Sunday, April 18, 2021

Naples man celebrates half-century milestone with 500-mile walking pilgrimage

Restaurant manager David O’Brien publishes book about his 40-day journey walking The Way of St. James across Spain

“Follow your heart…life is brief” were the last words Herman Fredenburg spoke to his friend David O’Brien.

Currently the manager at Handsome Harry’s Third Street Bistro in Naples, O’Brien was living a comfortable life in Alaska, but as he approached his 50th birthday, he decided to heed his friend’s words and celebrate his half-century milestone with a 40-day pilgrimage walking The Way of St. James or the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

The 500-mile walking route across Spain has been walked by millions over the centuries in search of a second chance at life.

Throughout his journey, O’Brien wrote daily in his journal of the physical, mental and spiritual challenges he faced as he mingled with his fellow travelers, wrestled with his boots and blisters while learning to listen to his own rhythm and inner guidance.

Seven years later, his journal has been published as his first book The Camino Will Provide – Learning to Trust the Universe.

“It’s the story of renewal and healing. It’s also a story of redemption and faith,” explains O’Brien. He says that as the pilgrimage progressed, he was forced to unload things that burdened him both physically and spiritually. O’Brien believes real pilgrimage starts to on the interior.

“I opened my heart and let go of all the things that had kept me from being myself,” he says. “The most rewarding part of the journey is the book and my hope that it will challenge the reader to follow their heart,” he concludes.

After all, life is brief.

 The Camino Will Provide – Learning to Trust the Universe costs $14.95. Available online at and For every copy purchased through the website, O’Brien donates $1 to the Native American Scholarship fund in the name of Dr. Herman Fredenburg.

Handsome Harry’s is located in the heart of Old Naples Third Street Historical District at the corner of Third Street South and 12th Avenue South at 1205 Third Street South.

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