Words, Meaning & Avoir le déclic (to have a lightbulb moment)
The worst thing about summer in the south of France + do you know these slang words?

Le Défi: An upcoming challenge for Jean-Marc + full story recorded in French

GR 20 trail in Corsica France
One of the many "points d'eau" Jean-Marc talks about in his update, below. The English version follows and the entire story is available on sound file, below.

Today's French Word: "le défi"

    : challenge, dare

Sound File: Click below to listen to Jean-Marc read his story.  Note:  Jean-Marc repeats a few of the sentences in this long recording (where an error was made).

Click here for the audio File


Dans deux semaines, je vais parcourir une des plus belles randonnées d'Europe : Le fameux GR20. Ce magnifique sentier traverse la Corse en diagonale, partant au Nord Ouest de cette "l'île de beauté" (Calenzana) pour arriver au Sud Est, à Conca.

La plupart de cet itinéraire est en haute montagne avec une incroyable diversité de flore composée de chênes, châtaignier et le maquis Corse, de faune et même au mois de Juin, il est fréquent de traverser des névés surtout dans la partie Nord du parcours. Je pars randonner avec mon meilleur ami, Nicolas, avec qui j'ai lié mon amitié pour la vie suite à un voyage inoubliable en mobylette à travers la Corse, alors que nous avions tout juste 15 et 16 ans.

L'année dernière, pour notre première partie du chemin, nous avons marché 5 étapes, chacune dure environ 8 heures et malgré la difficulté des importants dénivelés positifs et négatifs (qui font encore plus mal aux jambes), la beauté des paysages, les nombreux points d'eau pour se rafraîchir et l'excitation de marcher sur ce sentier mythique permettent d'oublier la souffrance.

Nous partons aux aurores pour éviter la chaleur et arrivons à chaque nouveau camp en milieu d'après midi pour déguster une omelette, une Pietra (bière Corse) avant une petite sieste, un dîner au coucher du soleil et quelques heures à essayer de dormir dans la même tente.

Il y a un an, j'étais en pleine forme physique et mentale. L'idée de ce périple, dont nous avions trop souvent repoussé l'organisation, me faisait frissoner de bonheur. Je garde un souvenir impérissable de cette semaine passée en pleine nature où j'ai gravi le plus haut sommet de Corse : Le Monte Cinto.

Aujourd'hui, les temps ont bien changé. Je traverse une période mentale très sombre et je ne suis sûrement pas assez prêt pour affronter physiquement ces épreuves sportives. Mais je ne louperai pour rien au monde ce magnifique défi car si je sais bien que je vais souffrir, je me dis aussi que si j'arrive à parcourir ces 5 étapes, je serai plus fort pour affronter tous les sommets psychologiques personnels qui m'attendent à mon retour.

Merci pour vos encouragements,

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

In two weeks, I'm going to hike one of the most beautiful trails in Europe: The famous GR20. This magnificent track crosses Corsica diagonally, starting in the North West of this "island of beauty" (Calenzana) to arrive in the South East, in Conca.

Most of this itinerary is in the high mountains with an incredible diversity of flora composed of oaks, chestnut trees and the Corsican maquis, of fauna and even in June, it is frequent to cross snowy slopes especially in the northern part of the route. I will be hiking with my best friend, Nicolas, with whom I made a lifelong friendship after an unforgettable trip on a moped through Corsica when we were just 15 and 16 years old.

Last year, for our first part of the trail, we walked 5 stages, each one lasts about 8 hours and despite the difficulty of the important positive and negative changes in altitude (which make the legs even more painful), the beauty of the landscapes, the numerous water points to refresh ourselves and the excitement of walking on this mythical trail allow us to forget the suffering.

We leave at dawn to avoid the heat and arrive at each new camp in the middle of the afternoon to enjoy an omelette, a Pietra (Corsican beer) before a little nap, a dinner at sunset and a few hours trying to sleep in the same tent.

A year ago, I was in great shape physically and mentally. The idea of this trip, which we had postponed too often, made me shiver with happiness. I keep an imperishable memory of this week spent in the middle of nature where I climbed the highest summit of Corsica: Monte Cinto.

Today, times have changed. I'm going through a very dark mental period and I'm certainly not ready enough to face physically these sporting events. But I will not miss for anything in the world this magnificent challenge because if I know well that I will suffer, I also say to myself that if I manage to cover these 5 stages, I will be stronger to face all the personal psychological summits which await me at my return.

Thank you for your encouragement,

Book: Trekking the Corsica GR20: Two-Way Trekking Guide: Real IGN Maps 1:25,000

Jean-Marc in Corsica
Jean-Marc at the top of Monte Cinto, June 2021

Jean-Marc and Nicolas

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Judith Dunn

......JM... I believe and hope this trek with your friend will be 'just what you needed', both physically and spiritually! You have an iron will and good heart and great spirit ... and I say 'you've got this'! I hope you will arrive at your end destination
with a sense of accomplishment and renewed spirit and attitude! You have proven your resilience so many times before and you can do it again. I have all the faith in the world in you and your family, who cherish you. Let life and nature overtake you on this adventure.....Bon courage, Judi Dunn

Suzanne Codi

Bravo,Jean-Marc, et bon courage! Nous sommes tres fiers de toi!! xo Suzanne et Charlie


That is the most beautifully written story that I have ever read here !!! Wow✊💐 best wishes for a wonderful journey‼️🙏🌳


Merci d'avoir raconté cette histoire en français! Et bonne chance à tous.


Your instincts are right on - go get that GR20!! You are in our hearts and prayers and/or meditations. I know you can do this.


C'est une tres belle place. Bon courage!! Bonne chance!

John Hawke

Buen Camino, the GR20 is the most difficult hike in all of Europe and I commend your courage!

Elaine Street

I hope this convinces you that you are a strong man, a very strong man.

Laura Livingston Robbins

Bonne chance Jean-Marc! Supporters from all over the world are rooting for you!
Laura from New York

Jenine Clifford

I am in awe of your strength and determination to begin this given all you have been through of late!
I pray you are at peace as you begin this journey and are given the grace for each step you take. I will be praying protection over you to the North, South, East and West. My hope is that you will complete this journey and return to your family with a much lighter spirit. And an amazing sense of accomplishment!

Tam in TX

Praying for you, Jean-Marc! I love that you are doing this with a great, long-time friend and that you're doing this even though you're not feeling mentally up. Kristi, I'll be praying for you as he's away and you're missing and likely worrying about him! Hugs to all.

Suzanne M Dennis

Bonne Chance, Jean-Marc! I cannot wait to hear about this adventure with Nicolas. Hoping rising to these heights also raises your spirits. It sounds both challenging and rewarding. Our thoughts go with you.


Prayers for great success, the first of many victories. I admire your courage and strength. May God bless you and Nicolas with special times, much joy, and the best soul food of all - the miraculous beauty of His creation. - Janet

Augusta B. Elmwood

Jean-Marc, I second Suzanne's emotion. It couldn't have been stated better!
Our prayers & thoughts are with you!
Bon courage, pèlerin!

Richard Swarb

Go for it brother.


Bon courage, Jean-Marc!

Leslie NYC

I remember a favorite yoga teacher telling the class, "Your mind is like a bad neighborhood. Don't go in there alone!" He knew that many of us were beating ourselves up mentally or battling all sorts of demons inside.
I am glad you will have Nicolas, your loyal friends, family, and all of us readers wishing you well.
One step, then another.
Wishing you simplicity and self-love.


Bon Voyage Jean Marc! May this adventure help to raise your spirits and give you added strength!

Cynthia Lewis

I, too, want to send my best wishes as you face the challenges of this beautiful part of the world. Thank you for sharing the experience by writing your story. Bon courage!

Diane Covington-Carter

Bon Courage Jean Marc!
Vous pouvez le faire!


Bon courage! Bonne chance! Et beaux temps!
Karryn 🇨🇦

Patricia Sands

Bravo, J-M! Our hearts and hopes are with you and Nicolas. Such a true friendship is the best support on a challenge such as this. Every step forward is a success. You are in my heart and thoughts.


Bravo, Jean-Marc,
et bon courage!
Amicalement, Chris

Jill Ferrie

Wishing you all the best, Jean-Marc. I admire your perseverance and spirit of adventure.


Bravo, Jean Marc. Next year El Camino! (Or five days on it).


Jean Marc,
Bon courage & bonne chance! Vous pouvez le faire.

Patti Raffy

Bon courage, Jean Marc!!


Bon courage, Jean-Marc!


It does sound wonderful. Sending all my best thoughts along with you!


Elaine Mercier

Best wishes to Jean-Marc; you’ll be so proud of yourself when you finish.

You’ve got this!!!!


Jeanine Woods

Jean-Marc- Je prie pour vous et que ce périple avec votre meilleur ami et la beauté de la nature vous aiderez guérir. Vous avez beaucoup de support de vos amis dans le monde entier. N’oubliez pas que vous êtes fort. Bon courage!


You have inspired me to begin my own journey to start walking to improve my health and mind. Best wishes for your trip. Enjoy the camaraderie with your friend. Find comfort in knowing you had the fortitude to start this trip even during these challenging times.
Thank you for the inspiration.

Sandy Vann

Thinki.ng of you Jean Marc and wishing you bon courage et bon chemin. May you find strength and peace along the beautiful path.

Devra Long

Bon courage Jean-Marc!
We are all with you!! 🙏🙏🙏

Joanne Fischer

Bon courage, Jean-Marc! I know you can do it!

Lois F Kerr

Bon courage, Jean-Marc!

Ellen A.

One must admire your courage, Jean-Marc. You are a very special man with an extraordinary life, and an extraordinary wife. Bonne route!

K. J. Laramie

Just having the idea and taking the first step is already a triumph. Your path shines so bright in all directions! The determination to accomplish such a feat? 👏 Extraordinaire. This will be a challenge you will remember and cherish forever, especially knowing all your friends and family are with you all the way! Bon courage!

Judi Miller

What a wonderful accounting of your trek, your passion and your determination. Much to be thankful for, least of which is your own drive to be well and for your dear friend and loving wife! May you be blessed along all your paths!!

barbara michels

Bon Chance. I have a wonderful memory of spending the night in a hilltop village in south Corsica and eating mutton stew. The sheep sometimes clog the trails.


Kristi & Jean-Marc, prayers for this heaviness to leave and for your joi de vivre to be restored. Blessings, ~Beth


Jean-Marc’s post makes me feel both tearful and envious. Prayers for a healing journey in the company of a good friend.

Diane Heinecke

Bon courage, Jean-Marc. I will be praying for you and know God will sustain you physically and mentally. How wonderful to share this with a good friend!

Kitty Wilsn-Pote

YES!!! Vous écrivez,"Je garde un souvenir impérissable de cette semaine passée en pleine nature où j'ai gravi le plus haut sommet de Corse: Le Monte Cinto." The power of your living memory of last year is fuel enough for anything: what a healing trek this will be, cher Jean-Marc!

Vraiment, à chaque étape de guérison de cette randonnée déterminée, stimulante, jubilatoire et courageuse - à la fois en vous et autour de vous - chaque pas sera une autre victoire. Bon courage, notre cher ami, respiration après respiration, alors que vous récupérez votre résilience la plus profonde.

Wow - quelle brillante décision. Nos cœurs vous accompagnent, comme toujours. Alors, à J-M et Nicolas - Objectifs GR 20 - 2022 atteints !

Michael Connolly

Wishing you kindness and fortitude. Bon courage!

Beth Mcnamara

JM- I think Nature will light & lift & fill your soul on this trip with your dear friend. And once you get home it will stay with you every day going forward in your life. Best to you.

Chris Allin

So beautifully said…

Chris Allin

Dear Jean-Marc,
You may be halfway to healing just by taking on this amazing challenge. Your affinity for the incredible beauty in nature and the kindness and support of your dear friend should only help you glide over the clear or rocky paths you will walk. I hope the finish will give you encouragement in knowing that you can have purpose. May you find comfort in creating another wonderful life-long memory with Nicholas. Bon courage to you both…

Sarah LaBelle

Such a grand excursion you and your friend have planned. I like to think a hike in a beautiful place fully absorbs the mind and body. Changes one’s view. It has done that to me more than once.

I hope your hike is great.

Lee and Maureen

Jean-Marc, we are confident that you will conquer this challenge as well as your private battles. We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet you and Kristi and spend time together and enjoy your fine wines. It is these wonderful memories of you and your beautiful family that gives us courage as we deal with the health issues that come with the aging process. You , our friend, have a beautiful strong heart and will always be the perfect example of a true “French man” and the reason we fell in love with Provence and its culture.
Much love, many hugs and kisses,
Maureen and Lee

Sue J.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Bon courage, Jean-Marc.

Norma Plowman

It’s not just the destination but the ups and downs along the way-a bit like life, no? Have a great , challenging, and rewarding trip! Sounds wonderful!


dear Jean-Marc: good for you! Accepting this challenge will certainly strengthen you mind, body & soul. Being with your best friend will absolutely prove to be a winner! Stay strong, focused & healthy! Bon adventure!!!

Marie Fagnou

Courage et bonne chance Jean-Marc!

Sharon Marchisello

Bravo, Jean Marc. Bonne chance, et bon courage!

Kathleen Bidney

Jean Marc,
Bon courage. May you get into the moment as you climb and descend, eat and rest, and let the spirit take you on the journey which you need and crave. May you finish this journey refreshed in both body and mind as well in soul and spirit.
Peace, Kathleen

Gretchen Dawson

Kristi, My husband Bob and I will be in La Ciotat September 6, 2022. We will be anchoring there and arriving by tender from the Seabourn ship Sojourn. We'd like to visit Jean Marc's wine shop and if you'd like take you and he for lunch. I've been reading your blog for years and it would be a highlight to meet you. If meeting is not possible, could you please give us the full name and address of your wine shop? Thank you so much!
Gretchen and Bob Dawson, Sarasota, FL

Kristin Espinasse

Gretchen, It would be a pleasure to meet you and Bob. I will send you an email and we can confirm. 
A bientôt,


Aloha from Hawaii, Jean-Marc! You have a community of friends from all over the world cheering you on. Best Wishes!


Bon courage, Jean Marc et Kristi aussi! I know well the struggles with mental health. And also the joy of a beautiful physical challenge. I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2017. It strengthened me in ways that I still experience today. Best of luck and keep on.

Karen in NY

I don't remember where I heard this but: stand barefoot on top of a mountain and let the sun shine on your face. The earth realignes you. Sure. But I do this when I get the chance... OK it's a 200 foot (61m) above sea level hill in my yard...but it feels good actually. I was going to try this in French but, ohhh, not this week. I needed the Google translator to get Bonne chance et Bon voyage right.


It looks so beautiful. What a great way to spend time with un ami! Bon Courage et bonne chance! Prayers and good cheer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Nancy Reynolds

Bon courage, Jean-Marc!

Nancy A Reynolds

J'ai du dire, et Nicolas!

Carole Fitzgerald

Cher Jean- Marc , wishing you courage on your journey and may your mind feel more free on completion of it , sending hugs and bon courage from Australia to you both , Carole xxx

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