This episode’s a bit more thoughtful – I befriend the security guard hired to accompany us in the Simien Mountains, and in the end I exchange my shoes with his. The Simien mountains was a beautiful trek, with beautiful vistas, Gelada monkeys, and sweeping panoramas, but one of the my biggest takeaway experiences was meeting Amar. We bonded over the course of the trek, before he grew comfortable enough to ask for my worn shoes, which was not a problem.
I continued for another week in Gondar and Lalibela wearing his shoes. Although it wasn’t a grand experiment by any means, wearing his worn out shoes was a constant gratitude reminder.
Sometimes it’s easy to get frustrated when we’re traveling – we get lost, hungry, there are annoying touts, scammers, places are dirty. But this is the life that most of the world has to deal with, and it’s important to remember that it’s a privilege for us to be there and we have grateful for everything we have, no matter how little.