Us ladies all love shoes, right? We all dream of Carrie Bradshaw’s walk-in wardrobe from Sex in the City? Pretty, sparkly, sexy…?

By definition, a shoe is ‘a covering for the foot, typically made of leather, having a sturdy sole and not reaching above the ankle’ (thanks Google!).

Well, I realised recently that the only ‘shoes’ I own are my free-dive fins and my trail runners. Neither of these fall into the ‘sexy shoe’ category and I find myself unsure as to whether I should be proud (in a “Screw you, you toe-strangling foot jails!” kind of way) or ashamed.

I did own a pair of wedges years ago. I bought them in England, under complete duress, for a friend’s wedding. Other than the compliments on my newly well-defined calf muscles, brought on by the need to stand on my tiptoes for nine hours, I hated them (even before I was an island girl).

These hideous foot weights travelled with me to all of my island homes (Seychelles, Mallorca and Mauritius) just in case I felt the need to torture myself again. They remained at the bottom of my North Face backpack for the entire duration… until 2 months ago, when I found them – sad and mouldy from the tropical island humidity. Despite this, I tried them on and I can honestly say that my feet looked like two potato waffles. Much to my horror, I realised my feet have become flat and wide and, well… “islandy” (this should be a real adjective).

So, needless to say, I binned them and figured that – since practically all the trash gets dumped in the ocean here in Mauritius (sad face), some turtle is totally rockin’ my gammy, rotten wedges right now. I don’t miss them, and tropical island living provides me with the perfect excuse not to have to wear others like them. Ever.

Having said all that, I get rather jealous when I see other island ladies looking damn hot in their pretty shoes. I get foot envy regularly. And those women who wear heels to the beach (yes, to the beach!): what can I say? I salute you!

I should also point out that, whilst I am now at zero in the Sexy Shoes Department, I do love a beautiful dress, some cute sandals and sparkly jewellery, and I brush my hair and put on a splash of blusher and mascara sometimes.

My ‘shoes’ might not be sexy but they are useful and I couldn’t go on my island adventures without them. Mauritius is a great place – above and below water – and there is plenty to discover here. My free-dive fins allow me to dive down as deep as I possibly can and my trail runners allow me to climb as high as the mountains will take me. And all of this can happen in just one day, so I carry both pairs of ‘shoes’ in my car. Always.

Laura (IG:SaltCoralSand)

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Laura is an international primary school teacher, originally from the landlocked Midlands region of England.

Since leaving the UK, she enjoyed 4 years living on Praslin island, Seychelles, followed by a pit-stop year in Mallorca, Spain, before moving to her current Indian Ocean rock destination, Mauritius.

Mauritius is giant in comparison to Seychelles. Even after a year back in Europe, she still finds herself feeling as though she lives in a metropolis. Of course, we islanders know this is all relative and the reality is that most of this beautiful island is far from busy. The 65km distance from north to south is really nothing.

Laura has never considered herself a hippy, but her feet don’t like shoes. Barefoot is best, but flip flops, trail running shoes, and free-dive fins are sometimes necessary. She doesn’t wear heals. Not because they aren’t pretty, but because her feet are now too islandy and she can’t squeeze them into a pair easily any more. Think Cinderella in crocs!

These seemingly fat feet take her on some pretty cool adventures though, so she won’t berate them too much. She spends most of her time on mountains or in deep water. She likes a challenge and gets a serious buzz from discovering something new. She’s met some of the most inspirational people and learnt from the best… and the worst!

As she comes toward the end of her 6th year of island living, she is feeling the need to share her tropical island girl adventures and life lessons as they continue. You can find her on Instagram @saltcoralsand.

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