Before I attended TEDx Waterloo, I was perusing the list of speakers hoping to find a familiar name or two. For a moment, I thought I was going to hear former hockey star Jean Béliveau, but it turned out to be someone else with the same name.
Although also from la belle province, this Jean Béliveau has a very different story. In the year 2000, he had a mid-life crisis, but instead of buying a sports car or having an affair or any of those stereotypical responses, he decided to shut down his successful factory and leave his family to walk around the world.
Here are some interesting numbers about his walk:
- It lasted 134 months
- He walked a total 75,543 kilometres
- He visited 5 continents and 64 countries
- He went through 54 pairs of shoes
His original goal was to embark on an “adventure of learning” but he decided to dedicate his walk to peace and non-violence for the children of the world.
It is quite a fascinating story, but after hearing him speak, I found myself with more questions than answers.
- How exactly did his walk benefit the children of the world?
- What did he learn during his travels?
- What about the employees of the factory he shut down? Could he not have found someone else to run it?
All I can really say is what an amazing wife he has, to support him in such an endeavour and to welcome him home after such a long time away!
Here’s a video taken during his odyssey, in 2009:
You can learn more about Jean Béliveau at http://wwwalk.org/en/.