The odds are stacked against him. An 800km walk to the corridors of power to nudge the government into paying attention to drug problems seems daunting.
Supporters turn up to welcome the campaign members and give them moral support.
But despite being intimidated and threatened into giving up his endless fight against the spread of drugs in his village, Chalerm Karnjanapitak vows to keep walking toward his goal.
Mr Chalerm, from Ban Kao Ko Moo 1 in tambon Thonhong of Nakhon Si Thammarat's Phrom Khiri district, does not think the road to success is paved with rose petals.
He, fellow villagers and many others from elsewhere in the province have set out on a road less travelled - heading due north on foot to Government House to push the authorities into raising public awareness about drugs and designing more effective measures to stamp them out.
They have launched a walking protest travelling from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Bangkok.
Thirty-five people, including three monks, some children and even a 75-year-old man, have joined the walk which started on Jan 20.
They will be covering a distance of about 800km to the capital.
Chalerm Karnjanapitak leads campaigners through Surat Thani last week. PHOTOS BY SURAPOJ NUALMUNGSOR
They will also be passing through many provinces and stopping for the night when and where it gets dark.
The walkers expect to arrive at Government House on Feb 9.
The group will hand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra a declaration to eradicate drug problems, drawn from input they gather from small forums with people and social advocates at the stops they make during their 21-day walk.
Retiree Nap Saphanthong said that when it comes to getting the government to work harder, age is not an issue.
"I also jog along the way," said Mr Nap, explaining that a slow walk wears him out.
Strong and healthy, Mr Nap said his mind has travelled a lot further than his feet in the campaign. The group wants to meet the premier and hand over the declaration in person. Mr Nap also wants to pay respects to His Majesty the King at Siriraj Hospital.
The walkers have so far passed through Tha Sala, Sichon and Khanom districts of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Muang and Chaiya districts of neighbouring Surat Thani.
Their routine is the same every day. They start walking bright and early at 6am and occasionally take a rest along the way.
At night, the group meets local people and exchanges views on the drug problem. The opinions are collected and incorporated into the declaration.
The group has received a warm welcome from people all along the way.
Mr Chalerm said he never expected the campaign to attract such wide public interest.
"Some have joined the walk. Others offered to donate money and many called us to ask when and where we will visit their provinces," Mr Chalerm said.
The initial success of the campaign is a big encouragement to Mr Chalerm in his more than 15-year fight against drugs in Ban Kao Ko Moo 1, of which he is the village head.
Last year he was among 22 state officials honoured as "officials with a white heart" by the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission. The award was given to recognise the recipients' honesty and dedication to duty.
However, Mr Chalerm's attempt to become a role model almost cost him his life. Drug gangsters vowed to hunt him down following campaigns he has mounted against the drugs trade. He even put the names of suspected drug dealers on a red board erected in the heart of the village.
The starting point of the campaign at the landmark Wat Mahathat Woramahawihan in Muang district of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Jan 20.
For a while, he delayed his plan for the anti-drug walk to Bangkok for personal safety reasons.
Praphaphon Piyaphisutthisak, a resident from tambon La Ai in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Chawang district, said she did not hesitate to join the rally. She is taking her son and two daughters on the walk.
"The walk will be an extra-curricular learning experience," the 40-year-old mother said.
The children will not miss school because she home-schools them.
"My children have the will to take part in the walk," Mrs Praphaphon said.
Phra Maha Bunnam Punyakulo, who co-leads the rally, also sees the importance of the anti-drug campaign as a way to bolster efforts to improve the quality of life of the people.
Phra Maha Bunnam, a revered monk of Wat Phromlok in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Phrom Khiri district, and two other monks have vowed to keep walking to Bangkok, rain or shine.
The other key supporter of the walk is Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief Pol Maj Gen Ronnapong Saikaew, who is also recognised as a "white heart" official. Pol Maj Gen Ronnapong presided over the ceremony to launch the campaign at Wat Mahathat Woramahawihan in Muang district of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Jan 20.
He said he is greatly satisfied with the interest of the public in the walk. He said the positive response to the campaign is phenomenal and will spur the group into moving forward.
He said the campaign brings people together and educates them about uniting for a public cause. At the mobile forums held so far along the way, some participants said the government's drug policies were not well-integrated and a central agency to lead a national drug crackdown was lacking.
In their view, the authorities are not working in tune to solve the problem, though Ms Yingluck trumpeted an integrated approach to deal with the drug issue.
The forum participants believe the government alone will not triumph over drugs. Instead, communities should be at the centre of the drug war with officials supporting, not leading, the efforts.
"But people in the communities must be first awakened to the problems," Mr Chalerm said.
"Then, let them talk [about the drugs] and tailor solutions that best serve their communities without waiting for policies from the government," he added. He said the public must also bite the bullet over drug matters.The group hopes the walk will put the spotlight on the drug problem and highlight the urgency in placing the issue on the national agenda.
The campaign will also seek allies to form an anti-drug network on the ground and propose views discussed in talks to the government, Mr Chalerm said.
Walkers take a break by a road marker at Khao Luang in Nakhon Si Thammarat during the early leg of the campaign.
Mr Chalerm explains the drug problem to students at a school in Chumphon.
The campaign gathers pace as the walkers proceed along the 800km route to Bangkok.
Mr Chalerm is greeted by a supporter during the anti-drugs walk from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Bangkok.
Campaign members discuss drug eradication ideas with local residents. Their input will be presented to the government.
Among the walkers are a number of youngsters.
About the author
Writer: Surapoj Nualmungsor