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Days 6-12 Camino de Santiago. Rejuvenated, inspired, not yet peaked

I just can’t believe how much I’m enjoying just listening to the birds and listening to the wind.  It quiets my mind. I know you’re shocked to know but I have a very active mind. It just never stops, which works some of the time, if not most of the time.  But it’s nice to quiet it and just listen. Buen Camino

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Contents with Time-Stamped Headings

to listen where you want to listen or read where you want to read (heading. time on podcast xx:xx. page # on transcript)

Just listening. 1

Week 2: 01:13. 1

Inspired 02:30. 1

Quieting my mind 04:48. 2

Tap, tap, tap of my two canes 06:37. 2

A crazy dream 10:20. 2

Mobility package 10:53. 3

White storks in Portomarin 11:21. 3

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral 11:46. 3

Heading home to Boston 12:41  3


Rien MacDonald’s Hope Initiative podcast

Maria Xenidou’s Impact Learning podcast

Regina Holliday’s Cinderblocks conference

Marly Camino Guided Tours



Music by permission from Joey van Leeuwen, New Orleans Drummer, Composer

Photo of the Pilgrimage Certificate by Danny van Leeuwen

About the Show

Welcome to Health Hats, empowering people as they travel together toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen, a two-legged, old, cisgender, white man with privilege, living in a food oasis, who can afford many hats and knows a little about a lot of healthcare and a lot about very little. Most people wear hats one at a time, but I wear them all at once.  We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in healthcare’s Tower of Babel.  Let’s make some sense of all this.

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The Show

Just listening

I just can’t believe how much I’m enjoying just listening to the birds and listening to the wind.  It quiets my mind. I know you’re shocked to know but I have a very active mind. It just never stops, which works some of the time, if not most of the time.  But it’s nice to quiet it and just listen.

Week 2

Good morning.  It’s day 10 of the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage.  Today, I’m going to be going from Palas de Rei to Castaneda, Spain – about 14 miles. Palas de Rei is a large town, feels urban, small Urban. And I’m going to Castaneda which is a small town. So that’ll be really different.  And I confess to being pretty grumpy when everybody finally made it to the hotel last evening and we went out to eat and hang out.  I don’t know why I was grumpy. Nothing particular. I’m not particularly feeling left out. Just grumpy. I guess part of the ups and downs all life. And so, this morning it’s about 9:00 in the morning and I’m waiting for 10 o’clock. I’m going to get picked up to taxi me and the luggage to the next place.


I’ve been feeling inspired this morning. I’ve been listening to Rien MacDonald’s Hope Initiative podcast. I highly recommend it. He’s a fabulous interviewer and he knows such interesting people. He brings out the best.  He started interviewing his 12-year-old sister and then his mom and his dad and his grandmother and bunch of friends in a car trip and a man who was cleaning his windshield and now I was just listening to a marathon or who did like 47 marathons in 47 days or 48. I don’t remember. But anyway, I was really inspired by him. And then I was really inspired by Maria Xenidou’s Impact Learning podcast. It’s really good.  Gave me a lift. So, I’m not so grumpy. And I had a text exchange yesterday with Regina Holliday who has the Walking Gallery and she has a Cinderblock conference in July, which I think is really fabulous. I’m going to put something together for her conference. The topic is Rest and Rejuvenation, which seems appropriate here in my second week of my pilgrimage.  My wife and I were trying to remember the last time we took two weeks off. Goodness, it was 12 years ago. We went to Amsterdam with my uncle Leon and that was a blast. But otherwise we’ve gone away for a week maybe or a few days. But two weeks, that’s really different. Focusing on rest and Rejuvenation is a good idea.

Quieting my mind

I just can’t believe how much I’m enjoying.  Just listening to the birds and listening to the wind.  It quiets my mind. I know you’re shocked to know but I have a very active mind that just never stops. Which works some of the time if not most of the time. But it’s nice to quiet it and just listening. So now I’m hearing just out the window. You probably can’t hear it, but I’m hearing Road sounds.  And at least a couple different kind of birds. I see the swallows floating around catching the bugs.  It’s a beautiful day. The sky is blue totally blue. And in the distance, I can see about I don’t know upon the hill, there’s maybe a dozen windmills.  Supposed to be well into the 80s today, which will be tough for the walkers. And tougher me with MS. Hot as hard.  Really cold is hard too. I think my temperature regulation is not what it once was. But anyway. Alright more to come after I get to the next stop.

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Tap, tap, tap of my two canes

Ok. I’m at the Albergue Turistico Salceda. I’m in Salceda, bucolic farmland. You hear that tap tap tap? That’s my two canes.  I’m trying to walk here with a lapel mic and my recording device catching all these different sounds. We’ll see how it works. I can hear the traffic of the road.  I can hear a chainsaw. I can hear birds.  I’m walking down the road and trying to avoid a lot of cow poop.  I think it’s cow poop. Might be horse poop. But since there’s a lot of cows around here.  I think it’s.  I’m wondering if I would just meet up with a herd of cows. Beautiful farmland.  Rolling hills. Looks like the hay has just recently been cut. The atmosphere here is restful. Oh, my goodness, my legs are sore. I didn’t walk that much yesterday only about 4,000 steps, but almost 8,000 the day before. I might not be doing the 40,000 a day that the hikers are doing, but it’s good for me. Starting to get pretty hot supposed to be in the 80s, which is a little rough for me. But still tolerable. I’d say it’s in the mid-70s now. After a while, I think my room will be ready. I’m very early.  I’m just been hanging out now. I’m just taking a little walk. But after my wife gets to a certain point, I will get my chair and I will try to motor a few kilometers and meet them.  I enjoy being able to do a little bit like that. Alrighty, well, I’m headed back. Good to stretch my legs. What a lovely, lovely spot.

A crazy dream

You know, I had a crazy dream in Salceda. I was smoking a lot of pot and trying to impress a girl I just met. She asked why I smoked so much pot. I told her I had a seizure disorder and I needed the Cannabis to manage it. ‘Well, then,’ she said, ‘how can you be driving?’ I said that’s what the pot’s for. Dreams don’t have to make sense. Putting dreams in podcasts about my pilgrimage doesn’t have to make sense either.

Mobility package

I’m impressed with how well my Mobility package is working – two canes, electric wheelchairs and taxis. My grandson commented on the challenge of finding a Christmas present for me. He said, ‘Opa I don’t know what to get you. You have everything.’ He gave me a coupon book with five walks with him.  He was thrilled because it didn’t cost him anything. I do have everything life is good.

White storks in Portomarin

One of the more interesting sounds I’ve heard this week has been the white storks I heard in a nest in Portomarin.  Check it out.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Marly Camino, our tour company, arranges an amazing personalized tour of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. I was most impressed by the stories in stone wood and tapestries. The graphic novels of the ages what went into editing and producing these stories the politics in the financing would be another crazy story as well. I peaked when I was able to record the Bells from inside the cathedral.

Heading home to Boston

Well, it’s back to Boston. Back to my effective routine for best health, peak performance, and satisfying life. I’m rejuvenated and inspired but not yet peaked. Thanks for joining me and thanks to the sound of that pompous, marginally useful bird – the rooster.

Danny van Leeuwen

Patient/Caregiver activist: learn on the journey toward best health