Self Love Exercises – Part 8

From the Feel Good Tribe
8. Don’t be afraid to change direction if you realize something isn’t working out for you anymore.

Wow… this is a hard one for many of us. Often times we stay where we are because it’s just easier, or we feel committed, or we have kids, or or or.

I had to do this last year when I was MISERABLE in Al Ain working for a crazy person. I SO, SO, SO wanted to stay in the UAE and Abu Dhabi and I hung in there as long as I possibly could and I ate away my misery and put on 25 pounds in 6 months on my already obese frame. It was awful… comfort eating KFC chicken AND McD’s french fries EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Food I actually rarely ate in the first place!

But sometimes you need to bite the bullet and make a change for the positive. There were a few midwives that I worked with in Abu Dhabi who were so miserable that no one wanted to be around them… they complained about work and their home life constantly (this was at my first job there, the one that I really loved). I said to one of them one day, “if you are so miserable, why do you stay?”… she is still there… going on 8 miserable years, away from her family and home country… odd.

I am making a HUGE change… going home after living abroad for 4 years AND changing vocations… from midwife to health and fitness focus. It’s a big step. A scary step, but I’m doing it unafraid, because I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to!


A quote from a post a couple of years ago (warning, grab the tissues if you read the post!). The quote is from my dad, who came to me in a dream my first night walking the Camino de Santiago in 2010:
“Sandi, sometimes going right isn´t always the right way to go”. ~ Thomas Sandelier, II

Here’s a pic from that day:

Camino, Camino de Santiago, The Way

I would love to see how much easier it would be to do this walk without that extra 100 pounds!!! 🙂

Travel – Camino blog updates

Can’t upload from iPhone to my blog, so here’s an update from my iPhone journal:

Saturday, May 1, 2010
Rest day in Pamplona. Said good-bye to our friends Harriet & Carole and then got up to organize. What we didn’t realize is that it was a holiday and all the things that needed to be done, wouldn’t get done. Visited a lovely museum and church, then walked the route that the bulls run on. Then found an Internet cafe and caught up with emails. Then a leisurely lunch in the big square. My muscles are feeling a teeny bit better. Pilgrims dinner that was yummy and then to bed early!

Sunday, May 2nd
Estella to Los Arcos 23.5 kms, one big climb lots of little ones. Beautiful, ancient monestary just out of Estella. Long forest walk and fields of olives and grapes. The soil and the colors here are so rich! Dinner and bed at the Hostel Suetxe.

Monday, May 3
Los Arcos to Logrono 29.3 kms. News at cafe this morning shows thunderstorms over ALL of Spain and it’s only 12 degrees celcius! With raincoats on, we set out. Today the road mostly hugs the highway, but a couple of lovely forest strolls and 6 river crossings! Lovely lady up on the hills above Logrono with a dog named Lola (who we fed our lunchmeat to) stamped our walk passport and gave us a bit of shelter from the rain. Lovely walk through this pretty town, lunch at a place called Krunch, and now uploading pics via wifi and drying out & warming up. Wonderful, wet and beautiful day.

May 5th, 2010

Today is Int’l Midwives Day! Started the day in cold (5 C) and wet conditions. It didn’t improve at all, but walk we did.
We started in Najera this morning with a breakfast of omelette with potatoe in it and a cafe con leche. After eating we set out on an immediate ascent out of Najera. Our one and only forest walk was early in the day. We battled very strong, cold winds… thankful that we layered our clothes this morning. On top I have thermal underwear, Merina wool short sleeved top and wool vest, with my North Face windbreaker (more on that later!). Bottoms were long thermal bottoms and my hiking trousers. Wool socks and boots.
We walked steady to Azofra, where we stopped for a cafe con leche and banos break and ran into the Dutch guys again. The older one is walking the Camino in celebration of his 70th birthday! He marches past us regularly. Then onward and upward, 230 meters high over a 4 km walk! Tough mountain to climb, but we did it! Just outside of Ciruena we came up on a lovely park that had trash on the ground. It upset me because there were two garbage cans there! I spent 10 minutes of our break cleaning it all up and praying it stayed that way!
After leaving the park at the apex of the mountain we had a slight descent into a “golf community”. 18 hole golf course and 100’s of prefab homes. Looked so out of place! The irony is there wasn’t a single person around. Looked like a ghost town. A couple hundred meters down the road we came upon the real town of Ciruena. Beautiful old homes and a bar for lunch! Lucy had spaghetti with red sauce and I had bacon and cheese on toast. Here’s the more on my NF jacket. When I took it off I was soaking wet! The material doesn’t wick the moisture! I had to remove my Merina wool top it was so wet!
Just 5 kms more to walk. Didn’t run into that many pilgrims today. Had two more good climbs up pretty steep hills. The reward at the top of the first one was stunning views!!! I took the time to savor it and took a panaramic shot of the scene. Just gorgeous. The reward at the top of the second hill was that we could see Santo Domingo, our destination for the night. After walking around town lost for almost an hour we ran into our friend, Henry aka Enrique. He asked the people at his alburgue where our hostel was and then walked us there. He also showed me how to “vent” my jacket so I don’t end up soaking wet again!
We are staying in a hostel run by nuns. After resting for a bit we headed out to explore. Mass at the Chicken Church was at 730 and by gosh there WERE CHICKENS and ONE COCK in a cage IN THE CATHEDRAL!!! During the mass the choir would sing and then the rooster would cockle doodle doo. While the Bishop was speaking the hens were clucking, it was hilarious!
After mass dinner with Henry, Sylvia (from Spain) and Elvis (from Slovenia). How blessed I am to be meeting such wonderful people. I massaged Henry’s sore calf at the dinner table after we ate and hopefully worked out the cramp he had there, time will tell tomorrow when he is walking.
Well Lucy is sleeping and purring (she doesn’t snore, she purrs!) and I need to rest my weary bones!

Burgos… Beautiful city. Lucy and I explored the city and toured the cathedral, took about 2 hours, so much beauty to see! The cathedral was built in 1060. Amazing art work, paintings, tapestries and sculptures. The town square is friendly and busy and I had a lovely early dinner of scallops in the shell served by a friendly and informative server. To bed early!

Friday, May 7
Sitting in Hontanas right now, half way on today’s walk. It’s freezing outside, LITERALLY!! I’m not sure what the message is here. Who knows how much I HATE the cold?!? And add to that the rain/sleet/slushy stuff… I’m starting to question my sanity! I did learn something on the walk today… my rain cape works as a wonderful cover up for side of the road potty breaks, LOL. I’m now fondly calling it the potty poncho! On a positive note, the countryside is pretty and I feel fortunate to be able to experience God’s creations!
Lucy and I made it into Castrojeriz around 230 pm. Pretty village. Checked into hostal then off to discover the town. Met a lovely Irish couple who do about 10 days of the Camino each year. In the pub we met a local guy from Burgos who is walking with his dog, Kenya. He told Lucy that she was prettier than Kenya 🙂 I told Lucy that Kenya’s daddy is an obvious dog lover and this was a mucho compliment! We had dinner with Villem from Holland and then back to the hostal for hot baths.

Mother’s Day and the end of my Camino. I have learned some amazing things about myself and I’m so grateful to have taken the time to do this.
I now feel quite compelled to visit my family for the last 2 weeks of my holiday! I miss them tremendously and can’t wait to see their faces when I knock on their doors and surprise them.
I’m sitting on a train going from Leon, Spain to Hendaye, France. Lucy and I will stay there tonite and then to Paris and London tomorrow. Spanish airspace closed due to volcano, praying that UK airspace stays open so I can fly home to Florida!!
The countryside is beautiful. In comparison to the US, Europe is aged and historical. The hostal that Lucy and I stayed in on Friday night was built in the 14th century! As we walked through villages and as we pass on the train, we see walls built centuries ago to ward off invaders, forts that are remarkably untouched and intact.
Arrived in Hendaye, France and bought Eurostar tix to Paris for tomorrow. Will stay tonight in the Campinale Hendaye.

Monday, May 10
Happy Birthday, Sydnie Renae!! After breakfast, boarded the 0753 train to Paris. Lovely coastal ride for the first hour. Got to Paris a little after1 pm. Chunnel train tix were 362 Euro!!! I said no way. Took air France bus to airport and got round trip to Miami back to London for 625 Euro. Stayed the night at Comfort Inn.

Tuesday, May 11
Happy Birthday, Sadie Rose!!!! Are you going to be surprised tonight! Got to Heathrow Terminal 5 around 8 with no gate assigned… ugh. But, by the time I bought a latte and bacon butty, Gate B37 was announced. I am now sitting on the plane, happier than I’ve been in a long time. I’ve been humming the song by the Black-Eyed Peas, “I gotta feelin”.. Cuz tonites gonna be a good nite, cuz tonites gonna be a good good nite!!!
Plane landed on time, waiting for Charity to pick me up. Then I have to figure out how to get to Stuart… such an adventure, this holiday!

Travel – Ain´t no mountain high enough!

Wednesday, April 28… Last night I had a dream with my dad in it. My dad was my best bud, I adored him. He always had the best advise! He died nearly 18 years ago, and twice since then I´ve felt him near me. Last night was the 3rd time. I dreamed that we were driving in a car on a rural highway and there was a tornado coming right for us. I kept telling him, “Daddy, you MUST go right!!!” He looked over at me and the message I got was, “Sandi, sometimes going right isn´t always the right way to go”. He then proceeded to drive straight through the tornado! When we came out the other side of the tornado, I was driving and my dad was gone. This left me incredibly sad, yet unafraid to tackle the road ahead. I feel so fortunate whenever my dad “visits” me.

A left groin sprain prevents me from continuing the walk up to Roncelvalles. Disappointing, but I would rather rest it and continue the Camino, than push past it and possibly have to quit. Guiermmo, the transporter takes me back down to St Jean, then up to Roncevalles, where we stayed in a room for four with Carole from England and Harriet from Sweden. A really nice room with two beds down and two beds up in a loft, very cool! Excellent pilgrim dinner and then a long hot bath and a beautiful, blessed, blissful sleep!

Thursday, April 29…

Walk from Roncevalles to Larrasoana. Up and down 4 mountains, 29 kms, rugged and steep declines, one was 10%grade! Exhausting, painful, AMAZING! I almost quit in Zibiri, but talked myself into doing the last 4.7 kms, worth the satisfaction of finishing! Stayed at the Refuge du Peregrinos in a 4 bedded room with Lucy, Carole and Harriet and across the hall from the 4 Irish sisters… they´re a hoot! Yummy pilgrims meal of asparagus, steak & fries and ice cream. Sore as hell… Slept like a log!

Friday, April 30…

Woke as sore as when I went to sleep, LOL!! Walking like an old lady, wondering how in the world I will be able to walk today! Had nuts, fruit & cafe con leche for brekkies and took 1000 mg of Acetominophen. I started the ascent up the mountain and within 20 minutes or so I was walking just fine. Some pain, but manageable… I think my muscles just gave in and humored me… LOL! Beautiful hike through the mountains. About 7 kms into the hike I had two choices, down (the easy route) or up where there was a beautiful church. The easy route is for sissies (I tell myself little fibs to get me moving!) and I took the ascent up to see this church. Carole & Harriet were there, and the nun, Maria, offered her bathroom to us. She had wonderful Gregorian chant music on, and the church and hospitality were worth the hike up! While up there, I opened up a saved email from my friend Alice Sanpere, and read it aloud to Carole. This is what it says: “I cannot wait to hear your impressions as you work through the physical pain, move into the mental challenges and swoon with spiritual growth. You´ll see what I mean. LOVE”. Alice… I am definitely seeing what you mean! Your words brought happy tears to me and Carole as we sat at this church listening to the chants and praying. Your words inspire me daily, bless you!

An interesting descent after the church and then lunch in Arre. We had a nice 30 minute break there before heading on to Pamplona. We are all walking like little old ladies, but delighted we´ve made it this far. I am ready for a blessed sleep tonite… and I got it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A holy day here in Spain. Everything is closed. Lucy and I are taking a rest day here because we want to explore Pamplona. We have been to a museum, and walked the route that the bulls take during the running of the bulls. That´s my update for now! Ciao!

Travel – On our Way

Friday night, April 23… taxi to AD airport.

Saturday, April 24.. Flight from AD to Casablanca, Morocco. The landing was aborted just before we touched down!!! I laughed my ass off, which is what I do when I think I´m going to die! We had to circle because there was ground fog and they couldn´t see anything (this is what the pilot told us… LOL). Anyway, finally landed around 930 a.m. local time. Train to Tanger 6 long hours! We stayed the night in an Ibis Hotel and had a traditional teagine dinner… bed early… exhausted. Travel Day 1 is done.

Sunday, April 25… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BIG GIRL CELESTE ALENA THE BALLERINA!!! Took the ferry from Tanger, Morocco to Algecerias, Spain… 35 minutes, but time difference is 2 hours! Talk about being confused! Taxi to Malaga, Spain and we can´t get a train, bus is out because I´ll puke, so we go to the airport and rent a car. a cute little Peugeot. Stop at 10 pm in La Guardia, Spain, about an hour south of Madrid. It´s a truck stop-hotel. Bacon & Cheese sandwiches for dinner & breakfast the next morning… I´m a happy hiker 🙂 Day 2 of travel done and over…

Monday, April 26.. taking us FOREVER to get to SJPdP!!! On road by 900 am. Spanish countryside is amazing! Arrive at Pamplona airport to drop off the rental at 400 pm, taxi to St Jean Pied de Port 1.5 hours… We´re FINALLY at the start of our walk… 6 days behind, but here! Went wrong way up the steep road and ended up at a wonderful hostel, hosted by Jaques & Francois. I THOUGHT they said dinner was bread pudding, and it was delicious. Lucy informed me after the fact that it was traditional Basque BLOOD PUDDING. LOL!!! Good thing thing I didn´t know in advance. Met some really wonderful people at the hostel, John, a journalist from Argentina and Henri, an Irish/Spanish bloke for Madrid who has taken a year off to travel and the loudest snorer in the world, Pierre, who has horrible sleep apnea, but a lovely smile. Can´t wait to get started in the morning.

Tuesday, April 27… after drinking cafe latte from a bowl for brekkies, Lucy and I laced up our boots, grabbed our walking sticks, strapped our backpacks to our backs and set off with Henri & John. After half hour of climbing up, up, up John & Henri went ahead and Lucy and I continued on the hardest walk of my life! 9 kms, mostly at an incline, climbing to 1000 meters. It took me 5 hours to do it, but I DID IT! At times I would take 70-100 steps and rest for a minute, then do it again. Lucy was amazingly patient, I am so grateful for her. I mostly listened to the soundtrack from G I Jane… quitting IS NOT an option 🙂 Just when I honestly thought I couldn´t go another step, Orrison appeared around the bend, al humdilalah! This is our stop for the night and I am so happy! No inside beds, we are in a tent tonite, and Lucy has invited a lovely Japanese girl, Mika, to stay in our tent, since there was nothing available for her… the more the warmer, is what I say!!! More tomorrow!

Travel – Everything you need in a ruck sack weighing 6.25 kg

Well… after not being able to get on the flight Tuesday night because of the volcano that no one can pronounce the name of, we’ve rebooked to fly to Casablanca, train to Tangiers, ferry to Spain, and hopefully catch a flight to northern Spain. We’re literally flying by the seat of our pants, but dammit… WE’RE GOING TO WALK THE CAMINO… 😀

The bag is packed, and weighs 6.25 kg, that’s 13.77 lbs. I’m proud that this is what I’ve whittled a 5 week walking holiday down to. Just the essentials… everything I need for my holiday is here:

The only extra thing that is packed is Oreo, a class project for a cool kid I’ve never met in Connecticut. Doing a favor for my school chum, Teri. Oreo will fly back to the U.S. from Pamplona after my 3rd day of walking… I’m happy to have the extra 200 grams of weight. Here’s a pic of Oreo, just before I put him to bed in my pack:

And here he is all snuggled in for the long plane ride to Casablanca:

So, off I go! I will miss my daily chats with a lot of you on facebook, and interacting on Mafia Wars, but it will be a nice break! I will try to send updates from the trail, when internet is available. I hope all of you have as marvelous and adventurous 5 weeks, as I will!

Love, love….


Travel – All Booked!!

So… after TONS of research, months of playing around on airline websites, dozens of hours up late reading Camino forums for advise… we’ve got all of our transportation from Abu Dhabi to SJPP (St Jean Pied de Port) and back finally booked! 😀

I could not be happier. I was able to book the last tickets this afternoon after Lucy found a better way back to London from Spain! Here’s the itinerary:

21 April
Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow LV 0235 arrive 0720 on Etihad Airways
Bus to London Stanstead airport
London Stanstead to Biarritz LV 1215 arrive 1505 on RyanAir
Caroline taxi service will pick us up at Biarritz and drive us to SJPP (thanks to the forum for that recommendation!!)
Where we will check into L’Esprit du Chemin ( for a good meal and hopefully a restful sleep… we start our journey after breakfast early morning on the 22nd!

22 April to 25 May walk to Santiago approximately 22-25 km per day

26 May
Santiago to London Stanstead LV 1135 arrive 1240 on RyanAir
Overnight at Lucy’s mom’s house

27 May
Bus to London Heathrow from Stanstead airport
LHR to Abu Dhabi LV 1445 arrive 0050 (28 May) on Etihad Airways

There is something energizing about having it all booked. All I have to think about now is continuing my condition training… all the supplies are bought, all the transportation booked… WOO HOO!

5 weeks 0 days… but who’s counting?

Buen Camino!


Travel – To Amsterdam we went…

So Lucy and I went to Amsterdam to buy the stuff for our walk. For those of you who have been living under a mushroom and haven’t heard me say or mention (ad nauseum) the “walk” is the Camino de Santiago, aka The Walk of St James aka the Santiago Compostela. Here’s a link for some info on it:

We leave April 21, 2010 from Abu Dhabi and hope to finish it by May 27th. We will walk approx. 25 km per day, that’s 15.53 miles per day.

Lucy and I flew to Amsterdam on Wednesday, March 3rd and returned on Sunday, March 7th… not long enough! Here’s some pics from the trip:

The top pic is me at the airport in Abu Dhabi as we get ready to leave… good practice, only took my hiking back pack, weight: 4.5 kg, that’s just under 10 pounds.

The 2nd pic is Lucy and me having lunch at a lovely restaurant across the canal from the Anne Frank house, which we didn’t get to visit because the cue was more than 45 minutes and it was raining and it was 2 degrees C!

The 3rd pic is Sacha and me. I met Sacha at this store last August when Nick and I were in Amsterdam before our Italy holiday. Sacha remembered that I said I’d be back! We bought everything we need for “the walk” at this store, the Bever Women’s Swerfsport store and their parent store down the street.

We had a great time in Amsterdam and also had dinner with my friends Peter & Sylvia who were in Vanuatu with me in 2005.

I can’t imagine needing anything else for my trip… here’s a pic of my pack with all the stuff I bought:

From the top and clockwise: My vest, clear document keep dry pouch, little black pouch is my clothesline and the yellow thing is a solar light source, my purple cap, light blue thing is my wind/rain breaker, the red thing in the black net looking bag is my silk sleep sack, below that one of 3 pair of hiking, zip pants and the belt to keep them up with, next to that, one of 3 pair of wool socks, the red thing next to that is the rain pancho that goes over me AND the pack, above that is the tan zip pants, my toothbrush/paste in one thingy and next to that another pair of wool socks, next to the pancho are my sexy black long johns (LOL), my teal short sleeved hiking shirt, above that my black long sleeved hiking shirt, above that my light weight water bottle, to the right of that my map from village to village and it tells you where the refugios are, and to the left of the water bottle my light weight carry all bag, for carrying personal effects, passport and money to the shower, and last but not least, my green short sleeved hiking shirt.

The long johns and shirts and purple skull cap and my buff (in the pack so not in pic) are made by Icebreaker, a company that make clothing from pure NZ merino wool.

Here’s their web site:

I will blog about packing and preparing up to the trip. Then, hopefully, I’ll be able to blog about the trip at least once per week… keeping my fingers crossed! 🙂 If not, you’ll hear all about it when I get back!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week… I AM 🙂


Dentistry and other stuff

Well, I had my 2nd visit at the dentist today. I can’t get my crown done until the ROOT CANAL that was supposedly done in Florida is redone. After having another xray done today, the dentist here found that there was “something” in my tooth canal, but it wasn’t what it was suppose to be.

So, she prodded and found COTTON PACKING! And a pocket of decay due to an infection that I’ve had at some point since the unfinished root canal, presumably from the cotton packing.

She has now referred me to the endodontist for completion of the root canal that wasn’t done properly in Port Salerno, then I’ll go back to her for my crown. I am not, needless to say, a happy camper. Thank GOD I have dental insurance here in the 3rd world, middle eastern country that I live in, that will pay 80% of the tab.

On a happier note… my 1300 calorie a day diet is going well. Health Factory is delivering 3 meals and 2 snacks each evening at around 7 pm. The food is gluten free (per my request) and organic! A bit pricey, but I don’t have to think, and that works well for me! Today’s menu:

Gluten free Bagel w/ Cream cheese, raw veggies and jasmine green tea.

Morning Snack:
Strawberries and Pineapple chunks

Coleslaw Salad and Seafood Pasta (gluten free)… it had shrimp, calamari and fish in it… YUM

Afternoon Snack:
Fresh Fruit Melody

Soba noodle salad dinner w/ peanut sauce

I am satisfied and not hungry. I also went on a 6.5 km walk this morning and did some weight training.

Countdown to Camino de Santiago… 10 weeks and 1 day!

I hope everyone is having a FABULOUS week!