs. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2010.

They continued unscathed to Australia, up to Thailand, then back to America before heading to South Korea in 2010. Even though Asians don’t tend to wear thongs very frequently, that didn’t slow things down.

Jared dressed as Kim SatGat
Sadly, the thongs didn’t complement every outift. With a terrified student in Kim Satgat Valley, Korea.

By now the thongs were nearly two years old, and had seen more countries than most humans do in a lifetime. They were battered, but showed no sign of surrender.

Crossing the Vietnam-Cambodia border.
The thongs reach Southeast Asia and effortlessly cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border.
At a convent in Hong Kong
Celebrating the 2011 Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.
Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
Nothing says ‘communist’ like a raised fist, a jacket worn like a cape, and a pair of thongs.

Then, in Mongolia, disaster struck.

The strap came out of one side on the right shoe. Out in the Mongolian steppes, replacement thongs are hard to come by. Luckily, these were the Mongolian steppes, full of resourceful people like our driver. Within minutes, he had sewn up the thong with a needle and a length of twine, procured from the bowels of the van.

Impressing the children of central Mongolia with his sense of style.

The thongs were back in the game.

Travel resumed throughout Asia, including India, a place where you’d really be better off to avoid wearing thongs. Even if you’re wary of every step, you’re liable to step in something unpleasant.

Indian Cows
A nightly foot wash became a ritual while we traveled India.

They had taken a beating. They had slogged across rough terrain in 18 countries and were on track to tick Japan and South America off of their bucket list.

And then, on Sunday, we walked to Cheongryeongpo, where the young King Danjong was exiled to almost 600 years ago. It was a sweltering hot day, but we’d decided to take the 2 kilometer journey by foot.

Cheongryeongpo, Yeongwol, South Korea
Scene of the thongs’ last stand.

While picking across the stony shores of the mini-peninsula, Jared let out a cry.

“Blowout,” he said sadly. “I think that’s the end.”

In what must be the leading cause of death for thongs everywhere, the center plug had come out completely, with no hope of restoration. Jared walked most of the way back barefoot, dangling the busted thongs from his hand.

Thong blowout
The final goodbye, before unceremoniously shoving them into someone else’s trash.

When we got back to the apartment, he stuffed them into a garbage bag on the curb.

They’d had a good run.

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  1. Oh my god. I actually feel really sad reading this! Poor Jared. I hope he can move on and one day form as strong a relationship with another pair of ‘thongs’. My favourite line: ‘In what must be the leading cause of death for thongs everywhere, the center plug had come out completely’. Haha. I’ve lost a few to center plug death in my time.

    1. Ha ha, don’t be sad! Though in re-reading the post, I feel like I wrote myself out of it, as if Jared and his trusty thongs were on a trip around the world on their own. And when I think about my pink havianas experiencing plug death (as they surely will soon enough), it does make me a little nostalgic!

  2. He should’ve saved one and made something out of it! A bracelet? A coozie? And by the way, what’s a singlet? I think that’s the name of the leotard that wrestlers wear but I figure you meant something else. I hope! Lol

    1. Definitely a coozie. Though I guess that’s kind of gross…but what nice memories. A singlet is what we would call a tank top. Dammit. My vocabulary has been so bastardized.

  3. Hahaha this post was so hilarious while being serious(ish). The story of a man and his flip-flops…my favorite line: “What a princess.” Love it!

    1. Jared didn’t love the princess line quite so much…can’t imagine why! In fact, I think his words were, “I’m kind of taking a beating in this post & the comments.” Oh, the perils of being in a relationship with a blogger.

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