Somewhere in july, finally time had come to walk on my feet instead of shoes or whatever. The first steps felt uncomfortable, but I got used to it quickly. I didn't take much care of my feet, never washed them, and got involved in building a huge wooden tower, which caused several splinters to enter my feet. Strange as it may seem they hardly hurt, until my girlfriend at the time washed my feet with hot water. Under the dirt several little wounds became visible, one of them was even rather deep. Unfortunately the water was too hot. I had to wear shoes in order to protect the blisters on my feet.
I wore shoes until 1st week of may. Too long! This time I washed my feet daily, and checked for splinters frequently. And I didn't build another wooden tower. Things worked out even better than I expected. I didn't have a single wound or blister during the whole year! I enjoyed my 'free feet' too much to 'shoe' them, but eventually the temperature left me no choice. Even though I was rather stubborn. When I finally put on shoes, on the 22nd of december, the first official(!) ice skating tourney in the Netherlands was already being held. I also found out that the reaction from other people, especially strangers, was a lot less positive than in summer. All those worried faces...
I had learned my lesson. When winter arrived, I didn't play tough, but simply put on shoes. This took place in november.
I was able to unshoe my feet quite early
this year. During the last 2 weeks of januari and the first week of februari,
usually the coldest time of the year, temperature allowed me to walk
When I 'started', back in 1999, I wondered if people would close the door on me. Would I still be able to go shopping where I was used to? Luckily this indeed happened to be the case. Only once I was refused to enter. In the winter of 2000/2001, in some tourist shop at the Damrak, Amsterdam. Not bad, only once in 3 years! But then, in august, I visited Coffeeshop 'the Doors'
Luckily winter arrived late this year. I was able to go barefeet until 6 december.
Why do you walk barefeet?
I have been asked this question many times of course. Since this isn't a yes/no question, there is room for a great variety of answers, which depend on my mood.
Aren't you afraid to step into glass?
When a stranger asks me why I go barefoot, this usually is his next question. Even people who know me, and are already used to my bare feet, often attend me on glass laying around. Luckily I always realize that their intention is good.
I do step into glass now and then, but a piece of glass doesn't penetrate the callus immediately. All I have to do is pull the glass out. Otherwise it will be pushed in deeper on every step.
In june 2002, I stepped into a develish sharp long thin piece of glass that penetrated my left foot rather deep. The wound bleeded and hurted for over a month. Several times I delibaretaly forced the wound open because I was worried that there was still a small piece of glass in there causing the pain. 'There you go! That's what you get from walking barefeet!' No! This happened at HOME! So it could have happened to everybody. 'No', said Titia, 'Not everyone has glass laying around on the floor at home!'
Aren't you cold?
Naturally this question is strongly connected to the time of the year, and so is my answer.
You must have a lot of callus?
I always feel that this question is wrong. Callus is not the point, there's a lot more to walking barefeet than simply growing more callus.
These 4 cover most questions related to my feet.
RAQ (Rarely asked questions):
What about dog heaps?
The Memorable Day was in august 1999. I had been walking barefeet for only a month, when I couldn't resist IT anymore. In the Vondelpark I was searching for the right one. That one is too dry! That one's too small! At last, I found the One. On the grass, close to the water. Big, fresh and shiny. Twinkling in the rain. Waiting for me, and for no one but me. I lifted my right foot, spread my toes and took a deep breath. SPLASH!!! Up it came, between my toes, and I heard a choir of angels singing. Blessed and enlighted I rubbed my foot in firmly.
What about burning sigarette ends?
This is a smart question. Sigarette ends are indeed a lot more painful than glass. Once I even stepped on a burning cigar end, which I dropped myself.
Do you wash your feet before you go to bed?