Monday, November 5, 2012

The man who spent 11 years walking around the world to fight depression

the man who walked the world in 11 years

A 56-year-old Canadian man, who left home after his business went bankrupt, has completed an 11-year walk around the world, and told a crowd of well-wishers his new goal was to promote peace.

Jean Beliveau - who arrived to a hero's welcome in Montreal from loved ones, MPs and supporters - said his "real mission'' was to lobby Canada and other governments to create "ministries of peace.''

"We are all different, and that is what is beautiful about life on Earth - our different colours, different beliefs, different political systems,'' he said.

"Those are all musical notes... we must create harmony from them, create a common tune,'' an emotional Beliveau told the crowd assembled at city hall in the old part of the city.
Beliveau left Montreal on the day of his 45th birthday - August 18, 2000 - after his small sign business went bankrupt. 

jean beliveau the man who walks the world in 11 years
Jean in Chile 

He decided to run around the world to try to escape the pain, his own way to fight depression. He even stated that he'd rather be eaten by lions in Africa than be eaten by the society.

man who walks the world for 11 years to fight depression
Jean in Azerbaijan (2007)

Below are some of Jean's statements about his travel:

"I took $4,000 Canadian, which was about $3,000 U.S. at that time. It wasn't enough, I knew that, but for me I had to escape. I had to go. I needed to make a big pilgrimage. To see who I was and where I was in life. I probably spent about $50,000 or so for the whole trip. Some people spend the same amount for a two-week trip."

"I had everything I needed in a three-wheeled stroller – a sleeping bag, tent, a pad, only a couple changes of clothing, a pillow, a First aid kid, some food and water."

how to fight depression story of jean beliveau
"I averaged about 20 miles per day over 11 years, but I didn't walk every day. It took about six months to cross the U.S., about 8 months for Mexico and Central America. Then I had to skip Colombia because back in 2002 it was considered very dangerous. I spent almost two years walking through South America and then I ran out of money. I didn't want to call Luce and ask for her to pay for my flight to Africa. Eventually, a Brazilian guy offered to pay for my ticket to South Africa and the trip continued."

"People invited me into their homes, they fed me, they phoned people 30-40 miles ahead to help me. Some people gave me money, brought me to the supermarket and filled my buggy with food. I stayed with about 1,600 families in 64 countries, but in general I'd say I spent roughly one-third with families, one-third camping and the rest being invited to sleep in churches, temples, mosques, schools and even prisons. I stayed with criminals, killers, extremists – all kinds of people."

the man who traveled 11 years around the world

"In Europe and Japan a lot more people treated me like I was a homeless person or a beggar. You feel the rejection; you can tell it in people's eyes. I was someone apart from the society. I was in Latin America and Africa for about four years, where I was welcome. In Europe, people would back away from you. You say hello to people and they think you're crazy."

"I was woken up by a puma in the night in Chile while I was in a sleeping bag, but thankfully it went away. I was almost robbed in South Africa. But there were so many more occasions where people were good to me. I needed prostate surgery in Oran, Algeria, but had no money. They said, 'Don't worry, we want to support you.' I was in the hospital for six days and they paid for everything. Even in Iran, they were amazing people. There's a difference between the regime there and the people. The people there are beautiful."

"I walked in whatever shoes people gave me along the way, and someone gave me sandals in Iran. Those were terrible to walk in. I went through 54 pairs of shoes."

"I spent three months crossing the desert in North Australia. It was 45 degrees (Celsius). I was drinking 10-12 liters of water per day but it was brutal. It took eleven months to cross the whole country. But then I got lucky. I went to New Zealand next and Air New Zealand offered to fly me back to Vancouver and then I crossed Canada to get home to Montreal."

the man who walks the entire world in 11 years
the adventures of jean beliveau
Jean in Borneo (2009)

Jean in Germany (2006)

Jean in India (2008)

Jean in Mozambique

Jean in Nepal (2008)

Jean in Sudan

Jean in Sudan

Jean in Texas

Jean in Nepal (2008)

Jean in Australia (2009)

(Click HERE to see the video of his route)

The man who's in search of peace, found peace, shares and promotes peace around the world. I posted this story because it can and may inspire other people who are suffering difficulties in life just like what happened to Jean. He was able to divert himself from depression into something worthwhile. A dream is not just about being rich, it's about finding what your heart desires, having peace of mind, having the feelings of contentment with what you have and being happy with your loved ones. 


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