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KINGSTON, Canada — A 56-year-old Montreal man looking to shake off a mid-life depression walked around the world in 11 years, returning this week to Canada, looking radiant after realizing a dream.
A bit thinner and with a few more gray hairs, Jean Beliveau was pushing a three-wheel stroller that carried his sleeping bag, clothes and a first aid kit when AFP caught up with him 290 kilometers (180 miles) west of Montreal.
Walking at a brisk pace, he expects to come full circle, arriving in Montreal on October 16 after skirting the north shore of Lake Ontario and passing through the capital, Ottawa.
He stopped only briefly to nibble on some food and described some of his adventures on this trip to curious strangers, radiating a joy and peacefulness he gained from total freedom.
He did not know where he would sleep that night, depending on no-one and with little money in his pocket. But he was not worried in the least -- it has been this way for the past 11 years and he is fine with it.
In Montreal, he will reunite with his longtime girlfriend Luce Archambault, who has supported him throughout his extraordinary adventure and even created a website detailing his travels: wwwalk.org
Beliveau left Montreal on the day of his 45th birthday, August 18, 2000, after his small sign business went bankrupt. He decided to run around the world to try to escape that painful episode in his life.
Archambault and his two children from a previous marriage did not try to hold him back. "It was cool," said his son Thomas Eric, who was 20-years-old at the time.
Beliveau ran all the way to Atlanta, Georgia before slowing his stride for what would become the longest uninterrupted walk around the world: 75,000 kilometers (46,600 miles) across 64 countries.
Originally posted by halffinger4
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Being from the south shore and now living closer to the townships, I found this to be inspiring, even though I would never attempt this myself. I do remember the father of an old girlfriend doing something similar for his vacation every year. He hopped on his bicycle with a sleeping bag and backpack, and just headed out for a couple of weeks , travelling around the states and Canada.
Originally posted by Fishticon84
What an amazing adventure, and probably the best way to cure depression.
I'd love to have a pint or 2 with this guy and hear the great stories he must have.
I think the furthest I have ever walked was from LaSalle to Old Montreal and back (I was bored).