Be Epic! Walk with a Purpose! Onward!
These are the EverWalk credos.
So, to walk all the way around the world — well, that’s a trifecta!
How many people have walked around the world? Well, let’s find out!
David Kunst is the first man independently verified to have walked all the way around the world. He covered four continents and 14,500 miles.
Dave and his brother John set out on their epic adventure by walking east from Waseca, Minnesota, on June 20,1970, accompanied by a pack mule named Willie Makeit. (Get it?) Four years later, on October 5, 1974, Dave returned without his brother, who was killed by bandits halfway across Afghanistan.
Known as The Earthwalker, Dave Kunst wore out twenty-one pairs of shoes. He carried a plastic scroll with him, which the mayor of all the towns where he stayed signed and stamped. He came back with five scrolls covered in signatures! Truly an epic journey.
Dave may have been first, but George Meegan went on to shatter all walking records. In fact, George holds eight!
From 1977 to 1983, George walked 19,019 miles in 2,425 days from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. This gave him the record for the longest unbroken walk, the first and only walk to cover the entire Western Hemisphere, along with the most degrees of latitude ever covered on foot. He also maintains four other records relating to the number of countries and continents crossed during the course of his journey. All of this is chronicled in his book, The Longest Walk. His journey took 2,425 days, which comes to six years and eight months — and thirty-one million steps! He also traveled alone and without money — until he met his wife, Yoshiko Matsumoto, whom he married along the journey and with how he ended up having two children with before he finished the route. Now that’s an adventure.
The title of “first woman to walk around the world” went to Ffyonna Campbell — albeit very briefly. When it emerged that she had “cheated” on a few miles of the journey in the USA, that title was removed. And yet. . .starting at just sixteen years old, she walked 20,000 miles across the US, Australia, Africa, and Europe over the course of eleven years! She even made up the distance she missed in the US. But they would not give her the record. Nonetheless, she holds the record for the fastest crossing of Austria on foot — walking 3,200 miles in only ninety-five days! She has written a book called, The Whole Story: A Walk Around the World.
Then there’s former British paratrooper, Karl Bushby, who planned his walk on the back of a beer mat in 1998. He is still walking — in what is now a twenty-plus year, epic 36,000-mile journey to circumnavigate the globe in segments. It will be the longest continuous walk in history. The issue hasn’t been geography or weather as much as getting the right visas!
He began walking on November 1, 1998, starting from South America. He travels with The Beast, a makeshift trolley containing all of his possessions. As of now, he has trekked the length of South and North America, and is the first person recorded (obviously there were a lot of unrecorded crossings through human history!) to cross the Bering Strait on foot. He then proceeded to cross Siberia. His journey continues, and now that we have the internet, you can follow his journey online.
Strollers are popular walking companions on epic journeys. Just ask Gary “Walkingman” House, who has walked 22,000 across the U.S., UK, Europe, Mexico, Central America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. He is heading out for another 14,000 more miles planned to walk across Asia, Africa and South America — which will break the Guinness Book World Record for walking around the world. He began his journey in 1997 and currently walks with a three-wheel baby stroller filled with all of his necessities, writing an article every three weeks about his journey on his iPad, complete with photos.
However, Arthur Blessitt may have something to say about that Guiness World Record. Blessit began his walk across the world on December 25, 1969 in Hollywood, California — and is the current Guinness Book World Record for walking around the world, having travelled over 40,000 miles through 323 countries, island groups, and territories over his lifetime. Blessitt, however, carries something a bit more cumbersome than most walkers. He carries a cross. Why? Well, Jesus did it. And his walk is dedicated to the glory of God.
While many of these walkers are still hard at it, Jean Beliveau has completed his journey. After the infamous ice storm of 1998, Jean Beliveau began to wonder how long it would take to run to New York City. Then his plans expanded. Why not Mexico? He began by running to Atlanta, but when knee problems arose, he started to walk. Eleven years later, in 2011, Beliveau walked back into Montreal accompanied by one hundred people celebrating his achievement of walking around the world through sixty-four countries on his World Wide Walk for Peace and Children, to promote “Peace and non-violence for the profit of the children of the world.”
Over his 4,077 days on the road, he stayed with families, camped by the road in a tent and pushed a car with his belongings. He would later say of the journey, “You’re always in culture shock. No sooner do you get used to a place and fall in love with it than it’s behind you.” During his time on the road, he met Nelson Mandela and lived with indigenous peoples around the globe. But perhaps most extraordinary, he managed to stay married to his wife in Canada. Once a year, Luce would meet him for three weeks together, in one place. Now that Beliveau is home, he walks an hour or two a day — for exercise!
And then there’s Harry Lee “Hawk” McGinnis, who began his global walk in the Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade in 1992. He finished in March 2008, having walked through sixty-six countries. He began at age sixty six and finished at age eighty!! It truly is never too late!!
We EverWalkers love to walk. So what better inspiration than these epic adventurers who truly have walked around the world! May they and we keep inspiring one another to walk with a purpose: ONWARD!