About FocalDreams

I am a self-made retiree residing near the “Beaux Village” of Villereal, Department de Lot-et-Garonne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. My husband and I retired in 2022 and spent much of the year logging 27,500 miles across the U.S. and Canada in our RV known as “BigB.” Our exploits are chronicled on my blog as well as our transition to a new life in one of the most beautiful regions of southwest France.

Though I have worked as a photographer mostly as a side-gig, and have been published in National Geographic and Black & White Magazine, I have officially hung up my professional photographer designation, preferring the opportunity to “drift” and contemplate the world around me without the burden of “human constructs.” My musings can be found on my blog.

I consider myself a Flaneuse: Those women who until the last century could not explore the city streets without an escort.  While I have my husband as a side kick, I am prone to wandering around on my own mostly due to my photographic inclinations.  It affords me time to get a feel of a place.  While most photography can be viewed as representational vs high art, it has deep meaning to the taker – to recall a special time and place. And if you’re lucky, capturing those incredible decisive moments. 

As a second-generation cult survivor, I am also an educator advancing the narrative regarding the physical and mental abuse of children; trafficking is all too common within cults, and I endeavor to educate the general public on the devastating repercussions.  My memoir, The Thunderstorms of Eden, available on Amazon.com and other outlets, addresses my odyssey within the Church of Scientology. I chronicle my experience as a victim of child slave labor in the “Church” and the resulting mental health calamities. I am also part of a cohort known as “The Children of Scientology,” who have managed to survive the clutches of this cult, having been stripped of identity and familial connection while living in squalor, subject to horrific abuse that continues to this day.  

For those interested in furthering their knowledge of Scientology and cults in general, you can now stream the Emmy-winning series Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath on Netflix. 

In my biography I also journal about my world travel which was essentially my life saver.  My Flickr Gallery, Something Lost Behind the Ranges Collection, is a visual testimony to those seminal adventures during my tumultuous journey to recovery. 


Second-Generation Cult Survivor



#survivor #selfmade #thewisdomofthedrift

2 thoughts on “About FocalDreams

  1. Sandy—We got back from Mercer Lake Sunday and I was thinking about you. I went to your focal dreams site and see that you are traveling and enjoying life. Good for you! Your living my dream😁

    Elli and Jaden are HS sophomores and Brandon is in the 8th grade. Greg and I are making plans to retire when all the kids are out of HS and high on my list is spending a couple of years traveling as you are.

    Enjoy your travels and take care—Karen Johnson-Will

    1. Hello! Amazing how time flies – glad to hear all is well with you. Yes – we are having a great time and strongly encourage to get our and see the National Parks! Sandy

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