If you’re a fan of The Proclaimers song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” you might be eager to learn about Jean Béliveau. Because he certainly did walk 500 miles and then did 500 more.
Béliveau, a Montreal native, spent 11 years walking across the world. His unbelievable trek began on August 18, 2000, and ended on October 16, 2011.
Before he embarked on his quest at the turn of the century, Béliveau had lost his job as a neon light salesman and opted to walk across the world to promote a culture of peace and non-violence against children of the world.
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On his 45th birthday, the Quebecer departed from Montreal and started walking south. Like real south.
He walked from Montreal to San Jose, Costa Rica, over his first full year and from San Jose to Iquique (Chile) in the year after. From there, he took a boat to Port Elisabeth and travelled north through South Africa, which took two more years.
He walked to the highest point of South Africa before taking a boat to Lincoln (England) in 2006 and then walked all the way to Indonesia over the next three years. In 2010, he travelled south down Australia over 265 days and took a boat from Yarram back to Vancouver, before walking back to Quebec through the Seprant River in 2011.
Are you tired from just reading that?
In total, Béliveau crossed 64 countries in 11 years and walked 75,500 km while grinding down 56 pairs of shoes with nothing but a three-wheeled stroller that held some food, his clothes, a First Aid kit, a small tent, and a sleeping bag.
In his book, Béliveau said his journey included voluntarily sleeping in South African jail cells, forming a friendship with gang members in Guatemala, and suffering “intense loneliness” while fighting off the stifling heat in the Australian outback.
Check out specific milestones of Béliveau’s unbelievable trek at the Worldwide Walk For Peace and Children website.