Tag Archives: barefoot lifestyle

Four Years Barefoot…

Barefoot Justine's birthday bare feet 2016

Barefoot Justine’s birthday bare feet 2016

Yep, it’s rolled around again! That time of year (my birthday, Jan. 14th) when I reflect on what it means to have successfully navigated another year wholly and purely barefoot.

Well, to start, WOW!

It’s cold, as usual on my birthday, so I got dressed this morning in a pair of favorite bell bottoms, an undershirt and big cozy blue sweater covered in shiny stars. I, of course, wear my usual array of baubles, bells and bangles, and of course necklaces with Ganesh and Shiva on them, but also, around my ankles, anklets, and a pair of leg warmers, which do a lot to keep my feet warm. Lately at night it has gotten a little below freezing, but not much colder than the fifties during the day, days that are easier by far on bare feet than the winters I left in Ohio. Though I still hate the cold with as much weather-resentment as I dare hold on to now that I am in Florida. I was thankful that this is about as bad as it gets as I stepped out onto the cold bricks towards my car.

My first stop, the local Indian restaurant, the buffet has become an almost daily part of my diet. I have been learning to speak Hindi, so I start off my day chatting in Hindi with one of the waiters, who has taken it upon himself to let me practice my sloppy Hindi on him. Funny, a couple years back I was told customers had been complaining about my bare feet… moronic customers who not only cannot mind their own business, but are wholly ignorant of the laws. It took some convincing, but they eventually welcomed me back, and I have become more than a regular, a friend. I’m proud to say I have been close to many of the Indians who work there, and that we have not only enjoyed hanging out together, but have helped each other out quite a lot. This place is warm to me, friendly, and altogether my favorite place in Gainesville, apart from my home and SAW.

It’s cold in my little studio in the back of SAW (the comics school where I work), but my space heater makes it cozy within minutes, which is good as I have a lot of work to do. Soon my feet are warm and I am deep into the little Wind In the Willows and Winnie the Pooh type world I am creating for a proposed animation project that will help educate people, especially children, about the Florida Springs and our water. It’s a project that excites me, not merely because of the lovely theme and characters I am creating, but because it will get me in good graces with prominent environmentalists, good people, real good people. I am establishing strong and deep roots here, which I want, as this is the place I chose to call my home. This place, this town, this school, my room, are the only places I have ever chosen as my home. Finally, I am settling down.

All day students are wishing me a happy birthday as I ramble about the school, the chilly linoleum underfoot. It’s essential, to any hardcore barefooter, to find a job that will allow us to be authentic, so essential to me as I have designed my life around being barefoot, and I have been now, for far more than the last 4 years in which I really started counting. In fact, in the Hindu sense, in this manifestation, I have never worn shoes, nor am I merely a person who does not wear shoes, I am barefoot, and as we all learned in “Barfuss,” there is a difference.

Finally, the deadline met, I took off towards the bookstore to get a diary for my Hindi lessons, as I have been being tutored in Hindi and Urdu. As seems to happen more often than not these days, people don’t hassle me for being barefoot, perhaps it’s because I look them in the eye. After handling every diary and journal in two stores, the diary I chose had a Kay Nielsen cover.

Javed called as I was shopping (my student, Hindi tutor, and friend) to ask if I wanted to go out for ice cream for my birthday, but in classic Javed fashion, there were complications… fortunately, also in classic Javed fashion, the complications led to a better plan: to go shopping, make a spaghetti dinner, get tea for chai (made from scratch, of course), get cake, and watch a Bollywood movie. I stood in the kitchen and put together the meal, and then we enjoyed “Dedh Ishqiya…” stupendous film, by the way. And all in all, a fine birthday, as I had feared I was going to be spending it cakeless and alone.

Bollywood has become my latest passion. I’ve not only been going to a local theater here in town that actually runs Bollywood films, but I’ve been buying DVD’s as well. Dedh Ishqiya, which Javed and I just watched, what a film, I’d like to talk about it for a moment. On the surface the movie seems to be about a pair of criminals and conmen (very much in the style of Firefly), but soon it takes some turns and becomes a movie about women seeking release, and particularly about one woman seeking both a release and a return to who she is and not who the culture might force her to be. Madhuri Dixit is in the film, one of Bollywood’s best, an actress and dancer full of finesse and emotion. She is aging delightfully, though hardly old. Bollywood, a little like Hollywood, seems to prefer it’s women super young, so such a juicy role for Madhuri was a real delight. In the film she has become a rather formal aristocrat, rather like aging actresses become, but there is more to her. Due to her romantic interest, she is encouraged to dance… and what a glorious moment it is to see Madhuri being who she still is… a dancer, a beautiful woman! The camera zooms in close on her silky bare feet as she repeats the exact moves we had all seen in a famous dance scene from one of her earlier films… what a triumph! Madhuri’s character wants this, she wants out of this formal life, and wants to run free and return to her dancing, to her sense of self and not the sense of self derived from societies expectations that aging actors and artists become elderly statesmen. It was inspiring, especially in light of my own reflections on being a year older. In the end the film seemed rather like a tribute, a poem to Madhuri Dixit. My heart soared for her.

Barefoot Justine's birthday bare feet 2016

Barefoot Justine’s birthday bare feet 2016

So, 4 years barefoot. What does that mean? The same thing it means every year, that it’s possible to live barefoot, and there is no need to entertain the thought of conforming or submitting. It means we can live the life we create if we are bold enough to commit to it, if we are strong enough to say “NO” time and again to those who would deprive us of our true selves. I even navigated a situation with a surgeon who I thought was really going to give me a run for my money on this account, but he seems to have backed off. Yes, gang, I went through a surgery this year (involving my face.. it was a nightmare), and all barefoot. I didn’t think I was going to pull all that off, but did. When the surgeon gave me a hard time about it, I simply told him that I had survived cancer in Korea, and a near-drowning in Thailand, and that I had promised myself ever since that I would not conform or submit ever again… I WILL see my vision of my life through, and in that vision I am barefoot. He looked like he wanted to stand his ground, but he backed off, and seems rather content teasing me about it instead. Perhaps I have won him over. Perhaps he is wise as well as a gifted surgeon.

“Solitude scares me. It makes me think about love, death, and war. I need distraction from anxious, black thoughts.”
Brigitte Bardot

Why is it so important that I stay barefoot? There are many reasons, the main one simply being because it is important to me, and that is all the reason I really need. There are also reasonable explanations, and one being that I have a very busy mind, one that tends to chase rabbits into some pretty dark holes, but being barefoot grounds me, keeps my mind on the eternal now. When I am barefoot a part of me is experiencing the sensuality of the world, of my flesh, and of my very being, and all of that helps keep me out of my head… connected to life, to where the real stories are being told. My head is full of illusions, my feet forever in touch with life and living!

What were the highlights this year? I guess getting away with the surgery situation… I thought I had been up against my Waterloo on that one, especially when I had to enter that hospital. Ultimately that one won battle really only convinced me that I need have no fear that anyone can force me to do anything no matter the situation. The problem is, the machine is BIG, you know the machine, the one that tries to suck everyone into its monolithic vision of how things must be, the “THOU SHALTS” and “THOU SHALT NOTS” that are as set in stone as the tablets Moses brought down from the mountain, those blockages in people’s minds that convince them that this or that may not or cannot be done. The constructs of the culture… the bullshit and madness everyone else calls normalcy and reality, which I have learned is nothing more than a logjam of bullshit everyone protects as if civilization itself depends upon it. Hey, guys, break that logjam loose and watch how much more freely the water flows! But no, we are all too afraid that free flowing water will bury our constructs under a flood, a dangerous flood of new ideas and sensual experiences. We are all too afraid of not being protected from ourselves, from true freedom. Well I can tell you, I do not need the constructs of the culture protecting me, I need it to get the fuck out of my way.

But that is the culture’s job, isn’t it, to civilize the wild things… the wild women? Being barefoot is wild, and threatening to those who need society to create and demand submission to its constructs.

What else have I done? I had a nice trip to the Hindu Temple in Orlando. This was another of those lone roadtrips where I hopped barefoot into a car and took off. While the temple itself was great, and while it was magnificent to see Lord Ganesh in all his glory again, the rest of the experience was not so grand, still, barefoot roadtrips are fab. I had another one of those about a month back when I got into the car to go to Jacksonville with some friends (see more on that in a post I put up a few weeks ago).

I also attended the ballet I worked on. That was quite a delight, getting myself all dressed up and sitting in such a cultural moment stoned and barefoot… what a joy! Earlier this year I attended a similar event, a play, and noticed one woman scandalized, she stared at my feet then scurried off to get her husband so she could point to me and my feet… I mean, how weird is that? It’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is… pretty damn weird.

I think the big lesson this year was partially realized just last night, right on my birthday as we were watching our latest Bollywood movie, as my hand slid down over my toes, and as I enjoyed the sensuality of the feel of my own silky topsides and the warm fleshy underside of my toes, as well as the leathery flesh on my soles. This physical body can be a source of pleasure, a source of connection to this experience of being here now, that of being alive. It seems I sometimes forget that, sometimes take it all too much for granted. And in the end, isn’t that what being barefoot is all about? Being connected to my physicality, being sensually aware? I suppose this is a rather long-winded way of saying that being barefoot is the heartbeat of my own hedonism, and that sometimes I take it for granted. That’s really the thing, isn’t it… to learn not to take things for granted, to keep our favorite experiences fresh. And it’s not easy, keeping our joys fresh and our appreciation for them ever-flowing. It’s very easy to forget.

Barefoot Justine's feet at work in her studio in Florida.

Barefoot Justine’s feet at work in her studio in Florida.

I woke up this morning, the day after my birthday, and realized I still had a few things to say about this, so for a while I wrote a little of what you read above, all the while, thanks to the magic of DVD’s, Bardot was being her fabulous wild barefoot self in “And God Created Woman,” and I began to consider how easy it is to lose track of why I do this. The truth is… it’s a buzz… a sensual high, sure it distracts me from my busy mind, sure it’s who I am and what I’m about, but at the end of the day, what it’s really about is the titillation. Yep, that is the truth of the matter, and it’s why I am not on any of the barefoot lifestyle boards, because for me this is most definitely an extension and expression of my sexuality… much as it was for Bardot. Is it a fetish? Perhaps… but it doesn’t matter. It is life, it is a pleasure, and you can call it what you will.

There is one aspect of all this living barefoot that most people might not fully understand, the physiological. My feet have changed, even changed shape. The supple leathery hide of my soles being only the most obvious change. Now that they have been freed from the binding and malforming confines of shoes, they have spread out, particularly my toes. My toes have become not only much more spread out, but vaguely more rubbery. I’m not certain I’ve had a cold or flu since I started living this way. I’m not certain of the science of it, but I know I am stimulating pressure points, invigorating my circulation, and I know we absorb things through our soles. I believe I absorb inert viruses and my body fights them off, like flu vaccinations. The changes have all been for the better… just like the changes in my life. To be quite honest, I have gained far more than I have lost in being so honest and authentic about who I am and what I want. People respond more positively to me now, things happen more readily for me now, and I have become a tad superstitious. My life was not working back when I was conforming and submitting to so many expectations, now it works better, so like hell if I’m going to change, if I’m going to strap boards or bacteria incubators to my feet.

At the moment I am sitting in my studio, my belly full of veggie and shrimp tempura and veggie fried rice from my favorite Thai restaurant (Wahaha), another of those lovely places where I am welcome barefoot. Here now I am very aware of the sounds of Paul McCartney’s deep catalog work playing away in the background, my brave little space heater warming the place up, and of my ever bare feet, a lovely little chill dancing about my toes. And that’s what I want, to be… aware, aware of the music I play, aware of the pleasure of being barefoot… moreso, aware of the intense pleasure of truly being wholly barefoot, of not owning shoes, and of all the lovely adventures I’m going to continue having.

Below… that’s me, smiling away in my studio…

Barefoot Justine in her studio the day after her birthday

Barefoot Justine in her studio the day after her birthday

So, here’s to years of pleasure, of adventures, hope, joy, and hopefully this will be the year the right man comes along. Well… hope springs eternal.

Days Like These

A Justine-Eye view

A Justine-Eye view

Days like these mean a lot when you’ve had the blues. My little patio means a lot when I’ve had the blues. This breeze off the lake means everything. I’d go out on it in the blue kayak, but it’s just too windy to row against. It’d be fantastic, though, the waves on the lake rocking my little boat, spilling over around my heels.

Yeah, I’ve had the blues, mostly solitude, the loneliness of a divorced woman who had been married for a very long time and just can’t seem to find romance of any kind… (by the way, invitations to have anal sex do not constitute romance, guys). The man I really loved, months ago, decided to back off, and now my little “niece” (though in my heart she is more the baby sister I never had) is going away with mommy and daddy for a full month. I’m gonna miss little Molly’s smile, the heart-melting way she cries (like ice cream melting in mid July), and her warmth in those magical moments when she’s feeling shy or overwhelmed and she burrows into me to protect her. In those moments I become the lioness protecting her cubs, and there’s no room for anything else in my heart or mind but her needs. In those moments I know what clarity really means. Then of course there is the continuous chromatic drone of the exhausting battles and demons I fight day after day and year by year. I get worn down. But, as I drove into town today the big blue of the sky invited me to take stock of all I have. When the sky speaks to you, it’s best to listen, to answer, and follow the big blue wherever it needs to lead you.

I drove on under that very sky, past palm trees and Spanish moss, and knew I’d made it. I’m no longer in cloudy cold shithole Ohio, I’m in Florida, sunny Florida, exactly where I’ve always wanted to be. Nope, no California dreaming for me, no desire to go to Colorado or Washington to be in the mountains with all the other hippies, no, no thank you, I’ll take these swamps. You can have the mountain air, I’ll take the rich earthy air of the swamps and the deliciously fresh wet smell of the lake

I knew everything was going to be alright as I drove into the center of town, the taste of Indian food from Andaz on my mind, and the anticipation in knowing that I would be welcomed by my friends. Somehow it always seems a little easier with Indians, it seems to me they listen more, and are more comfortable with not only duality, but emotion–high emotion! Though, I know, I am generalizing. Of course, once I arrived the welcome was as sweet as ever, and the food spicy and everything I needed it to be, and the Masala Chai was perfect today, perfect for sipping and setting aside the noise in my head long enough to sigh and be grateful for each warm spice in the chai… oh, and for everything else. As I was paying my bill, one of the new guys came up and asked me if my fangs were original.

I said, “My fangs? These are just my teeth!” He smiled admiringly and told me I was lucky. I added that they make me look more like a tigress. I went to my car, sat and looked in the rearview mirror… I never really noticed, but sure enough, I do have fangs! I’ve always hated my teeth, crooked as hell, but I guess when perfectly normal canines are crooked enough to be turned ever so slightly outward they do indeed look like fangs. “Lucky?” I guess. This might explain the desire I have once in a while for certain people’s blood.

After admiring my fangs I went barefoot (of course) to one of my little weekly jobs, Badfinger blaring away in the background as I worked, rather like now.

The eagles have begun to speak. I can hear them in the trees. I live under the wings of bald eagles and walk the same ground dinosaurs (alligators) walk, and I just know if I sit here long enough the deer and wild turkeys will gingerly find their way across our lawn.

I had thought of going into town to my beautiful little studio to work, SAW, one more place I know that allows me to be my ever barefoot self, but the lake was calling me, and now that I am looking out over it, the eagles are calling me as well, inviting me to let go and fly. Though this silly pink body can’t fly, I don’t mind, I can let the wind and eagles do the flying for me, and the music, too.

In the background, my windows open, “Coppertone Blues” (from “7 Park Avenue”), the solo music of Pete Ham (of Badfinger) flies out my window on the wind, and I know what I am.

I am not my worries, not my loneliness, I am this… and this is me…


And I am home!

I am finally home.

And as I wind down, with little else to say, Pete Ham’s delicious “Dawn” fades down, and the wild psychedelia of “I’ve Been Waiting” reminds me that I need to take another hit and take a barefoot walk up the dirt road, after all, on a day like this, there’s only so much a computer has to offer.

Barefoot To Remember


In grass and sand I find
The heart of me, no more,
No less than my mad moon,
Spinning silver off its core.

Tears assemble a reckless line,
In a watch without a hand,
Numbers shift upon the face,
No center, no time and no command.

When storm-waves swell I walk,
To grasp me and sea and sand,
When downpours flood my hollows,
I follow what I cannot see on land.

Barefoot for dread of all I was,
And all that I am not,
Skin to ground before, behind,
Broken bottles full of rot.

I forge my way most gracefully,
Perfumes coward my regret.
I am barefoot to remember,
Am barefoot to forget.

Three Years Barefoot

Barefoot Justine At Home

Barefoot Justine At Home

“You’re ill at ease. Adventurous people are always a little ill at ease. They’re shy. They aren’t bold the way people think they are. They go stumbling around breaking things, being scolded, always looking for a place where they feel they belong, they have that crooked look… of not really matching anything.”

Lilith (from the 1964 film, “Lilith”)

I haven’t been blogging much lately, to tell the truth, it started feeling rather pointless. Yeah, sure, guys come in droves to look at my pics, but I’ve realized how utterly hollow that is. Stared at and lonely, it’s not an inspiring state of affairs. But, all the same, each year I have marked the anniversary of my dedication to hardcore barefoot living, but this year, the anniversary (January 14th–my birthday) slipped past me, it’s nearly the end of February now. All the same, this blog entry has become something of a tradition with me, so I thought I oughta muster up the enthusiasm to keep it up, after all, I’m a believer in tradition.

“You can be barefoot and still have worries.”

Brigitte Bardot

Yep, a tradition is a tradition, but these exhibitionistic blog entries have begun to seem more and more like a spotlight on each lonely weekend. Men! Perhaps I’m too picky, but it seems every man I meet is prowling around looking for a plaything to shoehorn in around their more important activities. Guys, here’s a tip, maybe you should wait to ask a girl how she feels about anal sex until AFTER the first date. So where’s the enthusiasm, where’s that patented Barefoot Justine smile? Well, group, its in there, but it takes a while sometimes for it to grace my face, and part of coaxing up that smile is hard work, the hard personal work of celebrating the good things, of which there are plenty. The hard work I persist in doing. That’s what this blog entry really is, an attempt to purge the bile and look on the sunny side, to remind myself how good things are even when I am at my loneliest and most detached.

There are two wolves at my door, the one snarls and bares its teeth, it is loneliness, fear and sometimes even jealousy. There is a second wolf, and that one is the source of my strength, my passion, and my joy and inspiration. You know the old saying, and it is true… the wolf that wins is the one you feed. Here I am, forever remembering to feed the right wolf, but often forgetting and fattening up the horrid one.

So what has 3 years barefoot meant, anyways?

Well, it’s meant a lot. For one, it means that it can be done. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean is that it is possible to live wholly without shoes, socks, slippers, sandals, anything! Yep, even in the winter. And, nope, there’s not a single thing in my home that would cover, warm or protect my feet. It’s been skin on the ground for 3 solid years now (and pretty much the same for years before that as well, I just hadn’t had the courage to burn my shoes once and for all up until 3 years ago). It can all be done barefoot, every aspect of my life, from doctor visits, to shopping, from work to visits to the courthouse, and from restaurants to business meetings. What it really means, 3 years barefoot, is that a person can live the life they want to live… so long as they have the courage and determination to make it so.

So long as they are willing to make the sacrifices… and more importantly, capable of reminding themselves of of how grand it is to live a self-actualized life even in the muggy air of a culture that works very hard to strangle that free spirit out of us.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen, dirty leathery soles

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen, dirty leathery soles

“‘Reality’ is neither the subject nor the object of true art which creaties its own special reality having nothing to do with the average ‘reality’ perceived by the communal eye.”

Kinbote (Pale Fire)

We can make lots of things so, but sadly many of us never figure out that we have that power. More to the point, most of us are not up to the challenges of conjuring our daydreams into realities, whatever “reality” is. “Reality,” as any good Hindu knows, is a construct, most usually kept in place by the average man, and it takes extraordinary people to step outside of that reality, extraordinary people who can turn their backs on the petty expectations of a world of people who aggressively believe in the big shared construct… but that’s all it is, a construct. Living barefoot for 3 years is essentially a rejection of that construct. And boy does it rub some people the wrong way. Those people will work to stop you, to brainwash you, to force you back into line with the accepted construct they all have silently and unwittingly agreed to call “reality.” You know, that ever so “real” world in which sports actually seem important, that world in which people actually watch all the crap that’s on TV, that world in which Americans actually believe that the solution to gun violence is more guns (like say in schools, for example). It’s madness, folks, look around you, it’s madness! Yes, Virginia, the lunatics have taken over the asylum, but there’s no need to stay in the asylum with them, it is, after all, only a house of cards.

“‘Reality,’ (one of the few words which mean nothing without quotes)…”


And I am seen as mad for being barefoot? Madness and sanity are not democratic states of being, whole societies can be mad, and their constructs are created to make those of us who see the madness for what it is seem like the mad ones. One thing history, myth and religion teaches us is that “they” crucify those “madmen” and burn those “madwomen” who challenge the constructs, the collective notions, of “reality.” Sometimes I think “reality” is nothing more than the sneakiest and most subtle and insidious of propagandas.

I walk barefoot for a number of reasons, and one reason is that I have renounced the madness, that construct, to create a life, construct and reality that is highly personal. I know, many may find all this hard to accept, but trust me, it can be accepted. Some of us have to experience real trauma to be able to find ourselves and make that painful break from the construct the average man mistakes for reality.

Yeah, I know, I show a picture of my dirty leathery soles and then get all existential on y’all. But that’s what it’s all about, this journey. You can choose which wolf to feed, but you can also choose between getting in line, boarding the bus and going where everyone else is going, or you can take off and explore your own life from the driver’s seat. Face it, most of the people out there have taken the passenger seat in their own lives. Simply put, you can either be who they want and tell you to be, or you can be who you want to be. Frankly, it’s easier to board the bus and sit in the passenger seats with everyone else.

“Campbell: …A dream is a personal experience of that deep dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society’s dream. The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn’t, you’ve got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.

Moyers: So if my private dreams are in accord with the public mythology, I’m more likely to live healthily in that society. But if my private dreams are out of step with the public–

Campbell: –you’ll be in trouble. If you’re forced to live in that system, you’ll be a neurotic.

Moyers: But aren’t many visionaries and even leaders and heroes close to the edge of neuroticism?

Campbell: Yes, they are.

Moyers: How do you explain that?

Campbell: They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it, or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience–that’s the hero’s deed.”

Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, (The Power Of Myth)

Either you can take it, or you can’t, honestly, sometimes I can take it, and sometimes I can’t.

“I will not conform and I will not submit,” that’s my motto regardless. I thought it always had been, but it wasn’t, not until after I’d faced my own mortality twice, after I had lost my home and gone bankrupt, not until I realized I had nothing to lose. It was then that I really had the courage to find out what it really means to not conform and to not submit. But here’s the funny part, group, back when I played the game and rode on that bus, I got nothing back in return for my forfeit, whereas now, when I have accepted my path and have individuated, now that I am stubbornly barefoot, living as an artist, and following my bliss, I am finding that things are working out a lot better. People give me more work, they respond better to me than they did before. I see no reason to get back on that bus. Actually, I’m rather superstitious about it all. Things are so much better for me now that I am afraid of any compromise when it comes to my vision of who I am, and I am barefoot. No, I won’t put shoes on just for this one thing… that, my friends, is a slippery slope.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen's bejeweled feet

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen’s bejeweled feet

Yep, another year barefoot, and I have done it all, gone shopping, gone out to eat, gone to the doctor, travelled, you know, I’ve done all those things barefoot that everyone thinks is impossible. How many times I have heard people lament that they’d go barefoot all the time if only they could get into restaurants and grocery stores… well… you can get into restaurants and grocery stores barefoot, the catch is, you actually have to want it enough to see it through. Oh yes, there are excuses, cop-outs, but that’s all they are. I wanted it, I won’t cop-out, and here’s how I do it:

Smile, look people in the eye, wear bell bottoms or a skirt, be discreet, and go about your business as if it’s the most natural thing in the world for you to be barefoot. Sure, there will always be busy-bodies who think it’s their job (which it isn’t) to make sure all the rules of their fragile little construct are obeyed… but those boneheads are surprisingly few and far between. Wanna go barefoot all the time?… be charming! Charm them, they’ll leave you alone… except for the real bitches and assholes… some people you just can’t work with, they are too far gone, too deep in the tar of the average man’s construct. Some of them you can defeat, but many of them have rooted their concrete so deep into the illusion that they just won’t budge. I should feel sorry for those people, but I don’t, fuck ’em! Fuck ’em!

Let me say this, if you don’t go barefoot, and you wish you could, it’s not THEM, it’s not the stores, the restaurants or the social pressures that are stopping you… it is YOU that is stopping you. If you want something, you have to get off that damn bus.

Yep, 3 years uncompromisingly barefoot, and my feet are fine! I’m fine! My soles are leathery, I have no callouses (those just crack and hurt–sorry foot-community, callouses are NOT good, buff ’em off!) My feet are no longer deformed by those little bacteria incubators everyone calls shoes. My toes have a healthy spread, they’re not all cramped together like the lotus feet of some victim of Chinese foot-binding. Shoes are a cultural aberration.

“So, Justine, where’s the fun? This blog entry seems rather dark,” you might be thinking, well, the fun is coming. In the words of the Pythons… “Wait for it!”

What does 3 years barefoot really prove? For a start it means that I’ve proven I’m not fooling around. It proves not only that it can be done, but that it can be done well. Sure, it’s risky at times, but so is bicycling, playing soccer, and sitting around too long in front of a computer. Nope, what I am doing is no more dangerous than skiing, texting and driving, or bags of Cheetos, things most people don’t consider all that unthinkable. Ever notice how people will celebrate boxers but look at a barefoot person like they’re nuts? Ever notice how we celebrate skatboarding and mountain biking, but find going barefoot entirely too risky? See… y’all see what I mean by the construct and how fragile it is? For example, you can break your neck skiing… yet people are horrified at the possibility of getting a sliver of glass in their foot. My brother got a compound fracture in his leg from playing soccer, his bones punctured the skin of his leg… yet my parent’s forbade me from going barefoot because I might catch a cold! Crazy, right? And by the way, you can’t catch a cold by going barefoot.

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen's feet with concert ticket and souvenir...

(Barefoot) Justine Mara Andersen’s feet with concert ticket and souvenir…

What were the highlights of my barefoot adventures this year? Well, quite readily, my outing to the Cheap Trick concert (which I wrote about at length in this same blog) was spectacular. It was thrilling, and took me back to those wild-child days. I mean what could be more perfect than being stoned, barefoot, and clad skimpily in bleached cut-off shorts at a Cheap Trick concert? Not much. The grass was lush and moist as I danced and danced until the grass and dirt had compacted into a delicious green clay-soft pad under my soles. I had left the house lamenting that I was single and going alone, but as soon as the band took the stage, as soon as they started playing I was reduced to tears and trembles, and realized that this was a moment I needed to indulge in, a moment where my solitude was a blessing.

Of course there were my many adventures with my dear friend Joseph Blue Sky (see pic below taken by Joe during his last visit–no feet, but it’s a cute shot!). We have such fun together. And we have adventures, plenty of stumbling about laughing and, on my end, wishing we could live like that every day. He lives in Ohio, by far too far from my swampy home. But earlier this year I traversed (alone) from Florida to Ohio in a rental car to see him as well. And again encountered snow under my feet in West Virginia!

Barefoot Justine in the forest with Joe B. Sky (taking pic)

Barefoot Justine in the forest with Joe B. Sky (taking pic)

Of course I went to numerous meetings and met with clients barefoot, something that throws them off until they start working with me and realize just how dedicated and inspired an illustrator I am. Still, there’s something ticklishly subversive about standing around barefoot in a room full of people with ties and business casual clothing on. I mean, really, who goes to meetings barefoot? Yep, it is very possible to live a professional life barefoot. The trick is that you have to be damn good at what you do (in my case, illustrating and even animating), and you have to be committed without apology to the decision to live barefoot. If you mean it, they’ll go along with it, and usually with a genuinely interested smile, yep, I’m forever answering questions about my feet, especially in winter (which in North Central Florida can still be cold enough to be annoying).

Mostly, there’s the simply pleasure of living in a town where people are more open to eccentricity and individuality. There is support here, for my self actualization. They dig that here, where I live. Mostly there’s the rich life I lead at home, surrounded by growling alligators, soaring eagles, deer, armadillos, and even the occasional otter. I have forest land to explore in my savage state of half-nakedness.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen wild in the forest

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen wild in the forest

Yep, that’s me up there in that pic, running around topless and barefoot in the woods. Fortunately I’ve never been busted for it, though I’ve had to turn tail a number of times. Being something of a hermit, it’s lovely to have all this land to play on. Getting back to nature, that’s one of the biggest pleasures of my life. The ground here is unfortunately challenging, we have ticks, chiggers, and horrid little spiny things and thorns everywhere, but that’s all just part of the fun, isn’t it? There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

Basically what 3 years barefoot mean is that I’ve done it! I made a decision, a challenging decision (to never wear shoes), and as afraid as I was that it wouldn’t work out… I’ve made it work! Of course I have had to live and accept a different life. Instead of enslaving myself to the American Delusion (or “American Dream” as it is generally known), I chose to leave that illusion to mom and dad. My ambition was to live barefoot, and as part of that to live a sustainable life. For years and years I dreamt of the day I would shed not only my shoes and socks, but my mortgage, cable bill, and all the expectations of “THEIR” reality. I wanted to live cheaply out in the woods, a smaller and simpler life with a view, and here I am 3 years later living in my little cottage-room in the woods, barefoot and low-budget. Sometimes all it takes to live the life you daydream about is a drastic change in expectations. Maybe, after all, some of our dreams may not be so unattainable, maybe it’s our expectations that are holding us back. Maybe before we even try living our dreams we have to let go of everyone else’s.

“Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Dr. Timothy Leary

Barefoot Justine… Yes, Barefoot In the Snow, Too!


Well… I dug around on my antique computer (a computer so old even the Amish would find it beneath them) and I found one last photo of me barefoot in the snow. I’m posting it alongside the other one from the same shoot.

I remember the day well. This was a park in Ohio that I used to hike barefoot in the winter, it took about 90 minutes to make the whole trail. The day these pics were taken it was uncommonly cold and the snow was brittle and hard… my feet had to break through a layer of hard sharp ice with every step. I remember that it was painful and sorta sucked… but I still had a lot of fun!

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) In the Snow.

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) In the Snow.

That day I had hoped to hike the whole trail, but the conditions were just too rough. I climbed a tree just to get up out of the snow for a few minutes.

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) in a tree one snowy day!

Barefoot Justine (Mara Andersen) in a tree one snowy day!

I learned a lot of things about hiking barefoot in the snow, and one was that I would stop to gently warm my feet after the first 10 or 15 minutes, the blood would all flow to my toes after that, and they would stay pink and warm for a long time. Of course all along the way I would frequently stop and warm them. Another thing I learned was to bring an extra pair of gloves so that if the first pair got wet there would be a nice cozy second pair for my hands. Dry warm hands were essential for the long hikes. One of the most surprising things I learned was how important mind over matter was. On more than one occasion I would head out for a barefoot winter hike and turn around and go home if I wasn’t feeling good about it or couldn’t focus. I knew that if I started a hike while I was distracted or not feeling confident, that there would be a greater chance of it going badly. Mainly what I learned was that it’s totally possible to safely go barefoot all winter, and that our bodies and minds are far more powerful than we think.

This is not something anyone should try for too long without a lot of research, practice and focus. I have NO desire to return to Ohio and those dreadful winters… but at times I really miss sinking my bare feet into sugary soft-serve snow! What I don’t miss is that in Ohio winter starts in October and lasts until almost May… simply put… fuck that!

Why I Live Barefoot


“I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.”
Paul McCartney

Lately I seem to be suddenly getting a steady flood-like dam-break of friend requests on Facebook from fellow barefooters and fetishists (by the way… there is NOTHING wrong with the word “fetish,” nor with being a “fetishist!”), and I got to reading a couple of blog testimonials by other barefoot women and realized that I haven’t really dug too deep into the “why” issue beyond a brief post early on, so in greater depth… here goes.

For me the question “Why did I start living barefoot?” is closely tied to “Why am I so committed to being barefoot?” It would be hard to answer one question without talking about the other, nor the even more interesting questions of how and why I made the decision to live barefoot, not to mention what it was like to finally commit to that decision, and of course the real question, “What is it about being barefoot that has its claws in me so deeply?”

Where did this whole barefoot thing start?

At conception. I was into bare feet, other barefoot people and my own barefooting for as long as I can remember. It was easy as a child for me to just run around barefoot, but when my teen years and adult years came headlong at me (well before I was ready for them), the question of “to be or not to be barefoot” became complicated by social norms, peer pressure, and even familial pressures. I went barefoot whenever I could, almost obsessively, but there was always a heavy pressure to conform my feet to deforming shoes. As much pressure as there was to conform, as neurotic and self denying as it made me… I was born to be barefoot; hardwired to be barefoot–uh… among other things.

What’s the appeal of being barefoot, let alone the appeal of living as a hardcore barefooter?

I cannot tell a lie, it’s the sensuality, the physical sensation, the pure pleasure of it, combined with not only a sense of liberation and freedom, but I have also recently embraced the nonconforming aspect of it with great pride… after all, I no longer have any desire to conform to this culture of endless wars, angry political obsessions and propaganda, sports, sports and more sports, lousy music and lousier TV, and the all around bad (really bad) ideas of our times. I guess at heart I remain a child of the sixties (though I am too young to have really enjoyed the best of the sixties or even the seventies–bummer).

Barefoot Justine's feet... pretty pink polish.

Barefoot Justine, pink polish.

Let’s talk about the simple physical sensation for a second… when I was a kid there was nothing more exhilarating than climbing a tree barefoot and dangling my bare feet over the dizzying drop! Why, I don’ know, but that sensation was perhaps the closest thing to the exhilaration of sex that I, a mere child, had felt up that that point, yet it was far breathier and far more pure and uncomplicated. It’s a high I still crave. Later, in my teens, that same thrill reappeared in a different form when I began to dig going barefoot as a clandestine act of rebellion. Somehow my parents’ stern demands that I stop running around barefoot just made the pleasure run deeper and ring out ever more loudly and ever more true. It was never enough for me to carry shoes or kick them off to the side, I preferred sneaking out of the house without them or ditching them under a shrub somewhere so I could run off unshod and unfettered. I needed the sensation to remain pure, unpolluted by the presence or even threat of shoes. This barefoot-centric consciousness was with me from my earliest memories.

There are a couple other important issues in the “why does this appeal to me” category, and one is mindfulness. I have a busy mind, and being barefoot cuts through the crap and offers me clarity, a way of being mindful of the moment. It is difficult to be out and about barefoot with a head full of worries or intrusive thoughts. Being barefoot demands attentiveness, to each and every step. Of course there is also the fact that I simply do not understand shoes. I can’t imagine going about my life day to day with shoes on anymore than I can imagine going about my life with earplugs in or a blindfold on. I can’t imagine smothering that much sensation from my life, that much bliss and sensuality. Perhaps at heart I am simply a hedonist.

Yet knowing all this to be true about myself and about the joys of being barefoot, I was still walking the line, I was still suffering under the pressure to conform when “appropriate” (by the way, there is no appropriate time or place to wear shoes if a person doesn’t want to; however, what is grossly inappropriate is that people are such shoe Nazis, when, simply put, it’s none of their business what anyone does or does not have on their feet, this is set in stone, it is NONE OF THEIR DAMN BUSINESS AT ALL IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM… and this includes the bullshit “liability” argument). As I graduated college (I used to attend my classes barefoot, not even bothering to take shoes in my commute to campus) and entered the adult world (a hellish construct), I began to wonder if I could really keep this barefoot thing up once I was 25 or 30 and all growed up, and I started to feel the pressure to hide my shame and shod myself far more urgently than before. For years I struggled against my true nature. And was it ever a struggle. Then everything changed.

Why was I finally able to commit to living barefoot?

I have frequently credited being diagnosed with cancer in Korea and how nearly drowning 6 months later in Thailand changed my life forever in many deep and lasting ways, but I have rarely delved too deeply into those waters, so I’m going to finally do so. To tell the truth, prior to the cancer I was heading in a very bad direction anyhow, lots of drinking, deep depression, and far too many late nights in the clubs of Korea (where I lived and worked for 2 years), and I was not a happy girl back then, not in the least.

I will never forget what it felt like to be officially diagnosed with cancer, it was, simply put, the thing I most feared and dreaded… and ironically, the thing I most needed to get me turned around and headed down the path to individuation. After the diagnosis I sat in the hallway of the busy hospital in Seoul Korea and could not comprehend, let alone truly understand, what it meant to have cancer. I was numb, but aware that my life was about to become an ordeal of surgery, radiation treatments and nausea… and worse if the cancer had been aggressive and had already started to spread. I remember as I sat in that hallway that it seemed the lights had dimmed all around me, and though I was surrounded by the busy hubbub of one of Koreas busiest hospitals, I felt as if I were in an isolation chamber and filled with numbing drugs, a muggy hot night filling every hollow in my skull–rather like feet feel in shoes, as I think about it. I just sat there and sat there not knowing what to do next, not even knowing how to sit or how to move, or even how or what to feel. The best word for it would be… I was stunned. I mean, what’s a person to do after they’ve been diagnosed with cancer… go out to eat?

I survived the cancer ordeal, having fortunately had a form of cancer that is relatively easy to cure. But I still had to face 5 years of uncertainty–was it going to show up again, climbing up my guts? Shortly thereafter, 6 months later, give or take, I was in Thailand SCUBA diving. I hadn’t trusted the gear they had given me, but I had been told by all my dive instructors that I was too uptight about diving, so I did what they told me to and shrugged my concerns off–NEVER do that. When you are diving, it is your life on the line, follow your gut. Diving in Thailand is breathtaking, and this particular outing was the most spectacular dive I had ever enjoyed, unfortunately, as I had feared, I was slowly leaking air, and so was the assistant dive instructor, so I was asked to do an emergency assent with him. Unfortunately when we got to the surface I could not get my leaky vest to inflate, so I couldn’t float well at all, and the water had turned choppy, so I was taking in mouthfuls of water, and to make matters worse, there was no boat in sight! I was stranded in the middle of the sea with faulty leaking gear, choppy waves, and no rescue in sight. Far more drained from the cancer than I had realized, I became fatigued and was struggling to keep my head above water… and the boat was still nowhere to be seen. After a while I panicked, having taken in too many mouthfuls of water, having struggled too long and too hard, and I realized that the cancer hadn’t taken me (not yet) but this could very well be the end. I had honestly realized that it was very possible that I was going to die right then and there, fighting, panicking and frantic. I have never been more terrified. Fortunately, we were eventually spotted by the boat and rescued. I sat in that boat and was again… stunned.

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen clubbing

Barefoot clubbing

What kind of woman chooses to live barefoot? How could anyone come to that conclusion?

Before I go on, I think that all you have just read about my life and travels so far also helps explain why I go barefoot… I am adventurous and willing to take leaps of faith, and I crave experiences, sensation, and a good rush (if it’s the right kind of rush), otherwise I would not have been living, working and partying in Korea or diving in Thailand. I crave adventure, and as much as part of me has longed for security and financial stability, that part of me could never quiet my need for personal expression, extremes, and adventures. I am a restless person. But beyond all that, facing my own mortality twice in 6 months started the ball rolling. As I recovered from both experiences I was terribly confused and not sure what to do next, and I was afeard for my life. Whatever feelings of immortality I had as a youth, or had inherited from my careless father, were now gone. I knew now, unlike most of my friends who had never faced death, let alone twice in 6 months, that I could be gone from this earth at any moment. It’s a difficult thing to live with. That’s something many of us think we understand, but trust me, until we’ve faced our own mortality, or lost a loved one too young and too soon, we don’t. Before turning my life around, things kept getting worse, including my drinking. I worked as an illegal immigrant in Chile for a while, did carnie work for a few days, and was going through a divorce and living in a foreclosing house and facing bankruptcy. It seemed the misery that had erupted into my life with cancer just kept coming until I realized something very important.

1361390448_tumblr_lihc2tkqxc1qg1lw1o1_1280I had nothing to lose.

“We can do what we want,
We can live as we choose.
You see there’s no guarantee,
We got nothing to lose.”
Paul McCartney

When did I get the courage to live barefoot?

There’s something about the combination of facing your own mortality twice in one year and having nothing whatsoever to lose that can straighten a person out. It took a while to work it all out, but I eventually realized that there were a number of things I needed to do, a number of ENORMOUS changes that I had to make before cancer, a diving accident, or whatever, took me out. What I needed to do was simply this… live my life. That sounds rather flat, so let me try and say that again, what I needed to do was LIVE MY LIFE! This, of course, means figuring out once and for all who and what I am, who and what I want to be, how I want to live, and how determined I am to see it through. As it turns out, I was very determined.

I realized that every single thing I had done or denied myself in an effort to conform, fit in, and succeed within the stifling rules and norms of our perverse culture had come to nothing. I had literally nothing at all to show for years, decades of self denial… bupkis! Sad as this sounds, as easy as it would be to turn this into bitter cynicism, there is a higher road to take, and that is the path of self realization and liberation, or even the Jungian concept of individuation.

What did that mean? It meant that if I had nothing to lose, if I might die without ever getting or being what I truly wanted and needed, and if all my attempts to conform to cultural demands had come to nothing, then the only thing left to do was turn my back, walk away, and towards the light, and the light was the me I had wandered so far from, , never discovered, lost or denied. I had become my own prodigal daughter, and looking back on it now, that biblical story has far more resonance when seen metaphorically. A prodigal son or daughter is not merely one who wanders from their family, but one who wanders too far from themselves and their center–the symbolism and metaphor are both flexible and far deeper than the silliness lost to fundamentalist translations. One part of the complexly layered and inevitable homecoming for me was that I was born to be barefoot, and I will not conform or submit ever again. I will never again wander so far from home, from self, and being barefoot is one important part of that larger sense of self.

img_4392When did I decide to live barefoot, and what was that like?

I gradually made the decision after January 2012 that I was going to live my life barefoot. It’s been well over 2 years now. To tell the truth, I had been adamantly barefoot since 2010 anyhow, but this complete liberation and devotion to “hardcore barefooting” really started that January. The funny thing was, looking back, it wasn’t a clear decision made on a specific day, that just happened to be the first day I began my conscious and uncompromising barefoot lifestyle. It was a few months later that I realized I was done accepting any pressure to imprison my feet, and I was not going back. In fact I had found one last pair of dusty unworn shoes and ceremonially burned them. And it felt great! My toes actually tingled!

For a while it was invigorating to swing my feet out of bed in the morning and realize I was forever barefoot, no choice, no decision to make… I and my feet were joyously and wholly free! There was another feeling mixed in when I finally decided to be true to myself, to individuate, and that was that I had made this decision to live barefoot in Ohio right smack dab in the middle of winter. Of course, as I said, I had been barefoot in a very hardcore way since 2010, winters and all, but now I was committed and no longer had to even feel any pressure whatsoever to submit or conform. I remember the most difficult part being not so much the ice and snow, and not even the salt (the damn salt!), but the social complications that would come about thanks to my being barefoot in mid-winter. As you can imagine, I had to put up with a lot of funny looks and I had to face a number of challenges. Sometimes going out for groceries was quite an ordeal, as my bare feet felt so utterly naked around all those leftover Christmas decorations! It was an intense sensation, and not entirely enjoyable in public, but at times I rather miss that intensity. There were days when I would look out over the frigid snow and hard packed frozen slush from my front door, and struggle to work up the courage to go to the grocery store or post office. Secretly, privately, apart from the social pressures and judgments, on the most personal level, I thoroughly enjoyed sinking my feet into the snow, and I thrilled to watching my toes turn pink in the snow… and the numbness I experienced I found to be utterly delicious! But how was I going to make a living? A friend of mine hired me to work in his ghetto apartments as a cleaning girl… and by cleaning girl… I mean the hardwork of cleaning up after hoarders and some pretty greasy people. As a barefoot employee I felt the need to prove myself, and I can distinctly remember one winter day when it was about 12 degrees and I had to help him move everything out of one apartment into his van. It was positively frigid! I did fine for a while, but even I eventually had to bail out to cradle my toes and warm up in his van. Fortunately I had made a good case for my ability to work barefoot, so he found my waterloo amusing.

The right to shoes, the right to choose, I choose barefoot!

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen's dirty feet

Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen’s dirty feet

I think the big day, beyond the burning of the shoes, but the biggest day, the one in which my liberation, not merely as a barefoot girl, but as a person, became complete was the day I got in the car with 2 people I barely knew, with no connections, no promise of a job, and nothing more than the money I had scraped together selling off guitars and stuff, to leave Ohio, family and friends, and start my new life in Florida, on my own with no safety net and bare and beautiful feet. It was terrifying and exhilarating to take off broke and barefoot into the great unknown… but then again, I had nothing to lose. That said, it was a thrill to be “running away from home,” so to speak… though as an adult.

Why won’t I just be sensible and keep some shoes around in case of emergencies?

I’ve been living 100% barefoot in Florida alone for over 2 years. Now I live in a beautiful lakefront property, teach at comics at SAW, do whatever illustration work I can pick up, teach kids, perform a little cleaning work, and go about my business as barefoot as I was intended to be. And how does it feel? Terrific! There’s a lesson here, and that is, don’t conform and don’t submit. As my dear friend Joseph Blue Sky says, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” I was bold, and mighty forces came to my aid. I’ve become a bit superstitious about all this now, considering how much better my life is now than it ever has been before, I feel all the more determined to remain true to myself, to remain forever barefoot, after all, what did I get from conforming, submitting and compromising? Bupkis!

To paraphrase the Bhagavad Gita, “It is better to perform one’s own duties imperfectly than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations one is born with, a person never comes to grief.”

Furthermore, once I started living an honest life, once the prodigal daughter had returned and I started down the right road, I found my spiritual path through Hinduism, but only after I had fought those battles, after I was ready, and at the time when I was most ready to understand that this world and the imposed sense of self that results in being lost in it is all maya, and if it is maya (illusion), then I shall choose my illusion rather than the illusion everyone else accepts… which is no more or less “created” or constructed than the one I travel barefoot through.

Why do I choose to live barefoot? Because I want to, and it brings me contentment. And why, I ask, should I put on shoes for you or anyone? Eh, don’t bother answering the question, ’cause it won’t make a damn bit of difference. I’m Barefoot Justine.

(Some people have difficulty leaving comments on my site–Wordpress glitch–so if you can’t comment, feel free to go to my “contact” link at the top of the page and send an email. And for those of you who found this blog entry through a link, remember… there’s lots more where this came from if you visit my site.)

Another Barefoot Woman…


Found this today, and I rather liked both the article and the thoughts of the woman it is about:


Loved this quote, and it is something I have struggled to learn, accept and apply to the many struggles I face when navigating the average man’s world:

“As I get older I find that I value myself far more highly than to worry about what other people think.”
Bea Marshall

I also have to agree with the many points she makes, most importantly her point about enjoying the sensation of being barefoot too much to give it up. She is quite open about that aspect, and I find that refreshing. The sensation is fabulous, and to live without the threat of shoes hanging over my head has been a deep liberation. As I say: “I will not submit or conform,” and THAT is a hard and fast rule. If something requires conformity or submission I find a sneaky way past it or simply choose not to engage in that activity.

I have been kicked out of several places, (places, I might add, that are ignorant of health codes which do NOT require footwear). I have had to work out methods of stealth and discretion, as has she. She wears faux flip flops without bottoms, I find that rarely works, so I simply wear bell bottoms or skirts. I have found that with a modicum of discretion I have been able to navigate my life barefoot very effectively, even lately having navigated courthouses, hearings and the BMV barefoot (I had to do all this for technical NOT criminal reasons). So far the most powerful tool at my disposal has been a smile and a determined look into the eyes of would-be oppressors.

Like her, I have also had rare injuries, and the injuries that have happened to me had nothing to do with my barefoot lifestyle (for example: I tore off a toenail–which grew back quickly–in my room where it is “acceptable” to be barefoot).

Mostly it is simply refreshing to come across other people (women mostly) who are taking this up as a lifestyle choice.

Ladies… we are not alone!