Home » Uncategorized » A few days ago; I almost died, the Camino helped me survive!

A few days ago; I almost died, the Camino helped me survive!





I was driving my motorbike on the highway, and a big hole in the road appeared. I was driving about 60 km/h and lost control of the bike.
This story is about the one hour I spent laying in the middle of the road waiting for the ambulance to come and the confused state my mind and body were in. I could not move or talk but could hear everything that was going on around me.

As I type this, it is psychically painful for me. I have to hold my right hand with my left hand to write. I have small fractures in my ribs and shoulder with some dizzy spells. If I do not move I am not in pain, so I type one sentence and take a break. I am now, home in my apartment in Chiang Rai, Thailand after spending two nights at the hospital.

Today, I am grateful!

death 4However, during that hour; I was not grateful! I did think about my beautiful experiences while walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago and wondered how I could use it during this moment as I lay on the side of the road motionless; I could not bring myself to the moment of peace that I was so sure I could if I was ever in this situation. Finding gratitude was impossible for me at this moment! One important lesson that I did learn from walking the Camino was “Why I am here on Earth and what was my purpose in life.” That thought or rather answer will never leave me and for that hour, it gave me strength to know “Everything will be OK.”

My first memory after I hit the hole in the road was “Flying through the air with the greatest of ease,” (ya-right,)….and my helmet hitting the ground two times as I bounced along the road. No question; the helmet saved my life! They said my helmet exploded on the second impact. When I came to a stop, I could not move or talk, although I was aware of everything that was going on around me. I saw blood next to me; I was in no pain until I tried to move. All traffic was stopped and I could hear everyone talking in Thai, although I do not speak Thai, I knew what they were saying. By this time, my friend Nadawee, who I was following had turned around and in panic saw me lying motionless in the middle of the road. I tried to talk and tell her I was OK, but could not breathe as I was grasping for air.

I could not see her eyes but felt her tears. She spoke English and said, “Don’t talk; the ambulance is coming.” They say, “time goes fast when you’re having fun,”….not true, I was not having fun, and it took one hour for it to arrive, and it seemed like a few minutes.  They tried to move me to the side of the road, but I let out with a word they all understood, now; I normally do not curse but I yelled the “F,” word and they all understood…. Do not touch, handle with care! Nadawee helped me call two friends, Peter and Greg, even though I could not talk clearly, I was trying to say, “help… accident.”

The ambulance came and after some screaming, they put me on a board took me to the hospital.  Nadawee stayed with me and massaged my legs saying “everything is going to be OK.” This was the first hospital and my friend Greg, and his wife met me there. They gave me pain medication and decided to move me to Chiang Rai hospital, which was more suitable for my still unknown injury. As we were waiting for the second ambulance, Greg read me stories to take my mind off the pain; it worked.
I made it to the next hospital, and they did more test and x-rays and found the problem (I think) still recovering and discovering more aches and pains; I will make it through this, although would much rather be walking the Camino.

I know many of you are thinking “Did I pray during my one hour of silence,” (except for the screams) NOI did not pray; I was well connected to my Source…my Higher Power….My God, I had no need to pray! I knew, I would be taken care of!

Now, how did this whole day start out…
and why I was on this un-safe road?

Most of you know me and how I love to tackle a project that people say, “it’s impossible.”  So my good friend Farah who started an death 3orphanage in Kenya, which I supported with my resent Camino walk, and myself, now, has a new project. To start an orphanage made up with Hill Tribe children and adults who have no home, here in Thailand. As far I know this has never been done before. My thought is the kids will be good for the adults, and the homeless adults will be good for the children. It will be called “My Home Thailand,” they will stay free and our goal is to love and educate them!

This brings me to my motorbike ride adventure. I had the privilege to be invited to a Akha Hill Tribe village for their celebration of the New Rice Crop Festival in this small village of 800 people. This is where no tourist ever goes; it’s about a two-hour boat ride or three-hour rough motorbike ride.  There is no electricity or running water, and they live off the land. These are beautiful people who have no opportunity for change in their lives? We want to cause a change! Nadawee introduced me to her family and friends, what an extraordinary experience this was for me! They are beautiful people filled with compassion, even with so little; they have so much!
I went to the village to video there Hill Tribe community to kick of our brand-new project. I already have the property picked out for the orphanage, and I think the video will draw interest in our new challenge.

Well, the day did not end the way I planned it.

However, there is a lesson in all this, not sure what it is….yet! My life is filled with gratitude, and I try to the best of ability to help others, so, I question why this accident would happen to me?  
I am seeking the answer for this question? After walking the Camino, I learned the difference between pain and suffering. Pain is not often a choice, but suffering is! So, why did I choose to suffer? During my 500-mile walk, I was in pain. However, I did not suffer. Why did or do I still suffer from my accident? Oh I guess I have so much to learn about life, but guess what;      I still, love this life!

What will happen next because of this mishap?

Don’t know! Maybe someone may read this and think they would like to volunteer or help with the new orphanage? Or they might fix the road where the accident happened, so no one else gets injured or lose his or her life? Who knows? I do know; I am grateful for today, because that is all…. we have!    Love, Jim
Don’t know how or why, but my pain is not as bad as it was after I started to type this? I think talking about it is the beginning to a solution for any problem we may face!   J

Please excuse all the typo’s, my brain still isn’t still at 100%, of course most of my friends say, “It never was!”  lol

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  1. Kryssi Plasch says:

    Jummy, we love you so much and we are so grateful you will be OK.
    I love reading what you right, so much inspiration and honesty!

  2. seeker says:

    Oh Jim, I am so sorry for the accident. I will pray for you and hope that whatever the outcome is for the good. You are right, there is no suffering when we walk the Camino Way. On the physical pain. Blessings. Perpetua.

  3. Diny says:

    dear Jim, read yout well-described story. It’ s impressing to read how you experience what happened to you and how the camino keeps on being a source of thrust and confidence for you. I wish you a good recovery and wish you all the best. you know what: just before I was reading you on FB I was looking on a site, tipped by some one in my village, who’s daughter had made a biking trip of 2 weeks in Changmai organised by a Belgian couple living there. So I was thinking of you ! Coincidence doesn’t exist….

    • Thanks for your “Well Wishes,” it’s working! Yes, no coincidences….it’s something faster then a click on the computer. The Camino is now in my blood, it has given my the answer to many of life’s questions. What was cool about my journey was it created so many new questions which turned out to be my new answers? I love to explore all the new options life has to offer, still so much to learn and that’s what makes this “LIFE,” thing fun! Making a difference in another persons life is what it’s all about. Stay happy…Jim

  4. Paul says:

    Dude I am glad you have survived not just physically your spirit is wholly in tact. Congrats Paul

  5. GSB says:

    Thank you for sharing the story but please stop typing and start resting or your never going to be ready to show us your new dance moves on the 23rd! So glad you are going to be ok.

  6. Bruce Bennett says:

    Jim, I am happy and grateful you are alive and we pray will fully recover.
    Please let me know how I can help with your Hill Tribe project.
    Best wishes to you, Bruce

  7. You are so lucky to still be alive, Jim. Nothing like being incapacitated for a while to have a lot of time to think…..I had life-changing insights the summer I was sort of immobile after I accidentally cut myself in the foot with a chainsaw. Take your recovery time to gather up all the lessons that are in front of you know…..in gratitude….Annette

  8. Richard says:

    No joke, Jim, you’re not 16 any more – and you aren’t Evel Kneival, either. Acts of physical daredevilment like swimming to Cozumel and leaping deep potholes in a single splat may have unforeseen consequences that are at best annoying and at worst may effectively put you out of your misery miserably, which is not a good thing at all. Although billions of people have influenced other billions of people by dying, I don’t recommend it – especially by the motorcycle pothole route, which bears avoiding. The Lesson (and pleading): Pleae pick your Caminos with care. You did great on one, but not so great on the otgher. Please, no more ‘win one, lose one’ excitements – you could lose a good motorbike that way, among other things. The Orphanage project sounds like a wonderful way to use your wonderful humanitarian talents – but it requires a basic ‘be here now’ approach that pothole jumping doesn’t, and can’t, provide – not that you knowingly set out to jump that pothole, but it was just waiting for you to come along – (roads talk among themselves, you know – they’re connected, and they don’t all lead to roam – and, of course, you’re an item on the interroadnet). So, while you’re saving the orphans, they may be saving you. Safe journey, Jim!

  9. Tom Andreotta says:

    Jim: We’ve never met, but I feel your anxiety if not your pain. We both have a love for Thailand, especially the northern provinces and the Camino. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you heal. So, don’t forget to tune into St. James / Sanitago. Remember, he does work in really strange ways sometimes, even from a distance. You might not get what you think you want, but you WILL receive what you need.

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