Jean Béliveau left on his 18th birthday, on August 18th, 2000, from Montreal. After traveling 75,543 km across 64 countries, he returned home on October 16, 2011. Nothing meant this Canadian to play the globe-trotters. During this long journey, there will of course be the monotony of roads, nights without heat … But he will manage to finish this world tour with the theme “peace and non-violence for the benefit of the children of the world”.
After 11 years around the world, was your return home difficult?
Especially the first weeks are the hardest. You have to readjust yourself to “normal” life, but then you feel better.
How did you get the idea of this world tour?
In January 1998, a storm ravaged Canada. Following this event, I had to close my business and had an existential crisis. I started walking and running. Once, while I was on the Jacques Cartier Bridge, I thought, “But why not go farther, go around the world? That’s how it all started.
How did your entourage react?
At first, I did not tell them anything. Only after a few months did I explain the project to them. I knew that I was taking a huge risk for my family. But I do not regret anything!
How did you prepare?
I did not really prepare myself. For example, I left with a cart and the day I left, I still had no pump in case of puncture. Otherwise, physically, I trained more.
Did you want to give up?
Yes. When I was in the United States, about two months after I left, I watched happy people at home. I was out and it was cold. At that moment, I wanted only one thing, to go home. But the next day, it was better.
By walking, have you had any health problems?
I had surgery in Algeria from the prostate. I stayed a week in the hospital.
What were the moments you enjoyed the most?
I loved meetings with children. When there was no electricity and they sang in front of their house, I felt chills. Myself, I sang songs for toddlers. The sharing was amazing. I was also lucky to meet Nelson Mandela. Even though the interview did not last long, it was a very moving moment!
How much did this trip around the world cost you?
Each year, I spent $ 4,000 each year (note: about € 3,000). The 11 years have returned to me at about $ 44,000. I was lucky because 80% of the resources came from people met on the road. So, I was paid the plane ticket between Brazil and South Africa.
Where did you sleep?
I slept a little everywhere. In small hotels, in cemeteries, under bridges and basically in my tent. One night, I was even invited to sleep in a prison!
Since your return, what are you doing?
I lecture. I also released a book and a movie about my trip. I have not traveled yet because I have to get back financially.
And what are your future projects?
I am writing a more philosophical book, always on the theme of travel. I will also continue to lecture.
His blog: http://wwwalk.org/
Photo Credits: Jean Béliveau the Walker