(TravelGal) All About the Weight..

walkingIt’s been some time since I’ve posted about traveling and trips. Among my other occupations (working for money, writing about vampires, writing about technical matters) I have been training for my trip to Ireland this coming May. There was a time when training was easier – or maybe it’s just that distance and memory makes it so. For a trip I took to northern New Mexico, I trained by walking up the 22 flights of stairs where I worked once a day, every day. I remember the ache of sad muscles, the early days when the air burned and my side hurt, but in the end there was that feeling of triumph when I could get all the way to the top, barely breaking a sweat.

Now it’s four years later and mid-menopause and what can I say? It is perfectly clear to me that the person who wrote, “I Enjoy Being a Girl,” was a man. There is little enjoyable about menopause, though it does make great grist for fiction and humor. In particular, its the short-term memory loss my muscles have inherited that rustles my jimmies. I cross train four nights a week and spend hours on the treadmill. My calorie count is pegged at 1300 a day. There are signs of improvement, but it doesn’t take more than two days of rest for my muscles to say, “exercise? tone? what?”

I come home exhausted, but still struggle with the two AM recreation of that scene from the The Karate Kid where he paints the fence. Covers on. Covers off. Covers on. Covers off. I am told it will end at some point, and like every traveler who has labored up a steep trail on the promise that there is a breath-taking horizon beyond, I hold hope that it will be the case.

When you travel distance, carrying your existence on your back, you know that weight counts – not just what’s in your pack but the personal weight that impacts knees and ankles. The first two days on the trail I always feel every surplus pound, every part of my own preparedness.

And so I work now, pushing muscles, knowing its not just the fabric of my body, but of my mind that is slowly taking shape. While this trip is not about conquering high ridges and narrow trails, it still requires the right frame of mind. There will be moments when the sky opens and a cold wind blows. There will be people who may be less than cordial to a bedraggled traveler. There will be aches and pains and stubborn stoves on cold nights.

It is the attitude you bring that dictates whether these inevitable moments are the things you hated or the memories that made this one count.


14 thoughts on “(TravelGal) All About the Weight..

  1. Last night I did the same thing with the blankets….menopause isn’t for sissies! Looking forward to hearing about your travels on the Emerald Isle. I’ll be flying into Cork with my daughters for their first visit to Ireland in May. Looking forward to showing them the sights. I don’t know if we’ll make it to Dingle on this trip, Caha Pass, Ladies Lookout and the Ring of Kerry are on the agenda. Slainte!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was lucky to have a fairly easy menopause. If I had to get old, not menstruating anymore certainly is a major plus.. Your training schedule makes me tired. I need to develop a regular exercise schedule to strengthen everything and lighten the load on my joints. Two months into retirement and I am still going in circles. I admire that you challenge yourself and have no doubt you will meet the challenge. A few days on the trail and you will be in the zone (whatever that is).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Funny you say that. When I made it to six months without the period I went out and celebrated. For the first time in my tom-boyish life, I bought really sinful underwear… and I made sure it matched. Boy, was I styling, until it returned the following month. The next time I made it almost 8 months. I’m at the 8 month mark again… fingers crossed.


  3. Yet, you, my friend, have a marvelous attitude and the greatest sense of humor! You’ll do this and hold each & every one of those memories dear. I have such admiration and respect for what you’re doing now & your May plans. Remember, I’m tagging along in spirit! πŸ™‚ You’ll be ready. You’re so determined that you’ll just make those muscles get in line, too. I know it.

    You’re right! The one who wrote that song had to be a man. For me this started in my late 30’s, lasted until my early 40’s, and then went away. I thought it was all over! HA! It’s been back with vengeance now for at least two years. I’m told by my mom & aunts that menopause is a little different for all of us, but it never really ends. It eases, and then the symptoms return somewhat like a period so at least you know when to expect them. It’s good to know that sleep returns though, isn’t it? I can’t wait. You’ll be over there on the Emerald Isle exhausting yourself in daily hikes surrounded by beauty, then sleeping peacefully and dreaming of all the glorious things you’ve seen that day and all that is to come! Lucky you! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am glad to hear that you are getting in shape for your trip. I hope you are able to enjoy all of the sights. A few years ago I went to Gatlinburg for a friends wedding. While we were there I thought it would be fun to go see a waterfall in the Smokey Mountains. The welcome center guy gave me different choices. I steered clear of the one that he said were a hike or several miles long. He gave me directions to one that he said was about a mile walk. Well he didn’t say the mile was straight up hill. I don’t know about you but I think of a walk as flat terrain. I made it to the waterfall only to see all of these visitors spread out over the bridge. I couldn’t even walk across the bridge to enjoy looking or even take a picture of the waterfall. I was really disappointed. Then the walk back down the hill was worse than the walk up.

    I was considered pre-menopausal for 12 years. It finally happened. I was good for about 4 years. I have now started the hot flashes at night. I really have a backwards body. I hope it doesn’t take you as long.

    Have a wonderful time in Ireland. I am jealous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember a couple of those walks. You finally get there but find yourself covered in flop sweat, gasping and wondering why you didn’t have the sense to turn around halfway up.
      But of course – it’s because it’s there.

      You are right about downhill – MUCH harder than uphill, particularly with weight. I use a trekking pole to give me a third point and help on steeper inclines to take some of the stress off my knees.

      Smokies are so beautiful! My sister talks about retiring in that area, and I hope she does. Great excuse to visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Menopause is not for sissies. Your experiences brought back not so fond memories of my time in purgatory. Of couse when I had the experience, everyone thought estrogen was the magic elixir that cured menopause. Before all the bad stuff started coming back about the increase in other much worse medical problems from taking it.
    I hope your trip to Ireland it wonderful, never been there, but all the pictures and movies I’ve seen (The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara immediately comes to mind) make it clear it is a beautiful place.Look forward to what you share with your readers when you get back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Good to know there is another side. I have a doctor who is on the suffer through side. I don’t want HRT, but I can’t believe there isn’t an alternate. I eat tofu since soy is supposed to help Of course, the pork and spices I mix it with may offset some of the benefits…
      Will be my first time officially in Ireland. Can’t wait!!


  6. Maybe you should consult a menopause specialist. I couldn’t sleep anymore, my workdays became an horror trip, plus 3 teenagers at home, I decided to act on it : I googled the name of THE menopause specialist in Paris and the problem was solved within a week !!! I went back on a mini-birth pill (no breast cancer in the family) which saved my bones, my skin and my libido … The symptoms all stopped at once, it was magical …and I could resume a normal life ! I also decided to loose over 20 pounds and went to see another specialist : I lost very slowly, like 2 pounds per month … and the problem was solved within a year !! Finally, I decided to undergo surgery (my belly after giving 3 births deserved it) to complete the whole process and bought myself a water rower to exercise at home on a regular basis. This way, I made sure there was no coming back after all these efforts ….My menopause was a true “wake-up call”. After the kids, a whole life working mum, it was “me time” …. When I lost my job with the economical crisis and was deemed “too old” on the market (what about experienced ??) , I opened my own business a few years later and am now assured to work for as long as I want. So menopause is a bitch, unless you decide to take action. In my case, it was a rescue mission ! And, of course … I discovered fanfiction : which is also a fantastic way to practice my English on a daily basis : so, thank you for keeping us in mental shape πŸ™‚ and our libido up !!
    Last but not least … since I’m always the optimist … I met Alex twice n 2015: first at the red carpet and again on the next day at the hotel I was staying in Gent last October with my Belgium fanfic friend Isanie ! Our pics and conversation with Alex to be found on Skarsjoy’s site… He really enjoyed talking to menopaused women : the exchange was definitively more mature !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved reading this!!
      It’s interesting you mention low-dose birth control. My sister moved through menopause with barely a care because she was birth control and didn’t realize she was done. Doctors in country are not about birth control. They are all about hormone replacement, which is much more invasive.
      As for wake-up call? I’m there! Writing in a way I haven’t in years. Teaching. Speaking professionally. Traveling overseas. It is wonderful! Like coming to life again.

      Medicine is such a for-profit business in the United States, I truly believe it’s about what pharma is promising the most for their over-priced pill. I hope the day comes when we are finally able to understand that health care is a right, not an option for those who can pay. We are making some baby steps.
      As for me? I’m looking into getting me some birth control! Thanks!!


  7. I know how you feel, getting your life back, working, writing, traveling .. It’s exhilarating and the more you do, the easiest it seems to be … dreams becoming reality ! Realizing that all you had to do was to act on them, right ?

    If you get birth control mini pill, make sure you take the 4 weeks one so you can get rid of your evasive periods once and for all ….freedom !!!! Be aware that the mini-pill won’t be a 100% protection for (late & surprise) pregnancy. Safe sex recommends using a condom anyway.
    So, please stick to it. Also check your DHEA levels which tends to decline with age. Testosterone is not only good for guys … And get a yearly check-up to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Make the appointment for the next one each time you go so you won’t skip it !! They’ll tell you 2 years is fine … don’t listen.

    Enjoy your next trip, bon voyage !!


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