|Barefoot on Bruny Is, Tasmania
Where I live, the passing seasons are marked by blooming jacarandas, autumnal offshore winds, the winter whale migration. Numbers can help: I spent two and a half months away and three months not surfing (after a knee injury), had 50 stories published, wrote 15 blog posts.
Lately I've realised there's one constant however (well, two) whatever happens and wherever I go: my feet.
But I've been going barefoot when I travel too.
I've heard that taking off your shoes and walking on grass is a good remedy for jetlag when you arrive at your destination (possibly just because it gets you outside into natural light).
Bare feet are infinitely practical: all-terrain, weatherproof and amphibious. They're cool in summer; in winter I swaddle mine in sheepskin (ugg boots, worn with shorts - it's a north coast thing).
|Barefoot in the Maldives (last year)
Now I seem to have developed a new habit: taking pictures of my feet in various locations - like the globetrotting garden gnome that sent selfies back to its owners.
My feet are my constant companions after all (see what happens when you travel solo too much?).
So I'm looking back at this year by looking down. These are a few of my barefoot highlights of 2016 (with links to my stories about them):
|Barefoot in the Amazon with
citronella anti-malarial anket
Sometimes my bare feet were clad in hiking boots (walking the secret mountains of the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia) or in fins (while snorkelling with sharks, turtles, manta rays and elusive humpback whales on Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia).
|Atlantis Pool in the Kimberley
I had both at Bruny Island in Tasmania too, last month (see pic at top): showering in a forest of the tallest trees I've seen in a long time then relaxing barefoot in my tent after walking all day.
|Bare-pawed cat in Lima, Peru
And looked down during an Art Deco walking tour of gorgeously retro South Beach, Miami, just in time to see some footpath graffiti (see below).
|Footpath wisdom, Miami
One of the most memorable was a lonely winter's Sunday when I had a small adventure, crossing the Richmond River by car ferry to South Ballina and a neverending beach I'd never set foot on.
|South Ballina blues
My new year's resolution for 2017? To have more barefoot time, at home and away, and to remember my favourite Kahlil Gibran quote: "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
Happy barefoot new year, everyone.