Round-the-world walker Jean Béliveau, a French-Canadian, will be back in Hungary on May 7 to launch a 3,590-kilometre trek from Rákóczifalva to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and this time others may be able to join in.
Béliveau walked 75,000 kilometres through 64 countries between 2000 and 2011. The circumference of the Earth at the equator is 40,075 kilometres, and on January 6, 2007 he passed this distance in the small Hungarian town Rákóczifalva, just south of Szolnok. The locals gave him a great welcome and last June he returned for the unveiling of Rákóczifalva’s Monument for World Wide Walk for Peace and Children, built in his honour.
Since then, a Hungarian association has been working on a walking trail between the monument and Budapest, about 90 kilometres and considered to be a four-day section. This trail named after Béliveau will be officially inaugurated on the same day that he begins the latest walk, on May 8.
The collective trek to Spain is being billed as a Brotherly Trek. The distance covered is up to each participant. Béliveau will not walk the whole way but will trek the Hungarian section.
The trails leading to Santiago de Compostella are considered to be Europe’s premier cultural route by the Council of Europe, and are part of UNESCO’s World Heritage.
The Brotherly Trek is a “shared project”. Anyone who wants to participate or contribute in their own way is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with their ideas for a theme or a cause that will advance brotherhood.
Béliveau (wwwalk.org) and Yves de Belleval (ultreia.fondationcem.org), the driving force behind the project, decided to team up after years of walking to raise money and awareness for children in need. de Belleval has walked over 10,000 kilometres on the different trails leading to Santiago de Compostela.
They believe that walking is the most respectable means of transportation, because we start walking at the age of one. Humans walk to get food, to meditate, to focus, to think about their existence, and to improve or maintain their physical and mental health. To walk is to find balance in life and to explore one’s surroundings at a natural pace.
Individuals and groups are invited on the trek and some French and Hungarian hiker associations have signed up. Reasons to support the project are for a humanitarian cause, for a health cause, for an environmental cause, organising a special event in your community or asking Béliveau and de Belleval to walk in your name. People who support or participate in the Brotherly Trek are asked to think about and then write down the values associated with the concept of brotherhood or the idea of hiking. de Belleval, will write a book in which he will weave their stories, accounts and personal experiences. Proceeds from the book will all go to causes supported by the Brotherly Trek.
Sponsorship is encouraged, for the same causes.
After walking from Rákóczifalva to Budapest, the next 3,500 kilometres of trails pass Vienna and Innsbrück in Austria, along the shore of Lake Constance and through Geneva in Switzerland, then to Le Puy-en-Velay and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France.
Although all the participants will set off together, they can walk by themselves and follow a personal trek plan. Everyone will be given a copy of the official route and a list of the resources available.