Following a life-transforming near-death experience in Thailand (see detailed story below) Alan Field gave up a life of crime to follow his dreams and become a filmmaker, going on to win numerous awards including a Bafta for a script he wrote for BBC 1's 'The Street' a gritty series set in the North of England. His film 'The Road to Santiago' which documents his personal journey of self-discovery along the Camino de Santiago is a culmination of a powerful inner calling to deepen his relationship with God and a divinely-inspired impulse to be a catalyst for other people's religious pilgrimages. He begins his journey following the footsteps of Paolo Coelho, anticipating a promised meeting with the modern day alchemist, and ends it having touched the Divine within himself.
This film has already been screened in Chaplaincies in Kirkham prison, bringing hope to a number of in-mates. One prisoner, facing impending release after 20 years of incarceration and experiencing deep misgivings about his place in the world, felt inspired to walk the Camino in order to reconnect with life both outside and inside of himself.
The film has also been shown to various youth groups in the church following talks given by Alan Field about his own life transformation. One 22-year old booked his own Camino just three weeks after watching the film. After arriving in Santiago de Compostela, this young man then decided to continue on and walk to Fatima!
“Τhe movie is absolutely great!!”
– Paulo Coelho
“I wanted to say how much Ι enjoyed watching the film. Ιt has a gritty feel that makes it utterly believable and easy to relate to – Ι think it will help open up the pilgrimage for many people just as ‘The Way’ has done!!”
– Father Brendan McManus (Author of Grieving on the Camino)
“It felt like Ι had just walked the Camino myself even though Ι will never be able to, thankyou for this journey!!”
– Lady (name withheld) who suffers from MS
“I just finished watching the documentary and loved it!!!”
– Ivar Rekve (Camino Forum Store)
“Your dvd is fantastic! The men who came to our meeting were so impressed…One of the men is now determined to do the Camino when he gets out he’s been in prison a long time and your dvd has given him a light bulb moment and focus to what he could plan and look forward to. I’m sure you’re going to be great inspiration to so many.
– Marina Barret (Chaplain Kirkham Prison)
Alan's Near-Death Experience: His Own Words....
'18 years ago I was living a life of crime, riding high on the spoils of dirty money, worshipping fast cars and fast living. Involved in importing and exporting drugs, I gave little thought to what was right or wrong until a fateful day in 1998 when the person that I had been literally died, and a new man was re-born.
On the recommendation of a friend, I took a holiday in Thailand. Three days into this trip at Kanchanaburi we journeyed to Erawan Falls, a stunning series of seven tiered waterfalls. On arrival, eager to get to the 7th tier, I followed a group of Thai children and German tourists, climbing the slippery surfaces while listening to rap music on my headphones. Needless to say, I was not paying attention to either the beauty of nature or the real dangers of the environment I was in.
Nearing the top, one small Thai boy put out his hand to take mine when I suddenly lost my footing. There was a moment between myself and the young Thai boy that seemed to last a lifetime...he gazed upon me with eyes filled with such stricken fear, I will never, ever, forget it. His hand slipped from mine and I started my fall, my body picking up speed and turning mid-air so I could see exactly where I was heading. In my mind, I screamed the words, ‘Oh my God I’m dead!’
Suddenly, all was quiet. I was in some sort of void, not falling anymore, no smell, no sight, no sound of the ‘norm’. It felt like nothingness. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘Yes you are dead’. In an instant I found myself in a life review, watching my whole life up until the moment that I fell. As I watched, I experienced an over-whelming feeling of regret…regret in knowing I was about to die and hadn’t done anything about trying to follow my dreams. This feeling of regret wasn’t the regret of an earthly emotion; the pain I felt was incomparable to any physical or emotional pain...in cutting off my two hands the pain still wouldn’t come close to this feeling that consumed my whole soul...
The ‘voice’ suddenly said ‘If WE give you one more chance, what would you do with your life?’ The relief I felt upon realizing I was being given a second chance was indescribable. So because I had never told anyone of my secret dreams of being a writer I just said ‘Oh I know what I will do…’ But the voice then boomed like thunder, demanding ‘WHAT WILL YOU DO!!’ and I shouted back ‘I WILL WRITE!!’
As soon as I screamed those words, I found myself falling again. My buttock hit a rock and my body shifted direction towards a dirty swamp with two huge boulders beneath the surface. Miraculously, I landed right between them and re-surfaced from the water punching the air!
I came home from Thailand a transformed person and immediately set about writing my first script. People told me it would be practically impossible to get a first script onto television, but because of what I had experienced on the waterfall I didn't listen to them because I had faith. This faith was rewarded through a fateful meeting with well-known writer/producer Jimmy McGovern who 'just happened' to be looking for a sixth script in a particular genre for a series that eventually won British TV awards. Out of 120 other scripts written by seasoned writers, he chose mine.
Since my near-death experience, I have felt compelled to live my life doing God's work through my film-making, inspiring people where I am able. The 'Road to Santiago' film was inspired by a deep impulse that followed my prayers of gratitude for the grace that God had given me. I will continue to give my life to God, in return for the illumination granted to me.'