Man of inspiration: Canadian Jean Beliveau walks around the world, takes 11 years

Next time something bad happens in your life, take a leaf from this guys book and walk it off – who knows, you might actually see something new… If...

Next time something bad happens in your life, take a leaf from this guys book and walk it off – who knows, you might actually see something new…

If you’ve ever had something terrible happen in your life, you know how easy it is to go home, sit on your couch like a stunned mullet and crack open a beer. Unless your house was repossessed, in which case you couldn’t do that, or, like me, you can’t drink beer without getting stupidly trashed. Opening a beer in that case just makes things worse. You do have other options though, like 56-year-old Jean Beliveau’s idea of going for a walk.

When the Canadian goes for a walk, he really takes it seriously. After his small sign business went bankrupt, Beliveau left Montreal on August 18, 2000 for the walk of a lifetime. He began at running pace, making it all the way to Atlanta, before slowing to a walk – a walk that would become the longest uninterrupted walk in history. It took him 11 years, spanned 64 countries and 75,000 kilometres and gained him a worldwide following.

On his journey he was escorted in the Philippines by armed soldiers, ate snake in China and dressed in disguise while walking through Sudan. While it sounds like something a single man could potentially do, Beliveau had a girlfriend, children from a previous marriage and more family back in Canada. The last time he saw his mother was before he left and his girlfriend flew out once a year at Christmas to be with him. She also supported him financially throughout the voyage.

While the Canadian did it in part to get over the pain of the loss of his business, he also did it to rally the Canadian Government to create ministries of peace. If his welcome home reception was anything to go by, with over 100 supporters walking the final steps with him before a reception in Montreal, he’s succeeded in at least bringing it to the government’s attention.

You can get all the details of Beliveau’s walk here. He even visited Australia last year on the final part.

Image: Meandering in Lotus Land

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Lifestyle

Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men's Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney's North Shore with his girlfriend.
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