The Journey

This is My Global Pilgrimage
A Journey of Heart, Mind and Soul.

This is my journey across borders and boundaries, into deepest jungles, over vast deserts. Into the hearts and lives of many peoples and cultures… I am on this extraordinary voyage of colour, spirit and song. Life without a permanent address has become my art.

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I started this blog some years ago to record my journeys, in pictures, thoughts and words. I took some time out of my career to travel and ‘find myself’… Little did I know what awaited me along this long and winding road of discovery… how I would witness the evolution of a Global Pilgrimage; the revelations of a crazy, illuminated existence – the places I would find, the people I would meet along the way – the moments shared, the burden halved.

The immortal Song of the Life gifted to me through the wonders of the earth, its wildest nature, and its beautiful people…

On this journey people have called me many things – Gypsy Prince, Christopher Columbus, been compared to Byron and Dorian Gray, they said I was Born Free, Tuaregs in Sahara called me their brother, a fellow traveller hailed me as ‘Saint Sebastian’ as I travelled along the Appian Way, one lady even named me ‘Christ Carrier’ …

I have called myself An Aesthete… but I’m not really that either.
Whatever I am to others, I know for sure I am a man searching for his own Truth,
searching for a ‘God’ and the Blinding Light of Faith.

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe” – Anatole France

I was born during a violent thunderstorm, in a blackout, came out making not a sound, facing upwards, wide violet-coloured eyes, an irregular heartbeat. Fascinations with the spiritual, the exotic and the arts started early. My eyes faded to amber with age. Singing has always been a healing-form. I wrote books and poems, eventually developed an interest in photography and began recording my findings on various mediums, including this ‘blog’.

Lived alone in Italy – first in Rome and then in Florence. Spent a lot of time in Venice, the ‘Invisible City’. I once lied my way into the Sistine Chapel, danced in Rome’s oldest fountain, woke up every morning to the bells of St. Mark’s and walked with true Venetians. In Florence I achieved a lifelong dream to sing Gospel music.

In Greece I acquired the nickname Lord Byron among Athenians, walked the ancient hills, touched the temple of Poseidon and lived in a fishing village on the Evian Gulf. In Spain I danced with the ‘Roma’ gypsies, a blind man gave me an Egyptian amulet for my journey, I danced in the most famous fountain in Seville before witnessing the passionate art of Flamenco and revitalising in an ancient Roman bathhouse.

In Avalon I danced with druids, slept on neo-pagan pilgrimage and holy site, the Glastonbury Tor, and woke up in the middle of a pagan ritual to sun worship. I rested for a while among the ancient trees of Avebury, known as the Womb of the Earth, and contemplated Stonehenge. I spent time in Paris’s ‘Sacred Heart’, became dazzled by the city lights of Brussels and wandered medieval Ghent like a poet of old… before I began exploring the Tropics.

India was a powerful land for me, crashed boldly into my soul. I felt alive and reborn. I saw a red sun rising over the Arabian Sea, spent time in a holy ashram, lived in the ‘mad city’ of Bangalore, in authentic neighbourhood Shanthi Nagar where I frequented the Jain Temple on my street corner. I was blessed in the Temple of the Bull by a Hindu priest before being invited to a Hindu Wedding where I was treated like royalty. Took public transport to Mysore where I climbed one of India’s most sacred hills and found a temple full of monkeys. I rode on top of trucks and learned how to tie a turban from locals. Caught a wild cobra on a farm in Karnataka, bathed with a herd of elephants in a river on a tiger reserve, before trekking through the deeps of the Jungle in the Northern Western Ghats where I swam alone and free…

I made multiple trips to Ghana. Ghana has become my ‘home’ in Africa and I have acquired a family there. I received a true Akwaaba in the capital Accra where I sung in a local church service, took tro-tros into the Volta Region where I lived on a slum in a house with a tin roof, an Ewe Chieftain helped me climb an untouched mountain, lived for two months in an orphanage in Kpando, where I cared for a young boy with malaria who wanted me to be his father. I paid a fisherman to take me across the vast lake Volta and then trekked deep into the Bush to search for wild elephants. Spent my 25th birthday swimming naked in West Africa’s highest waterfalls, got a tribal tattoo with blade and charcoal after camping in the jungle, fed sacred Mona monkeys by hand, met a fetish priest and danced with the Bagbor tribe around the village campfire.

I crossed the Gambian border with the help of a modern-day prophet, danced naked in a monsoon, kissed an adult crocodile and bathed in waters of a sacred fertility pool in a remote village. Lived in a fishing town at the edge of the ‘Old World’ in Senegal, played drums at a voodoo ritual, spent time on the Fathala Wildlife Reserve where I walked unchained and free with lions through untouched Senegalese Bush, tracked rare monkeys and hyenas and walked amongst a family of wild giraffe in sheer awe.

After making a journey across the Lompoul Desert in Senegal I travelled to Morocco, wandered the ancient medinas of Casablanca and Marrakech, crossed the Atlas Mountains and lived for a time on the edge of the Sahara ~ became honorary ‘brother’ to the Tuaregs, slept, ate, laughed and travelled with them into the highest dunes. Witnessed Sahara night sky, crazy sand storms and Fata Morgana. Spent time in the Holy Land, chiefly Jerusalem – prayed at the Western Wall, entered the Holy Sepulchre, and climbed the Temple Mount. Crossed the West Bank/Israel dividing wall, traversed Judaean desert and bathed in the Dead Sea, the Lowest Point on Earth, travelled deep into the Negev Desert and spent time with some of the last surviving true Bedouins…

“‘The Great’ in Great Britain…..Simply Excellent.
In this sojourn, the ‘ I ‘ will be cut and ‘The Cross’ will be born within.” –
a prophecy about my Journey.

“I tell you to love this beautiful world, and it will love you back. I tell you to embrace this beautiful world, and it will embrace you back. I tell you to not run from who you are, who you were born to be, but run into your existence open and full and ready to rejoice in the light of the world… a light which has never been put out since the very creation itself.” – James Dee Clayton, Ghana, December ’15.

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Read more About the Author here

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all enquiries: diary.aesthete@yahoo.co.uk

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Love ❤

81 Comments

  1. I came here to thank you for the follow and I am enthralled by your amazing and beautiful blog. I really wish to travel like you one day. Have safe journeys, wishing you beautiful days ahead. Your journey is really inspiring. Thanks once again. Love from India. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your story shared here is incredible, bewitching and enlightening! I am so glad your energy was brought to me today. I wish you every blessing for your journey. Stay Safe. Sheila xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have lived a bit longer than you and certainly traveled less, but good memories have been stirred reading your posts. I have watched neighbors helping neighbors in Oaxaca when we poured concrete for floors. I have been “mobbed” by kids in Senegal that not only loved a stick of gum, but held onto and cherished the wrapper we would discard. I have worked for sad wealthy people and witnessed the largest smiles in poverty. Life is a journey with twists and turns and new discoveries everyday. Thanks for sharing yours brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pleasure! It sounds as though you have had quite a journey yourself. Life is just fascinating, and it’s a wonderful, boundless thing to share in. Thank you for stopping by and sharing a glimpse of your story. JX

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  4. You have a very charismatic presence. I’m in love with the photograph of you at the tree of Avebury, The Womb of the Earth. I’m not myself religious, at this point, but it reminds me of the illustrations of Osamu Tezuka in his manga series of the journey of Buddha. There was a chapter where Siddharta attained enlightenment sitting in the lap of a glorious tree such as this. It was an incredible work of art that remains in my mind as a definitive pieces of my spirituality.

    Cheers.

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    1. Thank you! I really love that image you’ve conjured for me. There’s something about sitting beneath an old tree that just transports the mind and soul… I shall be on the hunt for that picture now. Thank you. J.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have much more to read of your journeys, your connection has been timely for me. Help me to push forward with renewed hope. Faith it all important but sometimes it teeters. To push down the grounding roots to hold fast onto my own truth. I am blessed to have you in my life it has helped me so much today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so pleased to read this, Nanette. You’ve bestowed me an honour and I, too, am thus inspired. Putting down the roots and holding fast to our truth, our faith, is always a challenge, like breaking hard earth. But the deeper we delve and grow, the stronger our hold, and the easier it becomes to withstand the storms and to find our source. Wishing you every blessing on your journey. Jx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Read ur post James! It was lovely… although I took a long time to read it full as so many shades of life were engulfed in each of ur sentences…. Love ur faith in faith..!

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  7. Love and Light to you from Canada. Thank you for following me I am ever so glad you did! I came to see what your journey is about and I am amazed. I wish I had the money to travel like this, having student debt is a challenge – especially when you have the spirit of a wanderer and explorer deep within you begging to be free. I shall live vicariously through you and I very much look forward to your stories and photos. If you ever want to talk please reach out using my contact page.

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    1. Love and light and heaven’s blessing to you, my friend. I didn’t go to university. I decided to be a student of life instead. I haven’t amounted any debt yet so maybe I should! Travel and experience has become my school. But you will have your time! Although, start making your dreams to wander a reality as soon as possible, bit by bit. Edge into your new life slowly, day by day. Time passes too quickly. Don’t wait for tomorrow. I didn’t just get everything I wanted overnight – I’ve been working at making travel my life for a few years now and still work at it, daily. Money is never easy but I always manage to find a way. Let’s please stay in contact. I don’t get as much time as I’d like to explore the aether but I always love to connect with similar souls. Thanks for coming into my realm. I hope we meet again soon. Keep flying! James x

      Liked by 2 people

  8. What a journey. What changes I see in you. I stayed up most of the night reading through, entering your world. May all beings share the experience of experience. May all people see the world and ourselves in truth so as to bring about compassion, understanding and freedom. Enjoyed myself totally. Now for a cuppa tea and sleep.

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    1. Thank you so much, Christine. Just been looking through your blog. I love your demand for the best of life; and how even your struggles increase your zest. I wish you health and happiness in this new year. Thanks for stopping by. Jx

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  9. You live exactly how I want to someday: led by no other desire than to have freedom. Living by faith, living just to live. That’s what I want more than anything in life. I would give up anything and everything. Good for you, choosing to live this way. I hope you live this amazing life forever. Someday, I will too! Right now, I’m young and my family won’t let me have the freedom I want. I understand that. They want security, I want freedom, and life. So thanks for this blog. It’s really inspiring! 🙂 God bless

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    1. Thank you, Sophie. Your comment means ever so much to me. I wish you every strength in your quest for your personal version of freedom, truth, and living. Your faith will move the mountains that block your path. Stay true. Love what you are and do not modify your truth. God bless. James X

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  10. THAT simply takes my breath away. YOU are the all encompassing divine that you are experiencing, it is obvious you understand and know this to be true, you are experiencing as it is meant to be, fiercelessly, lovingly, bravely, truthfully, honourably, respectfully.. what a divine story you have given yourself permission to have. Godbless all the chapters that await you.
    carly

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  11. Okay, I am mindblown by your story. You are officially the most interesting man I’ve ever come across in the internet and possibly in real life too even though I’ve not met you. I admire you. I admire your courage and your strength, your free-self and heart and mind, and the way you write, so eloquently, so clear and poetic at the same time.
    I have gone through something similar as you but I have not experienced the world as you have. I did one day decide to leave my old comfortable life and go against expectations as you put in bold.
    I decided to live a life surrendering to God and it has led me to live an unconventional life. I experienced a lot of resistance. In 2009 I dropped out of college, I cut financial ties with my dad, and left home. I joined my soulmate whom I can describe as the way you described yourself when you went back home and they didn’t like the “new James”, completely honest and true to his values. A lot of people don’t get him and even like him because he doesn’t do things simply to please others or be liked. His priorities are God, to please God and to be honest. That is not very compatible with today’s societies. So we keep to ourselves a lot.
    I have not been as brave as you or my husband in that sense; I haven’t been too open or honest about what my life has looked like since 2009 as to avoid conflict, hate, or judgement. My bravery only comes from actually choosing this life, but I have yet to completely share it, I say the minimum amount, especially with those who were closest to me (family and old friends). People don’t understand this is the life I want. People think I’m unhappy because I’m not settled in one place or have a nice house and car and have a job. People blame my husband, and it hurts. People greatly underestimate me. I have to learn to be ok with whatever people think. That is my greatest struggle, but then again, if I cared too much I would have never done this. So I don’t know.
    Anyway! I got carried away, sorry for the long comment. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You NEED to speak up! Please – this is your life, your one chance – don’t waste it being afraid. God made you the way you are – people that love you will love ALL of you, not just the bits that suit them and their needs. I’m sorry, but how can you leave half of yourself, your personality, your soul, your shining spirit, behind when you enter a room, or a conversation with ‘friends’?? We have Free Will for a reason – to make our own decisions and choices. Will you choose to remain quiet all your life? It might be really difficult, but make small steps, lots of little steps, that will eventually lead to bigger steps, that will eventually lead to you being uncensored and free. Do it! Trust me when I tell you, my journey has been very difficult at times, and it’s something I work on every day – I’m not even half way there and know I will never be near-perfect, but what I can be is ME, MYSELF – and do the best I can with what I have. We all have a place in this world, and until we step up, move on into the unknown, we may never find that. Keep searching, finding new ways, new people to branch out to. Perhaps it’s time to move on – perhaps you need to experience this discord with you social circles in order to get the beat to move on? Perhaps, maybe, out there somewhere are a group of people just waiting to welcome you and your beloved with open arms – a family of kindreds. Don’t fear being judged for being different, off-the-wall, out-spoken – fear more the walls we build around ourselves, our freedom, our being. I am judged all the time – and it’s a part of life I’ve simply gotten used to. Luckily, my family, NOW, understand me, as do my TRUE friends… many have fallen away; many have kept up with me on my journey of discovery. But che sara! Life goes on, and I certainly know my journey will… as will yours. Just don’t stop, don’t tire, God’s love is limitless, and if you allow it to pass through you, so will you be. There ain’t no better friend than the Lord of All. Just trust. Don’t be afraid. You are beautiful, and the moment you allow yourself to believe that, is the moment you will SHINE. Jx

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  12. You my lovely Angel are a blessing and an inspiration to others on living the life you are given, on taking chances and on being true to your inner being – you. Your adventure thus far is grand and so exciting! Thank you for sharing such a magnificent and profound diary and the photos – wow! So beautiful, all of them. I look forward to reading your next adventure or the next chapter in your journey of life.

    Live the life you were meant to live, love the life you want to live, and by all means – love yourself, your inner being for all you are and all you will become! Cheers to you my Angel! Always with LIFE, LIGHT, POSITIVITY, STRENGTH, BEING THE WARRIOR WITHIN, GUIDANCE, and LOVE!

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    1. I’m speechless… such a beautiful, soul-stirring comment! Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my soul for such profound words and love. Means so very much. I shall do my best to spread the little joys I receive, and share my journey with any who’ll read, and breathe in my life. God bless you and thank you. Here is to a very bright future, and to all us pilgrims of light. Jxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. By the way, after reading all your journeys, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite songs by One Republic – I Lived… (if you haven’t heard it, listen to the words…)

        I heard this again this weeeknd and it reminded me of you and all you’ve done thus far with many more journeys ahead! Enjoy life hun! As we all should – it is priceless.

        Always with LIFE, LIGHT, POSITIVITY, STRENGTH, BEING THE WARRIOR WITHIN, GUIDANCE, and LOVE!

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  13. Loving your journey! I feel happy for you that you were brave enough to just take your bags and follow your dreams. It is truly inspiring. So many beautiful pictures, but my favorite? The one with the baby elephant! 🙂 Blessings! / Adelita

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  14. Oh your blog is so pretty!! I like how you more or less blend in with the places you went too. Like you’ve been a familiar stranger to these places for ages and perhaps ages to come. Wish you a wonderful week ahead.

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  15. Amazing,what a wonderful blog, so young to have already done all this! You’re so gifted and talented, and you make it so effortless to see through your eyes!!

    Like

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