Last night, I went to Pecha Kucha Vancouver #10, the infamous 20×20 event, and it was some kind of awesome, but also slightly disturbing (for two completely reasons – thank god!).

1. THE AWESOME

Besides the gawking at the architecture of Bing Thom and Gair Williamson (check out the before/after pics of the Keefer – wowza!), howling at the antics of the one and only Uncle Weed, and amazement at the pics of the smokin’ 67-year old Martha Sturdy as she built her cross-country horse trail with her chainsaw, rubber boots and tractor, the special moment of the night and the one who stole the stage for moi was a member of the fab Corker crew.

Miss Steph Corker Irwin is the Founder of Bliss for NoMoSolo and the Recruiting Manager at lululemon and she’s a bundle full of energy and gratitude. Although most of our encounters have been far too brief, I’ve had the pleasure to get know Miss Steph Corker Irwin mainly through her Twitter and blog, and I highly recommend checking her out if you ever need a daily dose of bliss and some kick-in-the-butt inspiration.

Last night, she rocked the stage (as expected!), speaking straight from that glowing heart of hers of lessons learned and wisdom shared from her year of coming alive. Everyone in that theatre soaked her right up, and heard her message loud and clear. Thank you for being such a genuine and lovely bright light at PK last night Miss Steph. Check her out!


2. MY NIGHT SANS SHOES

Yup, that’s me. On Granville Street. In bare feet.

No, I haven’t gone the way of a hippy. It was my One Night Without Shoes.

One of my fave social businesses is TOMS Shoes, and their mission is simple: One-for-One. You buy a pair of shoes, and they give a pair to a kid without shoes.

TOMS hosted a global day sans shoes for people to experience a life without shoes first-hand and to help spread awareness of the impact a simple pair of shoes can bring to a child’s life.

Why?

Because many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk because…

  • A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.
  • Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.
  • Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.       {Via TOMS.com}

So I decided that I would kick my kicks for the night. I would walk from wherever my car was parked, to the venue, keep the tootsies bare while I was at the event, and then back to my car. I had thought what better place to give it a shot than at an event with 1200 people in downtown Vancouver, right? Well, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be…

First of all, the event was at Vogue Theatre on Granville Street and if you’ve ever walked down Granville, you know that that is probably the last place that you’d EVER want to go walking barefoot. The cement was FREEZING. I was dodging broken glass and tiny puddles of spit (gross, I know).  I don’t even want to think of the types of fluids that have been on that street (ever grosser, I know!), hence why I’m very thankful I didn’t have or get any cuts or scrapes.

Then when I got to the venue, I didn’t have my ticket printed so I had to go wait in the will-call line. Just 10 more minutes that I didn’t want to be spending on Granville Street.

I got my ticket, arrived at the door, and the manager actually wasn’t going to let me in without shoes. After some explaining and convincing (and maybe a little begging and whining too), he allowed me in with the contingency that I wouldn’t go into the bathroom at any time (liability issues) and that I’d be kicked out if an inspector showed up. Then while inside, I welcomed the stares galore, and I was always wondering what was on the floor or whether someone’s heel might find my little toe.

I only walked up and down one block from my car to the venue and then all around the venue, but it was disturbing enough for the night. I couldn’t imagine having those fears or challenges every day… because of shoes!

I wish I could say I had a more positive experience, but it just goes to prove that life without shoes is not at all easy. I do love TOMS shoes and their One for One model though, so please go check them out if you don’t know about them already. The date for next year’s One Day Without Shoes is yet to be set, but I hope you’ll join me in the next barefoot excursion.

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