Home Bio Speaking Q&A with Sandy
Recommended Reading Underdog Stories
Sandy's Corner Contact
Underdog Movies Videos


Reflections on the Inca Trail...one year later!                           June 2010

Sandy looking into the distance

At this time last year, I was on my way to Peru for the adventure of a lifetime - and one of the harshest physical ordeals I have ever endured. While the trip we had planned was supposed to be a 4-day trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, civil unrest in the region caused transportation strikes and we had to do the whole thing in 2&1/2 days. Ooooooouuuuuuuuuuccccccccchhhhhhhh. Reflecting back, I am still amazed that I even survived it at all!

After 9 & hours of trekking on day 1, my tent-mate Amberly and I were up a few hours later at 2am with altitude sickness, and then the wake-up call came at 4am to get ready for day 2. With a few steep mountain passes to ascend and descend on day 2, it was going to be hard - and with the added nausea thrown in, I felt ready to give up and die right then and there. But with no rescue helicopter option nor any option to turn back, the only choice was to somehow muster the strength to get up and get moving. Ever. So. Slowly.

Sandy - morning, day 2

The highest point of the trek that we would do that morning was known as "Dead Woman's Pass" - which seemed entirely appropriate at the time! Never, ever have I felt such immense pain in my legs, and while I had hiking poles to help and lean on, nothing seemed to help to get air into my lungs. I still cannot fathom how I made it up there, but I will never forget the cheering and hugs from my teammates as I finally joined them at the summit. Hardship brings people together in a way that nothing else can. It was all a bit of a blur and I don't remember many of the details, but I remember feeling proud.

The trip certainly taught me a lot about personal resiliency and has served as a phenomenal example of just how much the human body, mind & spirit can overcome. Today, if I find myself in a demanding situation, I remind myself that "You completed the Inca Trail in 2 & 1/2 days. You are a survivor!!!"

While it's not the kind of trip I would choose to do again, I'm glad I did it. And I will be bonded for life with the TeamOne group I went with. It was an amazing and transformational journey that was about something bigger than ourselves... we proved that Type I diabetes doesn't have to hold you back from pursuing your wildest dreams! And for that, I will always be grateful.

To my fellow TeamOne trekkers - I salute you and thank you!!

All my love,

2017 Sandy Struss Enterprises. All rights reserved.