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Broken & Brave: When Bad Things Happen On the Road

Broken & Brave: When Bad Things Happen On the Road

I hover over a bathroom sink in Thailand scrubbing my shoes with a sponge and cleaner that smells of cherry and disinfectant.

My sneakers were once bright and colorful—they would attract compliments and questions as to where I bought them.

I discovered them on a rainy day in Glasgow, after destroying my first set of shoes hiking Isle of Skye in Scotland. I could barely walk around the clammy, cold town as my heel throbbed in pain from a mud caked pair of low hikers I had bought for my year long trip around the world. They were the classic case of being comfortable in the store and now causing me to hobble and cringe my way through the streets with only one goal, to find new shoes.

I threw practical out the window and bought my floral patterned, Nike Pegasus sneakers with a twinge of happiness. I would be cool again, not trudging around in functional, but with flare. I knew I wouldn’t be hiking again for a while and my two week old pair of hikers went right into a garbage bin on that drizzly street.

A new bounce in my step led me on my way to the rest of my year on the road.

Now these tropical looking trainers with an array of flowers, outlined in black, have been half way around the world. I’ve stood atop cliffs, washed them in sea foam, leaped over lava, tripped over the uneven streets of Rome, and now I wear them zooming around on a motorbike on a small island in southern Thailand. As colorful as they are, they’ve also seen some darker days, as traveling constantly increases your contact with people; it also increases your chances those people will fall to error and jeopardize your sense of safety.

I wore them on a beach dripping wet in Spain and started to put my clothes on over my bathing suit because there was nowhere private to get dressed. My host told me to change on the beach, laughing that I was beautiful and who cares who sees me. “I do!” I replied with a stubborn firmness.

I wanted to shout at him though he’d never understand: Yes, I’m young and beautiful, but I can’t put it on display. I can’t be free.

To view the rest of this story, please visit where it has been originally featured on Elephant Journal.



  1. Kelly Caltabiano says


    how very scary for you. You are brave beyond words and I’m so glad that you were able to get out of there safely. Most inspiring that you did not allow this to crush your spirit. We think about you often and share your story all the time. Wishing you safe travels through the rest of your journey and hopes for a wonderful holiday season.


  2. Charlie says


    Always trust your gut and street smarts. We all have a 6th sense when it comes to judging people’s character. It’s ok to leave a situation at the expense of not being cordial to everyone. But don’t let this jade you against men, or women for that matter. The world is full great people, and of assholes. As I’m sure you can attest, the world is very wild and untamed. Keep yourself open to people, but use your judgement.

    Self defense experts talk about the different states of situational awareness. White, yellow, orange, red, gray, and black. White being totally aloof to your surroundings a like a teenager texting their bff. Yellow being a relaxed state of awareness is what most say to be in. Aware of your surroundings, but totally relaxed. As when relaxed you can take in more information around you. Here an article that talks about it:

  3. Oh, Sheri. I am so sorry this happened to you. This journey has had so many lessons that have only made you wiser and stronger than you were before. To have had such a precarious start in a country you would later have such fond memories of is a testament to your fortitude and resilience. I’m proud for you, brave friend. May the rest of your travels be safe and filled with lovely, warm and positive people. 🙂

  4. Phyllis Hartwick says

    Thanks Sheri
    Am really enjoying your travel….your mind if awesome….stay safe….

  5. Sue wood says

    So glad that you have met more good people since that horrible experience, I hope the good continues!

  6. This post rings home to me — when you travel solo, you put so much at risk. But it’s worth it, and I’m glad you were able to rise above. On a lighter side note, the composition and colors of photos are very beautiful.

    • Thanks Daphne! Yes, it is worth it. It gets more worth it as time passes and you remember all the good and less of the bad. I really appreciate your note and thanks for stopping by!

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