Jean Béliveau arrived in Ottawa’s Minto Park on the weekend — almost at the end of an 11-year walk around the world.
What started as a journey of self-discovery during a mid-life crisis turned into a walk for peace and a call for attention to young victims of violence.
Béliveau has travelled more than 75,000 kilometres across six continents and 64 countries. In late January, he landed in Vancouver and has been making his way across Canada ever since, pushing a stroller with a few belongings and a First Aid kit.
When the 56-year old Quebecer reached Ottawa, he had just about worn out his 53rd pair of shoes. All that walking took a toll on his body, and there were times he wasn't sure he'd be able to finish.
Almost gave up
He remembers an especially hard day in Mozambique.
"The mind could not manage the body, the body just fell down in the grass, and I said 'Man, you die now.'"
His goal propelled him forward, however.
Béliveau started his walk with $4,000. Every year his wife sent him about that much to get by, but he’s largely relied on the kindness of strangers.
He says his next journey will involve writing about his travels and speaking about his adventures along the way.
Now, with just about two weeks to go before he meets his wife, Luce Archambault, in Montreal, Béliveau is imagining their time together.
"I'll take a walk with my wife, sure, but I think she will take a short leash."