Jean Beliveau, the Canadian who is walking around the world, arrived in Revelstoke Saturday and, like many visitors, he was impressed by our snow banks.
“It’s amazing the snow we have,” he said. “It reminds of my past life.”
That past life refers to almost 11 years ago, when, suffering through a mid-life crisis, he packed up a trolley and set out on a walk around the world.
The 55-year-old Quebecker left Montreal on Aug. 17, 2000 and his 71,000 kilometre odyssey, so far, has taken him through the Americas, across Africa, around Europe and all the way through Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He’s on his 50th pair of shoes and has learned English, Spanish, Portuguese and some Arabic along the way.
He landed at Vancouver Airport on Jan. 30 and, on Feb. 20 he began the final stretch of his walk across Canada and back home to his wife Luce Archambault and children.
On Saturday, he left the Enchanted Forest west of town and walked the 33 kilometres to Revelstoke, where he found a place to sleep courtesy Krista Stovel.
“Compared to other places I feel spoiled,” he said.
The goal of his walk, as stated on his website, wwwalk.org, is “to promote peace and non-violence for the profit of the children of the world.”
He feels he managed to accomplish that and said for many stretches he was joined by people who walked alongside hime, gave him a place to sleep and put on fundraising events along the way. In the Philippines, he said, 1,000 people joined him for a few kilometres and raised $3,000 to assist street children.
“My basic needs are ok,” he said. “I put all the money to charity.”
So far, he said, the walk along the Trans-Canada Highway has been relatively easy, despite being the coldest and snowiest stretch so far. He said truckers have honked at him in support and given him a wide berth as he ambles along. He doesn’t mind the noise. “This is noisy but more than a decade it’s my sort of life.”
His goal is to get back home to his wife Luce Archambault, children and grandchildren on Oct. 16. He has about 4,100 kilometres to go.
“I see myself as on the driveway now,” he said. “I want to spend Christmas with my family.”