This is one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen…since I came screaming out of my mother’s womb! For you that are still adding things to your bucket list, I recommend moving this to the top! I tell everyone if you are coming to Thailand and only see one thing; this is it! Sukhothai; over 700 years old, video coming soon! What does this have to do with my walk? A lot, it’s an indescribable feeling you get knowing other people took these same steps thousands of years ago.

                                               WHAT WILL BE THE LESSON!

I wish I could answer that! Next year, I will. This blog has turned into a combination of my 484-mile walk from France to Spain and what is going on in my life in Thailand. That was not’t my plan, but that is the way it’s turning out. Actually, the two is part of the same. The journey to discover more about myself and the world, we live in I keep asking myself how this new life I have;  get any better. However, it does, every day I am bewildered how at peace I really am.

I live a very constrictive life on my low-income from S.S. yet I have all my needs meet. Plus the important part I am happier than I have ever been! I live in a cozy small studio apartment (for about $100 a mo.) plenty of food and have a motorbike. I even go out for dinner quite often and enjoy my $1-$2 dinner. I have discovered if you add something to the rice it can become very tasty. I am at about a 10% stress level (don’t want to get to zero because that indicates I am not doing anything) my biggest expense is saving my money to pay for my flights back to the US and next year to Spain.

My exercise program, I am precisely on track, swimming and walking every day. My packing list is coming right along. Tent, I will order soon, backpack, done, sleeping bag I will get during my visit to the US at Christmas. The shoes are the most important part of all this. I am going to order MBT boots on eBay. The feet are the biggest problems people have on the walk. So I tell my feet every night how much I love them; I hope they return the favor.

My walking with ‘no money” has turned into an international controversial subject. I have been criticized by many, saying that I will be prying on others for my survival. To answer that “YES” I will not ask anyone for money but will ask for food. I still believe that most people in their heart really want to help another in need. I guess I will find out if I am wrong!

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t…. Eleanor Roosevelt

Hay, you have to watch this 90 second video I made when I went out to the Night Bazaar for my $1 dinner. This little girl playing on the Violin. My favorite song “OVER THE RAINBOW” click HERE. 

Below is a page out of someone’s journal who recently took the Camino walk.

                                                                             Therouanne – Amettes


On the road at 7:30. Very foggy all morning with dripping trees. Heavy traffic, not so nice for walking on busy roads.

A steady, relentless climb out of Therouanne, on the pretty River Lys. These little towns mean one thing: descents into valleys and climbs out, although not as steep as on the Via Podensis. Compared to the VP, the VF is quite flat (so far).

Sometimes friends ask if I get bored walking alone, day after day. Never! I often get lost in reflection and occasionally walk almost on autopilot. Walking provides many excellent opportunities for reflection. Apart from the joys of the natural world, one constantly sees things that are interesting. You can also ponder philosophical questions: what is happiness? We talk about it so frequently, and pursue it so relentlessly; but the nature of happiness is by no means a simple matter and we often pursue empty paths to happiness. Think about it next time you are out for a walk.
More next week, Love, Jim

I was very disappointed this week just 2 people said they would donate one penny per mile of my 484-mile walk for the kids in Kenya. That’s only $4.84 total! Thanks to all of you that already said “YES.” You don’t have to pay until I finish. You noticed I didn’t say “IF” 3 words I don’t use anymore; if, can’t & impossible, just drop me an email jimideaman@netzero.net and I will add you to my list. Hey, it’s only $4.84. More info on where it will be going and how your donation will be spent, coming soon.



  1. Jim says:

    Greetings Jim,

    I’m also a ‘Ski’ from LaSalle-Peru!

    I returned from Spain and the Camino last week, just put my compostela in a frame for proud display in my office.

    I’d read a bit about ‘The Way’ several years ago, and as we often do regarding such adventures…simply thought ~ that would be interesting to see & do ‘someday’.

    Following the release of the movie last year the ‘bucket list’ interest was reinvigorated.

    The initial intent was to make the pilgrimage in May of this year…keeping an eye on the weather there, the trip was postponed until late summer. It rained 27 days straight during May, Though heat would be a consideration in August, I’d much rather hike hot than wet having done plenty of both.

    For several months prior I read books on the Camino, selected gear and went about some basic training to assure myself I would be not only physically up to the challenge but also that the things chosen were suitable., durable and actually necessary.
    A skydiving friend from San Diego had done the Camino last year and gave me some insight as to the ‘unromantic if you will’ realities…I’d like to pass a bit of that on to you as well Jim.

    Physically prepared ~
    My friend told me there really isn’t a way to ‘train’ for the Camino, that the physical requirements of walking a marathon a day for weeks on end can’t be duplicated at a gym or during a nature hike, no matter how far the distance or what you have on your back.
    I was skeptical on that advise, at age 55 and though healthy, fit & active …I’ve dinged myself up pretty good a few times.
    Skydiving, BASE jumping, motorcycle crashes and competitive full contact martial arts have left a ‘hitch in my git-along’ that I wanted to be sure could handle what I envisioned the Camino would hold. So I did do long walks with a full pack over all kinds of terrain.

    I quickly realized that the hiking shoes I’d selected for comfort and weight wouldn’t work, when fatigued my ankles turn to something with a consistency of hot taffy.

    A pair of Salomon lightweight hikers fit the bill. On the Camino remove your shoes every time you stop for a break, even if just for 10 minutes. In the morning cover both feet liberally with Vaseline and wear actual hiking socks, got a few pair at REI. They wick moisture and fit tightly enough so as not to slip around in the footwear. A major blister reducer to be sure,

    After 12-15 miles I’d feel my knee getting weak so I started using an ace-brace there when I would feel any pain. Did the same on the Camino and no problems…very glad I’d known to expect that, and was prepared to deal with it.

    To ME anyway, that’s ‘training’ for the event and I recommend you do that early & often.

    *I would seriously caution one against too heavy, or stiff of footwear. Over half the people I saw during the trek were sporting nothing more than well broken in athletic shoes. If you don’t ‘need’ the ankle support go with something lower, lighter , cooler and more comfortable. Your feet WILL thank you!

    Every once counts~
    I put together what I thought would be a lightweight and minimalist selection of 21st century ‘must haves’ for the trek. Loaded pack weight was just under 30 pounds. By the third day I totally redefined the term minimalist and chucked 1/3 of it. I would buy things I needed along the way, it’s not the outback.

    You however Jim will need to carry more than I did considering your method, and goal for completion. I’m imagining you’ll want to carry reserves of food & water, stocking up when it’s available without cost…

    Which brings me to a delicate point…I understand your motivation & desire to embark on a pilgrimage in terms of it’s truest nature. That’s both admirable and honorable, I salute you and genuinely hope you realize success.

    However…that very well may require a certain amount of logistical planning that will be extremely difficult without prior knowledge of what is ahead of you on any given day.

    People travel ‘The Way’ for a variety of reasons and in many different ways. There is adventure, religious pilgrimage, right of passage …the reasons are endless.

    That is the ‘romantic’ slant, and to an extent one can find fulfillment in most any personal motivation.

    But make no mistake, it’s the 21st century and Spain like all of the European Union is facing difficult times economically.
    The Camino de Santiago which 150,000 people start annually, is a monetary cash cow for the northern part of the country.
    As a tourist attraction it’s a marketing managers dream. Some of the more remote areas seem to depend solely on pilgrim commerce for their very existence. Even the most basic comforts such as access to indoor plumbing are sternly relegated to ‘paying customers only’ at a majority of strategically placed rest stops along the Camino.

    Even the least desirable indoor sleeping ’dorms’ are 7-10 euros a night. Camping though the least expensive option isn’t necessarily always free, safe or practical. Even things like water need to be looked at, the guidebooks say potable water is available in village & city fountains along the way. I encountered several unfortunate people with severe intestinal distress, at the most inopportune times and places that would disagree with just how potable the water really is. Lol

    Personally I bought bottled and carried one large & two small bottles, which were replaced 3-4 times a day. I’d always hold the last small bottle in reserve as there are areas in which you will be walking 5 hours or more with nothing available at any price.

    You will be burning major calories at a rate you’ve likely never experienced before. I’m relatively active and intake 2500 to 3000 daily maintaining a steady weight and strength level. On the Camino I was burning 3 times that and losing weight. Procuring that kind of sustenance through the reliance of others on a needed regular basis, may be on practical & realistic terms much more difficult than envisioned.

    It may very well be possible, but you seriously need to keep in mind your primary goal is survival with health intact, completion however noble the cause is secondary. And compromising your general health in any way will significantly increase the odds of failure regarding the secondary goal.

    Not trying to discourage you, just giving ‘food’ for thought.

    On a personal and reflective level~
    I’m not a religious person, I enjoyed interaction, for the most part, with people hoping to find God or improve their relationship with him. Some did I believe, some probably never will.

    I met lots of extremely interesting people from all over the world, the stories they told were as different as they were fascinating.

    I’m a people person and cherished the moments shared when there is a realization of underlying commonality regarding matters of the soul ~ all political, geographical, religious, age, ethnic and general ideological differences dismissed without prejudice.
    There is the same basic goal in each of our hearts and the hardships incurred during the pursuit create a solid unspoken bond.

    At the most basic level of humanity, the comparison of life’s dynamics and the trials of the Camino are clearly obvious. One can’t help but wonder what the world would be if the leaders saw things through the exhausted eyes of a Pellegrino.

    I came away from the Camino more reassured than changed.

    I’ve always been pretty secure in the understanding of my place in the universe and my significance regarding the overall scheme…I’m a ‘we are bugs on a rock spinning through space’ kinda guy and I’m good with that.

    It makes me value each minute I’m alive and take the problems of life in stride.

    Walking into St. James Cathedral in old town Santiago… tired, smelly and sore at the end of an unquestionably challenging endeavor, gave me a deep appreciation for those who’d come before me under much more difficult circumstances.

    Call it, though in a small way perhaps, a sense of belonging somewhere very special.
    A place of reverence made significant by the unwavering faith humans like myself fostered from within, toward beliefs held dear regardless of the consequences.

    It also gave me a sliver of pride in that as a younger less cynical man, I’d always approached difficult situations logically & methodically.
    I tended to accurately assess my abilities, resources and liabilities then operate within and to the fullest extent of those parameters. Usually with success.

    There were times as a younger man that I’d misjudged the scope of the task ~ or my actual ability to address it

    .…years ago, there was a part inside of me that flipped a switch and from who knows where a burst of ’small town Pollack from down by the river’ perseverance would magically appear ~ and against logic, odds and even physics I’d find myself without conscious thought …fighting forward.

    I haven’t seen that part of me in quite a while, I’m grateful to the Camino for reminding me I can be better than I think I am. That I ‘have’ more than I realize or admit even to myself.

    …maybe the IS some ‘enlightenment’ there after all?!

    I wish you Buen Camino Jim!

  2. ozpeppers says:

    Cool stuff and I like the video.
    I can really identify with what you say about your blog and the development is going in unexpected directions. Run with it, brother!

    And thanks for reminding me that we’re just bugs on a rock spinning through space. Great perspective because our small challenges can seem so heavy. In the greater scheme, non of this really matters. May as well enjoy the ride.

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