Jean stops in on walk around world
JEAN Béliveau admits walking around the world was a crazy idea, but after crossing five continents on foot, he is making history.
Nearly 10 years after stepping off from his home in Montreal, Canada, Mr Béliveau is on the last leg of his journey and is currently heading down the east coast of Australia.
He stopped in Gympie on Tuesday for a bite to eat and ran into Lee and Lorraine Cauchi, who heard his story and put him up for the night at their Monkland home.
Speaking to The Gympie Times yesterday Mr Béliveau said he was on his way to Melbourne where he will catch a ferry to Tasmania and from there he will fly to New Zealand to walk from Queenstown to Auckland.
He said he was ahead of schedule, which meant he could take his time in Australia to begin writing a book about his experiences on the road. He expects to arrive in Vancouver in March 2011 and will take eight months to cross Canada for home.
When he returns to his long-waiting wife and family, he will have walked for 11 years, covered 75,000 kilometres and crossed 64 countries.
Averaging about 30 kilometres a day, Jean said his next stop would most likely be Cooran on his way to Tewantin where he will stay with friends for a couple of days.
“It’s been a big experience,” he understated in broken English. “My plan was to cross the five big continents – symbolically – because I needed to go where it was populated the most.
“I crossed six arid desert zones. The biggest challenge was walking from Darwin to Townsville during summer.”
Mr Béliveau walked in stifling heat through remote country between October of last year to January and said farmers passing by would stop and tell him he was nuts for doing so.
Maybe he is he says – after all he did plan the “pilgrimage” to combat his depression as well as raise awareness for causes along the way and promote 2001-2010 International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World. He said he did not raise money but relied on the kindness of strangers.