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Health, Fitness & Fashion

    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!

    Health, Fitness & Fashion

    Generous Curves and Clothes That Fit

    Tailors of Hoi An

    Hoi An is known for its inexpensive tailor shops , where the tourists spend their money on fancy suits and dresses fit to order.  A souvenir to wear next summer at your niece’s wedding and say “I had it made in Vietnam.”

    I had a suit made a couple of years ago when I was in Beijing. It was dumb of me to choose a suit, since I haven’t worn a suit since I left my job. So that lovely hand tailored grey suit sits in storage.

    In Cambodia wearing my favorite linen pants.

    Instead,  here in Vietnam, I thought I might consider duplicating a couple of pieces of travel clothing that work really well for me.

    Now that we have been on the road for a while, I find myself falling back on my tried and true pieces – many of which I have had for decades and have traveled around the world with me on many trips.

    New pants in royal blue

    I’m a big fan of linen for travel, at least when traveling in hot climates.  Although it wrinkles in the suitcase, as soon as you put it on the wrinkles fall out.  With me on this trip I have two long sleeve linen blouses, one short-sleeve and one sleeveless. I also have one linen dress and one linen sundress.  In addition I have two pairs of drawstring cropped pants that I wear over and over and over.

    I’ve been keeping my eye out in shops here for something similar I could pick up cheap.  For me, however, the problem is always my “junk”.  I’m endowed with a delight “full” derrière which often makes its abundant presence known when I’m

    My fav linen dress

    shopping for clothes.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love and accept my body as it is. And in the words of Meghan Trainor “I can shake it shake it, like I’m supposed to do.”

    However, off the rack clothes in teeny tiny Vietnamese sizes are just not for me in all my glory.

    So instead of having something fancy made, I took

    Redesigned linen dress minus the sleeves

    my tried and true pants and one of my loose dresses to the tailor and had them make me new ones in a different color.

    My hot pink linen dress was duplicated as a sleeveless bright yellow chemise and I added a royal blue pair of drawstring pants to my collection.  I expect you will see me wearing both of these items a lot in photos in the months ahead. I spent $50 to have them made.

    I should mention the first tailor I went to wanted $125. I walked out.  We ended up at Tâm Thu, a small shop in the heart of old town.

    My son had a beautiful suit made for $85.  He has a wedding to go to next fall and he had nothing to

    My son looking pretty handsome in his new duds

    wear. He also had a custom pair of leather shoes made for $35. He will look super “fly” at the wedding.

    But for me my Fabulous Fifties Life calls for casual, loose and comfy. Not to mention practical, packable and posterior pleasing!



    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Thailand – Final Days

    Chapter Five – Three Weeks in Hua Hin

    Staying in one place for three weeks has been great. I don’t think I have felt this healthy and relaxed in…well…maybe never.

    Although Hua Hin does not have the most beautiful beaches in Thailand  (Phuket and Koh Samui both had clearer and more blue water) we have really grown to love it here.  Our little condo has been perfect (and cheap – $40 a night). Easy walk to the beach and a fabulous pool big enough to swim laps in. This has has been a plus. I have also made good use of the equipment in the exercise room.

    Funny though how different it feels than the night we arrived three weeks ago in the middle of a monsoon.  All the roads were underwater and trying to get to our condo seemed nearly impossible.  Remembering what it looked like when we ventured out for a walk the first few days – it’s not even the same place. The storm surge had flooded the beachfront restaurants. The high surf had washed in millions of shells and jelly fish. The roads and sidewalks were lakes and access to stores or taxis was impossible. Restaurants were closed. For the first few days we lived on food from the 7-11.

    It was kind-of-an adventure.

    But now we know the real Hua Hin; the night market and the weekend markets and the Songthaew, and the vendors. We met lots of guests at our condo from all over the world (we are the only Americans). We have been spoiled by the great staff as well as the owner of our condo (Autumn Condo if you ever find yourself in Hua Hin).

    We’ve eaten in most nights, in an effort to be frugal and also to be  “normal”.  And healthy.  I hope I have lost a few pounds – given all the exercise.

    But it’s time to go.  On to the next adventure in Southeast Asia (Chapter Five) – Vietnam.  We won’t have a chance to spend three weeks in one place while in Vietnam. In fact the longest we stay in one place now until May is 9 days.  I’m sure by the time May rolls around we will be ready to sit still for awhile.

    So, if you aren’t bored yet with My Fab Fifties Life Grand Adventure I hope you are ready for four weeks in Vietnam, one week in Laos and six weeks in New Zealand – this will take us through April.

    Come along! It’s fun having you follow!

    NOTE – We expect Facebook, Twitter and Word Press (our blog is Word Press) to be difficult and possibly impossible in Vietnam.  We won’t know for sure until we get there.  Please follow us on Instagram which we understand is a little easier.


    Health, Fitness & Fashion  --  Travel Around the World

    Out Of The Way And Worth It

    Chapter Five

    As a special treat on my birthday we decided to rent a car for the day and get out of the city.

    I’m so glad we did. We headed to the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, about an hour south from Hua Hin. We had heard about a hike to a cave with a hidden shrine. Sounded fun.

    We drove for about an hour, seeing some beautiful areas, very rural with lots of fields of pineapples.  We arrived at the hike entrance where we paid 200baht each (about 6 dollars- surprisingly expensive) to enter.  There were not many people, but the ones who were there were queueing for the boats that transport visitors around the headland to start the hike to the cave.

    Beginning the descent into the first cavern.

    We chose however to go over the headland, on a very steep and very rocky path. Once over the first mountain we began the straight up hike to the Phraya Nakhon Cave. It was only about 500 meters but it was unrelentingly steep. I’m sure I sweated gallons.

    The passage into the second cavern

    Oh but was it worth it. As you enter the cave you go deep down, first into a large cavern then through a passage way into another cavern. And then there it is. Like something out of a fairytale. A beautiful little shrine, sitting in the sunshine peeking down through the opening above the cave.

    I have had a few experiences in my life where I have tackled a physical challenge, to be so perfectly

    The gorgeous shrine

    rewarded. As I stood in the cave admiring the beauty and relishing the silence with only a handful of people, I thought of all the people back in their

    Ta Da!

    lounge chairs at the pool or on the beach. Those who can’t or won’t attempt a challenge despite the reward on the other side.

    I will strive to always be willing to at least try. The reward is so great.