Last winter, a photo of a New York City police officer giving shoes to a homeless man went viral. This generous act might sound familiar to a WT adventurer who donated boots last summer to a Romanian shepherd deep in the mountains. WT guide Gianluca Canalicchio tells the story:
In the summer in Romania, shepherds take enormous flocks of sheep into the Carpathian Mountains for grazing. Life for these shepherds is incredibly tough. They spend months and months following the sheep onto the high peaks and sleeping very little because they have to guard the flock from wolves and bears. They encounter few outsiders in this remote region and tend to be very shy when they come across a Wilderness Travel group. The shepherds wear the same clothes day after day and are often taken aback by the American travelers dressed in their fancy gear.
When we came across the shepherd in the picture, he bashfully asked from a distance for a cigarette. He was very surprised when I gave him a full pack and a lighter, which I had brought along just in case I came across such a lonely wanderer. Then a WT adventurer gave the man his own hiking boots. Astonished, he immediately put a cigarette in his mouth and sat on the side of the road so he could try the boots on. With a big smile on his face, he put up his hand to say, “Okay and thanks!” Then the shepherd continued on his way, accompanied only by his sheep, his trusty dog (pictured above), his smokes, and his new boots.
–Photo by Wilderness Travel Trip Leader Alex Nagy