Flip Flops, also known hilariously as thongs or slappies, are in my opinion the most essential part of any traveller’s backpack!
As you all know, I’m not and unfortunately will never have the insight to be a fashion blogger, but as a travel blogger I do know how to get 110% out of any item of clothing and with International Flip Flop Day coming up (20th June 2014 everybody!) I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to tell you all how much I LOVE flip flops.
I bet you never thought a flat sole & thong combination could ever induce so much love! Oh but it can.
So the story goes that “open-toe sandals”, whilst often associated with Jesus’ generation, originated way back in the time of the Egyptians and eventually came to the West in the form of flip flops after soldiers and veterans of WWII brought them back from Japan, where they were known as Zōri, to America.
I’m pretty sure that in this one instant, Americans must have been behind the times as there’s a little bit of Indian in me and Indians, at least the Anglo-Indians that I know from West London, absolutely live for flip flops. And what with the infamous link between England and India I’d bet a pretty penny that England had flip flops before America.
Confused yet? I’m currently reading Andrew Marr’s A History of the World and he talks extensively about the question of the birth of modern day homo sapiens sprouting up almost simultaneously across the globe. With talk already in this post of flip flops existing in Egypt, Japan and India before they even set foot (hahaha) in the West I can’t help but think that Andrew Marr’s history is really an analogy for flip flops.
Anyway! On to the reasons…
…6 Reasons Why No Hostel Girl Should Be Without Flip Flops!
- I have to start with hostel showers… you don’t know what irresponsible traveler has sloshed their athlete’s foot all over that floor.
- After a day of hiking around a new city on the obligatory free walking tour, swapping your boots for a pair of flip flops ignites feelings of liberation from oppression.
- Unlike trainers or heels, they NEVER smell rotten! Perfect if you’re usually too embarrassed to enter the hostel common areas without first issuing gas masks to other residents.
- No laces. No velcro. No straps. NO LACES. Therefore no swearing and disturbing fellow roommates whilst rushing for a 6am flight and simultaneously struggling with your laces/velcro/straps.
- They don’t take up any space! Flip flops are often so slim they barely add any extra weight to your carry on luggage – perfect!
- Multipurpose… In the summer I have one pair of trainers for sightseeing & 1 pair of flip flops for chilling out in the hostel AND going on hostel pub crawls! They’re usually pink so who’s to say they’re not fancy sandals! (Note, don’t try this if you are in fact not a budget traveller but instead a luxury traveller hoping to find a banker boyfriend in London’s Soho nightclubs. They won’t let you in with flip flops).
- Gandhi wore them. Do you believe travelling the world has turned you in to a selfless, free thinking individual? Put yourself in his shoes & re-evaluate.
Talking of Gandhi…
Waking up with a hangover is often accompanied by a brief, futile attempt to croak out a few words before a heavy sigh, a shake of the head, and the exasperated, yet still croaky, exhalation of the following phrase: my mouth is drier than Gandhi’s Flip Flop.
I first heard this expression in my first year of University from a guy who I’m still convinced wore flip flops more than Gandhi ever did (Jack, you know it was your most overused phrase) but as it turns out the phrase wasn’t unique to Sussex campus as whilst researching this post (did you really think I already knew about the history of flip flops?) I came across a modern flip flop brand and wanted to share their story.
No, it’s not Havaianas.
Introducing: Gandys Flip Flops
As it turns out, when you type International Flip Flop Day in to Google, Gandys Flip Flops is the top result! as it happens there is a very good reason for this.
Gandys isn’t just any old flip flop company. Founders and brothers, Rob and Paul Gandy ensure that the production of their flip flops is an ethical process in which factory workers are not only treated well but are also included in the knowledge that their hard work will benefit others less fortunate.
Those less fortunate are orphans in India and Sri Lanka. 10% of the company’s profits are directed to the Gandys Foundation which helps build children’s homes in these countries, with a vision to help orphans worldwide in the future. Understanding of the lives of these orphans initially comes from time the brothers spent volunteering in India and Sri Lanka when Rob and Paul were just 13 and 11 years old. Their parents, who had taken them from school to show them the world, died in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Sri Lanka after ensuring the safety of their four children. Poignantly, the charitable work that Rob and Paul Gandy achieve through Gandys Flip Flops has the hashtag #OrphansForOrphans.
In case you were interested, the flip flops are also FABULOUS. I’ve just ordered myself the Originals – Bali Black. Size 5/6, in case you were wondering. Because let’s face, a hostel girl can never have too many flip flops.
Click the photos to see the online store:
So what do you think- Do you agree with me that flip flops are the best thing since sliced bread?! Let me know in the comments or twitter!
Lots of love,