Trail Blazers

June 4, 2012

My husband and I are ditching our jobs and taking a year off to travel through Southeast Asia. It will be hot, messy and we’ll be on our feet all day. I will die if I am forced to wear Keens, Chacos or other clunky, sport sandals. Where are the cute, supportive — dare-I-dream? gladiator-y — sandals for the REI-phobe packing heels in her backpack? — Kat

Manolo says, frankly, the Manolo does not fully understand the allure of the backpack travel.

“But, Manolo,” say the friends of the Manolo, “it is romantic and liberating. You can go where you want, when you want.” To which the Manolo replies, “Yes, when you backpack you are free to travel like the wind, weighed down by nothing more than the 90 pounds of dirty laundry you are carrying on your back.”

Oh, how the Manolo wishes for the return of the civilized travel, when the people of gentle breeding were able to pack up several dozen changes of clothing, top hats, kid gloves and spats into the steamer trunk.

Later, when we reached our destination, we would “rough it” by changing into our safari clothes while the native bearers carried the trunks to our first campsite, where the gin and tonics would be awaiting our arrival. Now, instead of traveling like civilized people in barbarian lands, we travel like barbarians in civilized places.

Here is the Cole Haan Air Marcella Flat Sandal ($118, Zappos.com), a gladiator with comfort in mind.

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