My friend from Texas use to say, “I have never seen a statue erected to a critic, but have seen many built to the ones they have criticized!” I seem to remember the story about this man (with respect) they hung him on a cross because many felt he was wrong with his beliefs. So does being criticized mean you’re on the right track or the incorrect one?

I know one thing for sure no one will ever put up a statue for me! However, I did get an offer from one of my new blogging friends, Cookie who said she would like to make a plaster copy of my hands? Not sure what this may turn into?
We are working on a video of hands only, along with words that will, reach into your heart and leave a message of compassion and love. This is a real challenge for both of us. She is a truly a gifted writer and artist whom I could only dream about ever becoming, check out her blog here COOKIE.

My 484-mile walk from France to Spain was no big deal until I announced;” I would do it with no money!” That is when the S… hit the fan! I made the mistake of putting my story on the Camino forum. It turned out close to 8,000 people read it and now received over 170 comments, many of them with extremely negative statements, some very hateful and abusive, one even alluded me to be a child molester. He read this story COMPASSION and came up with that conclusion? Of course most you know me, and I had no desire to attack back. That’s just not me…anymore!

It got so carried away the moderator had to lock down the thread, (and I agreed with him) of course a new one was quickly started. I decided to make one concluding statement to try to defend myself on how I was being miss-understood. I did say this would be my final words until I finish the walk.

Why are so many people against me?  They feel I will be taking advantage of the other pilgrims who will be doing the walk by asking them if they have any food to spare. Plus Spain’s economy is in turmoil, and I will not be helping the Country by not contributing money to help with their problem. They have a valid point. However, after I finish the walk I will have the answer to some of these questions.

Anyway this is one thing I wish I never did. I should have waited until I finished my walk and then told about my experience, lesson learned, still trying to figure out how to change the past…no luck!

Below is my final response to that forum. I know you guys have been with me for years with this blog and would not respond to me that way, even the ones who don’t all agree with my new challenge. I feel you still give me the respect of doing what I feel is right.
I am an expert at making mistakes! However, today I’m different…I learn from them. Not like the old days when I was consumed by my addiction and kept doing the wrong things repeatedly.

However, every day I do like to try something new, and ask myself “What did I learn from that?” Sometimes I learn nothing and at times everything. Example; from my yesterday lesson (it not always about a life thing) how can an ant travel so fast when I walk (accidentally) on an ant pile and within seconds, they are crawling on my neck? Of course, Mr. Google answered my question. You will have to check it out yourself to get the answer.

I know this blog is primarily about my Camino walk, even so, all these lessons I will be taking with me on my journey. The best part is I have no idea how this will turn out and what this lesson will be?

I know it’s been awhile since my last blog to you. With my resent visit from my brother I have been away from my computer. Actually, it was somewhat fun not being on the cyber part of life for a few weeks. However, now I am doing catch up.

Being away from this machine has only added to what I will take with me on my little 484-mile stroll from France to Spain. The Camino de Santiago will be about reflecting on every moment of the past, present and future. However “I think” it’s more about focusing on the moment; to enjoy the place and time where I will be as I take every step. One thing I don’t know is what this journey will bring to me, and that’s what is exciting to me; not knowing!

As far as being prepared for my walk, I am, well kind-of. Physically, I am prepared, mentally; I’m raring to go (well maybe part-time) spiritually…full time. I have all my equipment lined up and will be ready to be fully self-sufficient for 30-60 days. Well, except for “the no-food issue.” Remember, I will be walking with no money. However, my only need will be food. I will not ask anyone for money during the walk but hope some people will be willing to share some of their food with me.

It has been suggested to me to bring some freeze-dried food and a small sterno stove with me. Not a bad idea, but it’s all about weight. I must keep my backpack weight to 20 pounds. So I have decided not to take my laptop with me. I am considering buying one of the small androids to stay in communication with you all during my walk.

I did run into a lady, who is riding a bike through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I asked her if she was keeping a journal of her adventure. She said yes but is recording her trip on one of those, small hand-held recorders instead of writing everything down. What a great idea! So I bought on EBay. It records over 500 hours. So I will be able to record everything I am going through and later transcribe it all to the written word.

Batteries, hmmm another problem. I will be bringing plenty, but again, it’s about the weight. I have found a light-weight solar panel designed for back packers. It’s only five ounces and should be strong enough to recharge my camera batteries.
I also bought a water belt which cares two liters of water, the perfect size because I can refill it at many places on the walk plus it has a long straw, so I don’t have to take off my backpack every time I want a drink. Back to the weight thing; two liters are about four pounds. So maybe I should not take my tooth-brush?

In closing I am in tip-top shape for my stroll. I had a test last week when I went on the monthly Hash Walk. That’s a group of people who live

With my “NEW” Camino Hat

in Thailand and take a family hike every month in the woods…just for the fun of it. It is a beautiful walk in the woods up hills through rice fields and even by some small village’s oh, lakes included.

This month it was a 8k walk, and guess what I had no problem, well a few I only fell in the mud two times, and I did finish up in last place. Fortunately, our little group had a flashlight, so we could make it to the end. 38 people started, and I think everyone did the whole 8k; it was fun. Unfortunately, I won the prize for being the oldest the youngest was 8. He whipped my butt, finishing way ahead of me.

So this is proof I can make it on my 484-mile trek. It only took me, two and a half hours, and I was just fine. The terrain will not be any more challenging the Camino. Only difference I went out for dinner afterwards. Oh, back to the food thing again, don’t worry I will be just fine.
Next Blog I will be telling you about everything I will be bringing along and what I’m not. Love & stuff JIM

Hey, here are a few new videos I made one of my brother’s visit to Thailand plus a few extra ones for your entertainment. Just click the name of the video to watch.

Brother Bob’s visit to Thailand

The Kitten vs the Roach

The making of a Thailand, Hand Carved Soap Flower

My response to the forum.

From your problem child Jim, this will be my final post until I finish the walk.

Wow, over 7,600 people have read the other thread with more than 130 comments before it was locked (which I agree with him doing.)

I know the purpose of the forum is to help others who are looking for advice on how to make their journey complete regardless of their reason for taking this walk and whether it be spiritual, for exercise, or just for the fun of it.

It seems like everyone who takes the walk for one reason and ends with an unexpected life-changing result. Many of the comments towards me have been highly critical and some downright abusive. However, I didn’t respond with any detrimental words toward their statements. I always agree that everyone has the right to say and feel as they wish, even if their sentiments are against my beliefs. With my original story and all the comments, it became very difficult to understand “where I am coming from.” Although I explained everything before, I also became confused. So, I will clarify my position once again.

First, I am not wealthy: I live on $870 a month in a one-room apartment here in Thailand. I have spent the past 50 years doing volunteer work, and I continue to do so today. I have discovered that the reward of helping others far exceeds any paychecks I have ever received.

Why am I doing this walk with “NO MONEY”? I have several reasons to do it without money and just as important are the results to be seen after the walk. I can only discuss the reasons I have now and for the second part, you will have to wait until I complete the walk.

I am a very spiritual person who believes in God; However, I am not religious. I know some people have a problem with that; nevertheless, that is for another story.

Not knowing what the Camino will bring me, I seek more on this journey. I might just have a new spiritual experience. I have already had one before! That’s what intrigues me!

I will be camping out during the whole trip, and my only need will be food. I WILL NOT be asking anyone for money. If someone chooses to share some of their food with me, I will accept it.

Some of you may be asking, “Why?” I have an extreme fear of asking anyone who I know, or don’t know, “Will you help me?” I am trying to overcome this problem.

Next, think of all the money that I will not be spending on food, hotels or hostels (I don’t drink so no bar bill would be included either.) I will be donating all my expected spending money to my friend who has started an orphanage in Kenya (which is one of the most difficult countries in the world to take on this challenge.)

In Thailand, it is easy to do the projects like an orphanage because they welcome you with open arms. Kenya is a different story as most everyone says, “I will help you but what’s in it for me?”

I have started another group with people, who have been following me for years, who have agreed to donate an amount of money toward my walk with 100% going to help these beautiful kids who have no chance at life without the help from others. We will feed and house them, buy clothing, plus most importantly make sure they get an education. We only have seven children currently, but my walk just may change one child’s life, which will make it all worthwhile.

So, I hope this clears up several of the “Why?” questions. See you on the other side. Jim

That was my final comment on that forum till I finish my journey. Remember, for you who have not sent me an email and said you would like to help with the kids in Kenya, just drop me an email and say “Count me in.”   jimideaman@netzero.net



  1. lisalday111711 says:

    Jim…I think what you are doing is very admirable. The great ones from our past have done the same thing and gained so much enlightenment. I am looking forward to your enlightenment and Good Luck.

  2. Michael says:

    Yea keep on doing what you do and forget about the haters and nay sayers. You alone know what the real reason is why you are attempting to do this walk and why you write about it. Who knows why “Big J” did what he did and those you claim to be in the know are fanatics anyway. Just be mindful when people with a hammer and nails come after you.

  3. cookie5683 says:

    Toothbrush? I vote YES, not that you were asking for a poll but I am grabbing the wheel and taking a ride. You are an American after all and would surely have been raised with a parent harping over your shoulder telling you the value of those big pearly whites you have, easily replaceable now adays but we won’t go there. Ok? (Hmmmm oral fixation…. I’m going to walk away from this topic altogether…)
    Thank you for mentioning me with kind words

  4. Craig says:

    Jim, if you can live a dream and help others while you do it, your awesome. Keep the faith brother.

    Peter, you know I am taking you along, even though you may not with me. I will feel you spirit every step of the way!

  5. Rick Baldwin says:

    What if that happens to you,Jim?

    • Peter says:

      I don’t worry about it. 90 % of what we worry about never happens, the other 10%, we have no control over…so why worry? If something goes wrong, I will cross that bridge when I get there!

  6. marie says:

    wicked u ‘r doing it!!!!!i wish u great time!!!!!we now are in nepal !!!bizzzzze. & enjoy da march ,,,,if u need an adressss to stay 30 km south from toulouse tell me ,,bye bye

    • Hi Marie, thanks for your kind offer. I will see where I will be and when? The only thing I know for sure, I will be flying Bangkok to Paris on May 23ed and start my walk from St. Jean-Pied-de- Port on June 1st. Oh, this life is so exciting! I will keep you posted on my plans. Sounds like you have adventure in your blood…also!

  7. How interesting the fearfulness of some that one might journey without ‘money’ when Jesus and his disciples managed to walk many places without a debit card. Perhaps, reminds (for me) the comment that those who do not accept/profess Jesus, shake the dust from your sandals and leave that household. Hopefully enough protein will gift your way so no muscle breakdown. I pray Saint James be special friend, companion walker on this journey of pilgrimage to meditate on the special commission Jesus gave to apostles, disciples. There’s some religious orders along the way and some places which provide donated food. I suspect you will be fed and truly nourished in your soul for making the sacrifice of this walk for intentions. We are grateful for your prayers for us, especially in this Year of Return to Faith.

  8. Ricardo Braun says:

    Hola Amigo Jim. You have to do what you need to do. Maybe others will disagree, that’s their choice. You have made yours from the heart. It is all in the experience and the learning from it…….and that is your reason to do it. Keep up the spirit, the faith and the excercise. You are right on the beam keep going, it will all be allright!!
    Your Amigo Ricardo

    • Ricardo, oh yes and as our friend Santiago always told me, when I did something RIGHT or WRONG. “What was the lesson learned?” And you know what, I learned more from my mistakes then the things I did that were correct! He also added, “follow your heart and TRY not to let the head get in the way.” Faith is still my motivation…not knowing is my passion. Thanks for the lessons you past on to me! You will be on my mind for the 484-miles especially when I want, that cup of coffee!

  9. Brandy says:

    Jim, what you are doing is also one of the adventures that I would like to have during this lifetime. I did hear about this “camino” while in Mexico and knew that I would one day walk it. You have done many extra-ordinary things that inspire many people. Please keep trying something new every day and letting your friends experience the beauty alongside you. And thank you for living a faith filled, spiritually led life. This continues to inspire me and my spirituual growth.

    I could go for a cup of Ricardo’s coffee too 🙂 Hope to share that cup with all of my friends.

  10. dearrosie says:

    Close to 8,000 people read your comment and over 170 commented? wow that must be a record on the camino forum.
    People know your story and will be looking out for you so I’m sure there will be those who will be happy to share their food with you.

    • Thanks for your encouragement, yes, and it turned into quite a controversy. Some people miss-understood my mission. I am so excited to make this journey of the unknown. Will be leaving in a few weeks. Sure hope your right about the food, otherwise I will have to walk awful quick to get to the end. Love this life!

  11. De La Sierra says:

    Camino Santiago de Compostela has always been about a mission, a dedication, a pilgrimage of religious intent; not necessarily about God, but about something sacred to the “peregrino”; the death of a loved one, bad medical news, for world peace, what-have-you. Your mission was a noble one and I truly enjoy the idea. You have first hand experience with human kindness or otherwise. You tested it first hand, out in the open; not in some city, laboratory or stupid TV show. That was brilliant!!

    Buen Camino!!!

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