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    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    The Wall

    My Camino Day Nine

    This is hard. Harder than I imagined.

    I hit the wall. Of course I knew I would, but it came earlier than expected. Day eight. Bam! I was out for the count.

    We hadn’t planned to take a day off this early. We thought we could make it to Burgos, about Day 12. But the wall came sooner and had other plans.

    Sunrise as we left Los Arcos

    Clearly I trained for this. You all know I did. But it’s still hard. I made a mistake having a pedicure in Portugal. I needed those calluses. What was I thinking?  My toes have blistered and I’m painfully rebuilding those hard-

    The scenery on Day 8 was spectacular

    earned calluses.

    Yesterday on Day 8 we planned a long day, 18 miles.  We started before daylight and I felt good. For miles I felt great.  It was a cool and sunny day. The scenery was spectacular. All was well until after lunch. We ate lunch in the town of Viana at mile 13. We had five miles to go to Logrona.  The temperature suddenly soared. I was melting.

    Lunch with the local wine

    Each step began to feel like I was walking on a bed of nails or coals. Excruciating.  I had to keep going. I felt I might cry. I should have stopped. It was almost like hypothermia because I don’t think I was thinking clearly. I plodded along at a excruciatingly slow pace.

    Finally I plopped down and took a look at my feet. They were the size of footballs! Straining to bust out of my shoes. I peeled my socks down and found blistered heat rash all around my ankles.

    I should have seen this coming. I’ve had this happen before. I should have worn the cotton socks instead of the wool. Shoulda coulda woulda.

    The top bunk

    I removed the wool socks and hobbled on the final mile to our night’s accommodations. A disappointing  Albergue.  Cheap and exactly worth what we paid for it.  Since we were arriving late only top bunks available.  Arne dragged me up and I collapsed.

    I actually slept pretty well because I was so tired,

    Leaving Logrona Day 9

    but I think we have agreed we don’t want to stay in anymore Albergues if we can help it.  Some Camino “purist” will say you aren’t really doing the Camino unless you are sleeping in Albergues with other pilgrims.  These same “purists” also say you shouldn’t be carrying your phone with you.  Yeah right.  Like THAT is gonna happen.

    My Camino. My Way.

    There are many people who only stay in Albergues because that is what they can afford.  Since the Camino is so crowded right now many people are having trouble finding beds.  So we are trying to look ahead and book 4-5 days.  We talked to a man last night who was planning to take a bus today because he could not find an Albergue available in the next 80km.

    So as I nurse my wounds I also count my blessings;

    • I am lucky to have both resources and time enough to be flexible with my accommodations.
    • We can take days off – really many days as we have lots of time.
    • I am in pretty good shape and now have a better feel for my limitations.
    • I am walking with my best friend and the man I love.
    • He loves me back.

    So after the disappointing top bunk we are now in a lovely little boutique hotel taking two whole days to rest, read, sleep and drink wine.

    Enjoying wine with our feet up

    Eighteen miles on Monday. But it’s a new day and the wall will have to wait.

    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Finally – Spain and the Camino de Santiago

    Let me tell you a story –

    Five years ago I had never heard of the Camino de Santiago until one evening my husband mentioned it as something he would like to do. I have a very clear memory of that moment – because in hindsight I know how pivotal it was.

    After doing a little research we talked about tackling it the following year. But even though I was retiring that year my husband was not. He thought we should wait until we were both retired and could take our time and do the entire 500 miles.

    Then we thought, well, maybe we will take five or six weeks to walk the Camino and spend another couple of months in Europe.

    Then that conversation expanded to maybe we should go abroad for a year… or maybe indefinitely. And the next thing we were talking to our realtor and purging our belongings and beginning our new life.

    Whoa. It really happened like that. All from that one comment about wanting to walk the Camino.

    It’s been nine months now since we left the United States and through all our travels we have been focused and preparing for our personal pilgrimage. Significant in so many ways but for me most significant because we had a goal and we went for it. We didn’t just talk about doing something –  we changed our entire life and we feel great about it.

    If you like our blogs I would love for you to Pin It.

    So now the Camino. I hope we haven’t waited too long. The Camino, like every other destination, has grown in popularity substantially in the last few years. I hope it’s not too crowded. I hope it’s not too hard. I hope I can do it.

    But even if I can’t – if injury or sickness stops me – I’ve still accomplished so much. I am at my physical and mental peak and I’m excited and ready to go.

    Our three weeks in Lagos Portugal has been the

    A month in Portugal with our youngest.

    perfect final preparation – lots of hikes and training combined with lots of relaxation and healthy food. I’ve loved Lagos and I’m so glad we had the time here. It was especially great to spend this time with our son Erik.  He now heads back to the USA after being away for 32 months.

    We fly to Madrid on Monday. We have three days there to do final preparations and last-minute items before taking the train to Pamplona and a bus into France where we begin walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port on September first. We expect to finish somewhere around Oct 8-10th in Santiago Spain. 500 miles.

    PLEASE NOTE – I plan to do short and frequent blogs all along the way and daily I will post photos to My Fab Fifties Life Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter pages (except possibly the first two days while in France since my phone may not work in France). I hope you will comment and follow on any or all of these resources and share in our pilgrimage, as you have shared in all of our preparation.

    The time has come!  Finally – the Camino begins September 1st!


    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Your Imperfections Make You Who You Are

    In Control of my Camino

    After 57 years I have a friend in my body. I know it well. I listen when it talks. In return it is supportive and pretty reliable.

    I don’t use anti-aging creams and potions. I don’t try to act or look younger.  I have no interest in trying to look 30, act 40 or any other age than what I am. I proudly display my silver crown as grey Goddess. I’ve earned it. I am 57 without shame. Don’t tell me I’m too old for anything – I abhor ageism and the limitations it attempts to impose on me.  I heard a quote by Susan Sarandon just today , “As you get older, it’s your imperfections that make you who you are.”  Damn straight.

    I am not old. I just am. And I will walk 500 miles.

    For nearly a year we have been training for this walk.  If I’m not ready now I never will be.

    I am in control of the things I can control – I stopped running three weeks ago because my body said I should.  The constant sciatic pain disappeared when I didn’t run.  So for now, there will be no more running.  I’ll try again in a few months.

    I stopped taking my statin (after consulting with my doctor back home).  I slowly became aware the statin was causing me joint and muscle pain.  So for now, I’m off. In a few months I’ll have my cholesterol checked and make a decision with my doctor.  But for now, my body says no.

    We’ve walked and trained and walked some more. Only one training day left.  This I control.

    There will be things I can’t control- weather, sickness, injury, and more.  But I won’t dwell on these things.  There is no point.

    Instead I am excited. Ready. Hopeful. Prepared – and definitely not old.

    Time to enjoy the final training days of a year of preparation.  Grateful to this body for all it provides, including the wisdom of nearly six decades.

    Proud and Fabulous and Ready.


    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    To the Camino!

    Training body and soul for the Saint James Way

    For the past month here in Bulgaria I have become very cognizant of everything that goes into my mouth.  I have been cutting back on so many things, including alcohol, as we step up our preparedness for our 500 mile Camino de Santiago hike.

    Nine weeks till lift off.

    We are training for this hike pretty much everyday with our 8-15 mile hikes 3-4 times a week, my 4 mile run 3 times a week as well as yoga daily.

    Eating healthy

    But I knew I needed to do more so I’ve upped the protein and veg and reduced the carbs and sugar  (all easier to do in Bulgaria than in the Seychelles) and drastically cut back on the alcohol.

    Haven’t had a G&T since leaving the Seychelles.  And in this heat that isn’t easy.  We have had a little beer and some wine but only when we dine out.

    Hiking several times a week.

    Clearly this reduces calories and also saves money.  But mostly I am striving to be in my best possible condition nine weeks from now – both body and soul.  Because the most important thing is to avoid injury or sickness on the trail.  So starting out healthy is key. And being mentally and emotionally ready for the journey is important too.

    Although I am not a particularly religious person, I’m excited for the spiritual journey that is the Camino de Santiago.  I read a lot about pilgrims on the Camino and everyone’s experience is different.  For me spirituality is staying present and grateful all while opening myself to new and sometimes a bit frightening experiences.  I can do it .

    We purchased some scallop shells the other day to

    Urban hiking in Old Town Sozopol

    hang from our packs marking us as pilgrims.  This is tradition and says “Buen Camino” to others.  We expect to meet  and greet a lot of  pilgrims.  This too will be a new exercise for us, as we spend the majority of our days right now only with each other.  The Camino is a community in which we will participate for five or six weeks.

    This too will take practice in the weeks ahead.

    Camino ready!  Focused now and preparing for the challenge. Fab and Fearless.



    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    One Year. One Suitcase. One Backpack. One Green T-Shirt

    Chapter Eight

    Even though we just passed the six month out of the USA mark, today actually marks one year that we have been homeless and living out of a suitcase.  It was one year ago today that we began Chapter One of the Grand Adventure when we flew to Hawaii for one month. (Refresher – Chapter One Hawaii, Chapter Two Idaho/Wa Bike Tour, Chapter Three Ireland/Scotland/England/Norway, Chapter Four


    Betty Road Trip, Chapter Five SE Asia, Chapter Six New Zealand, Chapter Seven Seychelles, Chapter Eight Bulgaria)

    I’ve learned a lot living with only the things I can get in one suitcase and one backpack and it is frankly by far the most valuable lesson of all the lessons so far.

    Route 66

    Simple is best.  Simple is easiest.  Simple is fabulous.

    I stressed so much about what to pack when we were preparing for the journey.  And as the time has gone on its come down to the tried and true items


    that I wear over and over and over.  If you are a follower of my personal Facebook page you see me in the same clothes again and again.  Because those are the things that work.  If it doesn’t work it is either stuffed in the bottom of my suitcase or I have


    already rid myself of it.  I expect my clothes to work for me.

    The Green T-shirt is my best example. I have a green t-shirt that I have owned for at least twenty years.  Obviously they don’t make t-shirts like this anymore because it is a superb quality t-shirt.  The funny

    Ireland left and New Zealand right

    thing is I got it from my Mom, she didn’t like it and had only worn it a few times.  This was in 1997.  I remember because we were going to Japan and that is the first travel destination I took the green t-shirt.  And I am still wearing that darn


    thing today in Bulgaria twenty years and god knows how many millions of miles later.  I’ve shared several photos I could find of me over the years in that doggone t-shirt.

    Finding a simple, quality and comfortable piece of


    clothing is just what I need in my Fab Fifties and on the Grand Adventure.  I have a few other items with me that are pretty old (blue checked dress at least 20 years, navy blue blouse with white embroidery 11 years, and teal linen sundress 8 years) and have stood the test of time and when the day comes and they literally fall apart I will feel the loss.

    One suitcase.  One backpack.  One year.  It’s hard


    for me to imagine now why I ever needed all those clothes and shoes and handbags and stockings and lingerie and necklaces and earrings and scarves  and STUFF.  It feels good every time I put on my trusty green t-shirt and I know the pure joy of a simple,

    Burkina Faso

    uncomplicated and fabulous adventure life.  Year Two – suitcase in tow, green t-shirt ready to go.


    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Settled into a Fab Fifty Routine

    Chapter Seven

    There is one really good thing that has come out of our relaxed and remote month on the Seychelles.  Fitness.  We have the time, the desire and the space.  We have used it wisely.

    We wake up most days without any plans.  It was harder in New Zealand, where everyday had a plan that involved moving to the next destination.  Not to mention pretty hard to do yoga in the Kiwi Karavan.  Here in the Seychelles we have nothing but time – and plenty of space.

    So on the second day we arrived we began an

    Yoga on the patio

    intensive workout schedule, hopeful that after a month, we would be able to keep it going as we move forward in the adventure.  Our daily routine has developed into a mix of fitness, tanning, reading and scrabble.  Pretty awesome.

    I usually get up before Arne and sit outside with my coffee (instant Nescafe – miss my French Press but I’m getting used to it).  He joins me about thirty minutes later for coffee. Arne then makes our breakfast each morning – yogurt with fresh fruit.

    Running in our neighborhood

    Usually papaya, mango or sometimes apple.

    We then spend ten minutes doing a cardio program from an app on my phone, followed by 20-30 minutes of yoga led by yours truly.  I’ve taken enough yoga classes to be able to lead us through some of the asanas that are good for runners – particularly runners with sciatica issues like me.  We both have noticed a big difference in how we feel now that we have done the yoga everyday for nearly three weeks.  I’m certainly no yogi-master.  But we do pretty good considering.  We tried an app for this too, but it was too fast and hard to follow and we just decided there was no reason we couldn’t just do it on our own. I studied up online and refreshed on some poses I had forgotten and found some new

    Me and my fitness buddy

    ones for hip flexors and lower back.  And that is how I became the Yogi Un Master.  I now require Arne to call me Master.

    After yoga we plank.  Arne is up to four minutes!  I am struggling to get to 1:30.  I’m close.  We are doing straight arm planks now and geeze it’s hard.

    Then we run.  Unless it’s a hike day – then we hike.  Most days I run 3-5 miles and Arne does about six.  It’s hard in the humidity but we do it anyway.  I am much slower than I used to be – perhaps it’s the humidity.  Or my age.  Or the sciatica.  I push on.  Put in the miles no matter the time is – that’s my theory.

    Hiking in the Seychelles is a sweaty business

    We haven’t hiked as much here as we did in New Zealand, but we are trying to continue our training for the Camino.  I feel that I could do the Camino now – but I continue to worry about the sciatic issue – so we train, and stretch, and train.  And take a lot of ibuprofen. We plan to hike a lot in Bulgaria in June.

    We rented bikes here at the Airbnb but they are not in the best condition so I don’t love riding them.  But we do – a couple of miles to the beach or to the store.  That’s about it.

    Of course we go to the beach or hang here on the patio in the sun most everyday.  I make lunch which is usually sandwiches if we are headed to the beach or left overs if we are staying here.  And then everyday like clockwork we play Scrabble and drink two gin and tonics at 3pm.  I look forward to that part of the fitness plan!  My scrabble goal now is to beat Arne four games in a row.  So far I’ve only managed three in a row.


    We have only eaten dinner out once, and although challenging I have enjoyed creating healthy meals from the meager supplies available.  Some dinners have turned out better than others – but my darling husband will eat anything.  A good sport that one.

    I have no way of knowing if I have lost weight.  I

    Scrabble everyday.

    haven’t stepped on a scale since we were in Bangkok two months ago.  At that time I had dropped about 14 lbs since leaving the USA.  Another ten would be good.  However it’s also a good thing not to have access to the scale and not be a slave to it.  I’ve tried to learn to be more aware of how I feel than what I weigh.  I’ve never been a teeny girl and it certainly isn’t going to start now.  I just keep doing my thing.  I feel pretty fit and some of my clothes certainly hang different, making me think I’ve dropped a few more.  But the goal is really to feel good right?  And this old broad is feeling pretty good.  I’d probably


    drop ten pounds in a minute if I gave up those two gin and tonics each day.  But really, some things are just not worth the sacrifice.

    When I was running this morning I was thinking about the fact that it has been almost four years since I retired from my job (June 6th).  I was thinking about all those people (there were a lot of them) who said I would be bored.  Those people who really didn’t know me as well as they thought.  They thought I would be bored…LOL.  What do you think about me now?

    Onward. Fabulous.

    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Day One – Chapter Six

    Jetleg-Raindrops-New Zealand- Oh My!

    Jet lag – it wasn’t the longest flight I’ve ever had but close. Two hours from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur and then a four-hour layover. Next ten hours from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland. All in all from start to finish about 25 hours.

    We’ve learned some things over the years about jet lag. There are two antidotes we subscribe to – first try not to go to sleep as soon as you arrive no matter how hard it is. Staying up as long as possible and sleeping only when it is actually bedtime is the best way to quickly acclimate. We arrived, settled into our room and then walked to the grocery store before playing scrabble then finally laying down about 8pm. Slept until 8am.

    On our urban hike

    We planned this extra day to relax before we begin exploring. So today we did the second thing that is a jet lag reliever, we got some  fresh air. We did an urban hike of just under seven miles.

    Raindrops – we got wet on our hike but not in the least bit cold. In fact it is incredibly warm and muggy and also quit breezy. It is the very end of summer, early fall in New Zealand and we are prepared for all kinds of weather while we are here. So a little rain was no problem. As we look ahead though, we see a fairly optimistic forecast, so we may just need that sunscreen after all.

    On our urban hike

    New Zealand – this destination has been on our list for a very long time. Our son Erik lived here for six months when he was in high school. I’m excited to finally be here. It’s surprisingly tropical feeling. On our trek today we walked through a nature preserve where pine trees and palm trees were growing side by side. We look forward to seeing many interesting and new flora and fauna in this island nation. In fact we encountered a creature dead on the side of the road. After doing some research we think it was a kind of possum. It looked like this.

    Australian possum

    Oh My- tomorrow we are back on an airplane heading to the South Island. We will be back in Auckland later so we’re saving exploring that until then. So we fly tomorrow from Auckland to Christchurch. We then drive about five hours north. For two days we will be in an Airbnb that looks crazy fun!  It’s part camping, part cabin and part hippie-funk. So that will be interesting!  Following that we are off to a multi-day trek in the Abel Tasman National Park.

    And so it begins – Chapter Six – our New Zealand Adventure.

    Thanks for following!