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Fit for adventure

Nicole McAlee | Friday, April 19, 2013

I got a lot of great Christmas gifts. The best thing, obviously, was getting to spend a whole month at home with my family, basking in the Yuletide glow and eating copious amounts of sweets. But my favorite Christmas gift, as in box-under-the-Christmas-tree gift, was not the ticket to see “Newsies” on Broadway (a guilty pleasure I do not have the inner strength to deny), the collection of creatively patterned socks, or the stockpile of Orbit gum that could sustain a small army.
No, my favorite Christmas gift was a pair of sandals.
Inspired by my roommate, who wears Birkenstocks every day in every season, I asked my parents for a pair of Chaco sandals. This summer, I plan to have adventures, and I need a sensible pair of shoes to keep up. Chaco’s tagline, after all, is “Fit for Adventure.”
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a pair of Chacos, but let me tell you this: They’re no Louboutins. Mine are black, vaguely orthopedic-looking and consist mainly of thick straps that crisscross over my foot and around my big toe.
Even so, I was sold after perusing Pinterest and seeing the adorable foot-tans known as “Chaco tans” that people get after wearing their Chacos every day for a whole summer. There’s just something so old-fashioned – dare I say romantic? – about wearing the same shoes so often their mark is left long after summer is over. Nevermind that I turn an exquisite shade of beet after a day in the sun. These shoes and I, we’re going to have adventures, dadgummit!
Whenever I put on my Chacos, “We’re Going to Be Friends” by the White Stripes inexplicably plays in the background. (Disclaimer: This doesn’t actually happen. I think it’s just my penchant for pretending my life is a movie with a great soundtrack. At least, I’m pretty sure.)
I imagine my Chacos and I riding my bike around the sandy paradise of Sea Isle City, New Jersey, where I’ve spent every summer since birth. (I know it’s hard sometimes to believe paradise exists, and even harder to believe that it’s in New Jersey, but you have to visit to know what I mean.) We’re going to spend three glorious weeks back at Notre Dame, where I’ll be working as a resident counselor in the Summer Scholars program. We’ll spend long, sunny afternoons wandering through Rittenhouse Square, South Street and the Philadelphia Art Museum. Hopefully, we’ll take some great day trips to New York City and Hersheypark.
Will my summer really be this exciting? Excitement is in the eye of the beholder. But my Chacos and I, well, we’re fit for adventure, and we’re going to be ready for whatever summer does bring.

Contact Nicole McAlee at nmcalee@nd.edu
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.