Category Archives: Personal thoughts and ideas

A message from New York City

This message arrived today for me:

By way of introduction, my name is Eric Wu from New York City (originally born in LA). I stumbled upon your website from a link on a site called Reddit – you seem like you’ve lived an extraordinarily interesting and adventurous life. You’ve gone from one career to the other, and when your nephew asked why you did the month long Spain-France hike, you said “because I’m still trying to figure out what I want to become when I grow up.” I really subscribe to a similar mentality and philosophy, and I just wanted to hear what life and career advice you would give to a 22 year old, recently graduated, working a corporate job that he’s not particularly fond of. I understand this is very open-ended, but I would love to hear about your life philosophy.

Here is my response: Continue reading A message from New York City

Starting again in April 2012

Here are the first photos from the second attempt to cross France. St-Chely d’Aubrac is where I stopped in 2011 and started again in 2012.


bridge at St-Chely
The pilgrim bridge at St-Chely d’Aubrac
The chateau at Estaing on a wet day
The chateau at Estaing on a wet day
An obstacle on the trail after three weeks of rain
An obstacle on the trail after three weeks of rain

My ‘family’ from 2011

This photo is the folks with whom I walked on my ill-fated first attempt to cross France. I am still in touch with Karsten, Max and Francine. I have sadly lost touch with the three Parisiennes.

The family left to right: Karsten, Max, Felcia, Sophie, Jocelyn, Francine
The family left to right: Karsten, Max, Felicia, Sophie, Jocelyn, Francine

I’m back!

Here is another photo from A Journey of Days Continues: Mud, Mountains and Mindfulness on the Camino de Saint-Jacques. And yes, I do know that it is the Chemin de Saint-Jacques, but I am writing for a (mostly) North American audience and they recognize ‘camino’.

This photo is taken in Aumont-Aubrac at La Ferme du Barry, where the owner/chef Vincent stretches a potato/cheese mix into his signature dish … and wows the pilgrims at the table.

Vincent with aligot
Vincent showing off his ‘aligot’

My new book is almost ready!

Le Puy en Velay
The chapel on the puy in Le Puy en Velay

My next book, A Journey of Days Continues, will be published by the end of August, less than a month. I am very excited! Starting today, I will post a few of the photos from the book every day. Here are the first three.


Trail marking
Trail marking – Go this way
Trail marking
Don’t go this way!

Epic Walk for Women’s Cancer

In support of the Epic Walk for Women’s Cancers in Ottawa, I raised over $1100 yesterday, surpassing my personal goal of $1000. Collectively we walkers raised over $256,000 against a goal of $250,000. Not bad for a first event! My part of the deal was to walk 28 kilometers from the Queensway-Carleton Hospital to the headquarters of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. I have not walked that far in a single day for just over two years, when I walked to Aumont-Aubrac in France and was confronted by a wild boar just before the village.

I started at 11 AM and finished – ahead of the storm that blew through – at 5:30 PM, about 6 and a half hours of steady walking. The logistical setup was excellent with guides and refreshment stands strategically located along the route – much easier than the Chemin. I walked the whole distance with Peter Linkletter, the Chair of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. We were a team of two. The weather co-operated by being mostly overcast with a nice breeze, although very muggy in mid-afternoon.

My body co-operated as well, no blisters, no pulls or sprains, just tired muscles and feet at the finish. The organizers had a tent set up after the finish line with massage available. I took full advantage of this. Again, thank you to all my supporters for their generous support for a very worthy cause!

And a special thank you to Carroll and Meredith, who provided me with personal logistic support – a ride to the start point and from the finish point some hours later.

An upcoming event

On Friday the first of March at 5 PM I will be delivering a book reading and slide presentation from A Journey of Days at Black Squirrel Books, 508 Bank Street in Ottawa. If you are in the neighbourhood I invite you to come and hear about the journey. Paper and audio books will be available for purchase and, of course, for signing.

The editing of the second book is going very well. We are now about 45 pages in and the editor is finding very little that concerns her … so far. Of course I learned a lot in 2008 when going through the editing process for A Journey of Days and I have the same editor this time. I will keep you in the picture as we get closer to actual words on paper and on your tablet. This book will be published in paper and ebook form concurrently, likely by late summer or early fall.

And I am tossing around ideas for a third book! It will be related to the theme of the first two books but will not be a journal in chronological order.

An interesting video

Here is a 15-minute video taken last spring while I was walking in France. It was taken by Daniel Bourzakian from Paris, who was walking with his wife and two grandchildren. They are the folks whom I met when I made a seriously wrong turn and ended up on the wrong trail in the early days of my walk. The video is in French, of course, and is taken from the point of view of the two children, Cassandre, 11 and Victor 10. You get to meet Daniel, Arlette and the two children and also Pierre and Jacques, two brothers whom I meet soon after and again in Pamplona six weeks later when they show up unexpectedly. I show up in the video at about the ten-minute mark, but what makes it so interesting for me and I hope for you is that it shows the really difficult weather and trail conditions in which I walked. It’s true, a picture is worth a thousand words and the trail surface certainly makes that abundantly clear. Have a look for yourself.