Pig poop India

Types of Foot, or the Worst Thing about Traveling

Humor, Travel Commentary

Over the years, I’ve had the great fortune to walk all over this world and the great misfortune to step in some awful things. I almost always travel to warm places and wear sandals, so my poor feet have been the victims of various “types of foot.”

It all started many years ago in Egypt as Kristi and I were walking in the desert. “I have sand foot,” she declared, because her sandal was full of sand. About two steps later I stepped in camel poo. “I have camel dung foot,” I said glumly. Since then, we’ve been keeping track of the “types of foot” we get. Here is a partial list.

Rice Paddy Foot – my foot slipped off the trail and into a rice paddy in Bali and the mud swallowed my sandal. I had to plunge my arm elbow deep in the mud and feel around to extricate my shoe. Rice paddy foot

Asian Street Market Slime Foot – stepped in the slimy, greasy substance that is the byproduct of various animals being chopped up and cooked in the open. Note: residue on sandals attracts curious cats and ants by the millions.

New Delhi Street Foot – sandal came off in Dehli, still traumatized.

Sacred Cow Poop Foot – sacred cow poop feels the same as regular cow poop when squished between the toes.

Sacred cow poop.

Cactus Foot – ouch! f#$%!

Rock Foot – a very common type of foot, can be painful. See also: cactus foot.

Volcanic Ash Foot – after a volcanic eruption covered the town of Taormina in ash and lava rock, getting it in the sandals was inevitable.

Volcanic Ash Etna

Dog Poop Foot – the most common type of poop foot; frequency does not alleviate grossness factor.

Mysterious Liquid Substance in Bangkok Foot – still not sure what it was and I probably don’t want to know.

Hummus Foot – along with ISIS and terrorism, one of the dangers of traveling in the Middle East.

Sacrificial Animal Blood Foot – stepping in blood from a recently sacrificed animal isn’t as glamorous as it might seem. (click here to see the macabre photos or look at the photo below and use your imagination.)

buffalo funeral

Garlic Naan Foot – probably the least terrible thing to step in on this list. Note: I did not eat the naan afterwards. I promise.

Feral Indian Pig Poop Foot – Stepping in feral pig excrement is not recommended. Also, avoid that sewage filled ditch while you are at it.

Pig poop India

Pigeon Poop Foot – the most common form of avian foot.

Pee Foot – my own; don’t ask.

As you can see, traveling isn’t always fun. Sometimes it can be traumatizing and gross. Do you have any unusual types of foot to add to the list? 


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Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~ planetbell1@gmail.com

35 thoughts on “Types of Foot, or the Worst Thing about Traveling”

  1. I know this is not any kind of substance whatsoever, but maybe you should add ‘Speedwalking Foot’. That post of James Louie speedwalking tour really cracked me up. It still does.

    • Speed-walking foot is a slightly different ailment, a result of cramps and pain for trying to keep up with James!

  2. While I have not cataloged the types of “foot” I have encountered, the one that springs to mind is the shoe stuck to the floor foot. Sticky remains of last evenings cocktails causing large patches of goo on the floor resembling flypaper glue.

    • Ah yes, that is a common type of mess to get involved in. Sticky substance on the floor is so hard to clean up too.

    • Gum foot is bad, especially if it is fresh from someone’s mouth. Thanks for clarifying the two types of gum mishaps.

  3. It seems that if there is poo to be found anywhere nearby, your feet have a unique talent in finding it 🙂

    I just remember last spring, as the snow melted, all the piles of dog poop became evident on the sidewalks (why to people think they don’t need to scoop their dog’s poop in winter?)
    As I was picking my way along the sidewalk trying to avoid the mounds of poo, I slipped on the ice and fell …. in a fresh pile of poop.
    Imagine the colourful language that likely ensued :/

  4. Adventures in Kevin's World says:

    Apparently you are a walking disaster!!!! 😉

    In general I have not had the, um, luck you had. However on my 1st Ecuador trip after getting off the bus in a new town I sat down on a bench near some friendly looking locals. My terrible Spanish didn’t help me figure out what they were trying to say, I was just excited to have found such a friendly group. It took almost 5 minutes of them gesturing for me to realize that I had stepped in a large pile of very fresh dog poop.

    We had a good laugh at that point.

      • Adventures in Kevin's World says:

        You have had an impressively large amount of foot misadventures! Great idea for a post.

  5. Ha! After 4 months living in a small(ish) town in India and getting gravel foot *every* *day* I vowed I’d never wear sandals while travelling again. I live in canvas slip-ons which mean I don’t get any kind of foot 🙂
    Of course my shoes haven’t protected me from being head butted by a holy cow or peed on by a sacred monkey.

    • Ah, you are very smart going with a canvas slip on. You are having protected steps. I need to do a follow up post about the things we get on us, like sacred monkey pee. That is worse than stepping in it I think! I had a similar instance with a holy cow. Those guys are rude. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Jeff it may be time for closed toe shoes for you as clearly you and poop of multitudes of varieties are like magnets.
    Definitely lots of goose poop foot come spring but electrocution foot wins for me. Granted I was a child but if you stand in water and grab an electric fence you can get some crispy toes in a hurry. Lived to tell about it. 🙂

  7. that traveling nurse says:

    Geez, with your photos of pigs and the foot title for your post, what instantly came to mind was “foot and mouth disease”. I can’t help it, it’s the nurse in me. 😛 For some reason, traveling almost always involves some sort of poo or snot story (mentioning Badfish here) or anything outrageously gross. Bring it on! Btw, I like your new theme. Bigger fonts and less clutter. And yes, wear closed toe shoes next time or a sandal perhaps (no thongs)? 😉

    • I thought the title and photo may evoke foot and mouth disease too, although I don’t know that is. I suppose I could Google it.

      I think we step in gross things, or fall into bad things, because when we travel we our usually around in amazement and not down at the sacred cow poop. Also, depending on where you live, there may not be sacred cow poop in which to step in.

      Thanks for noticing the new theme. You know how it is, I spent about 2 years looking for something I liked!

      • that traveling nurse says:

        In case you haven’t googled it. It is a viral disease among animals (pigs, cows, livestock) and rarely passed on to humans. Anyway, 2 years is so very anal of you! Good job! hahah. 😛

  8. This was hilarious…smiles came via your writing, experiences and then inevitably thinking about my many such ‘types of foot’ I’ve had while traveling. Very well done, and safe travels 🙂

    • Thanks Randall. I am glad you enjoyed, but sorry that you had to relive moments of foot from the past. Some things are better forgotten.

  9. I missed this post (and a few others I’d guess) while I was AWOL from blogdom. Thought I’d see what I missed. This one’s a Jeff Bell CLASSIC. How do you come up with these things, man? But you forgot Komodo Dragon foot, eh? And gecko foot.

    • I am sure that gecko foot is in my future. I have probably stepped on a few already smashed animals but may have been protected by a sandal. Komodo Dragon foot, I am assuming poop of the Komodo, and not the actual dragon, wouldn’t be too bad all things considered. At least it is mostly pulverized bone! Komodo foot might result in not having a foot at all.

      • yah…you don’t want to step on the foot of a komodo dragon dude. You wouldn’t be able to write more articles on other kinds of “foot”…without a foot to step in stuff.

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