Appeared in George Herald newspaper on 21 August 2003, pg. 23 with a map of Jean's journey and two photographs taken at Lakeside Lodge, Southern Cape, South Africa.

80 000km for children's safety

How does the thought of crossing five continents and seeing 75 countries in your 80 000km walk around the world, in twelve years, sound to you? Well, that's exactly what French-Canadian Jean Beliveau , a 48 year old ex-salesman from Montreal, Canada, is doing.

Three years into his "adventure" sees him currently walking through the Garden Route (or as he emailed his wife, the "Paradise Route") on his way up the East Coast of Africa.

I caught up with Jean at the Lakeside Lodge outside Sedgefield, where he was finishing his breakfast before he headed out in his 18th pair of 'tekkies,' with all his baggage carried in a converted three-wheel baby stroller.

And the reason for his trip? Simply to make politicians aware of violence against children. Ironically, he unknowingly planned his trip to coincide with the UN's international decade (2001-2010) to promote peace and non-violence for the benefit of the children. And yes, an incredible bonus would be if he could meet Nelson Mandela.

His best experience of Africa so far has been the "warmth of the people here." "Very nice," is what he says. He will be in South Africa for the next two and a half months.

He's had a relatively problem-free journey so far, but tells how he got into an incident with a Spanish guy, a gun and a prostitute in Chile. The communication gap that existed between the two men (Jean's Spanish was not up to scratch at this point) almost caused a big problem.

Jean sends his written thoughts to his wife Luce in Montreal, with whom he plans to publish five books, one about each continent. Luce meets him each Christmas wherever in the world he is, but Jean admits he would love to see his granddaughter Laury, who was born six months into his trip. She is now two and a half.

So what do you carry on such an outing? A tent, some clothes, a first aid- and puncture kit, a mattress, a sleeping bag, and some food. This hardly fills the stroller, but Jean says he hasn't been able to accept any gifts from the 400 or so families he's stayed with yet. The best present for him is food. With no one sponsor, Jean relies solely on the goodwill of people in the towns he visits, or he tries to sleep at police stations or churches.

The humility of this man, a celebrity after meeting two Nobel Prize winners in South America, appearing on CNN and in every possible magazine and newspapers like 'Der Spiegel,' is encouraging. His goal is simply to "talk and write and share" his "adventure", and to make a difference in as many children's lives as he can.

For more information on Jean's journey, please log onto

LeeAnne Pratt

Photo caption:

(Pratt1: Canadian) Jean greets the beauty of "Paradise Route" as he continues his walk around the world.

(Pratt2: Canadian) Hosts Derrick and Edna Sheldon (far right and centre) with Lakeside Lodge personnel bid Jean "bon voyage" as he leaves Sedgefield.


Although Jean's original route across Africa had to be adjusted, he still has nine years ahead to cross 58 countries.