Traveling means engaging in unexpected and wonderful encounters. I recently took one during my long hike in Charlevoix. Yannick Proulx, 41, was hiking alone. But not just the Caps Trail. On April 15, this Quebecer from the municipality of Mont-Blanc set out from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, on a major crossing of Canada…on foot.
In fact, it’s more than a crossing of the country that he’s preparing for, it’s more the 16,000 kilometer east-west section of the Trans-Canada Trail that he’s currently completing. The idea came to him after reading a Japanese philosophical method for finding meaning in life: The Little Book of Ikigai. When asked: “What would you do if you were a millionaire?” Yannick spontaneously said to himself that he would cross Canada on foot. Since the pandemic slowed his professional activity in the event sector, he sold his condominium and its equipment and started his project.
Listen to your boundaries
As for experience, the adventurer had completed Everest Base Camp and a few hikes in the Adirondacks, but nothing more. His approach should also be more introspective and contrary to the idea of performance. He runs an average of around thirty kilometers per day, doesn’t use an app and only refers to the map of the Trans-Canada Trail (www.sentier.ca). He was quickly confronted with his limitations.
“I hit a wall in Woodstock (New Brunswick),” he says. After five days of rest at the monastery of the Little Brothers of the Cross in Charlevoix, he realized that he had nothing to prove to anyone and finally returned home to rest.
With the help of hindsight and calm, Yannick began his return to the trail with a smile when I met him.
“Setting a time goal is probably the worst mistake,” he believes.
He is more aware of his limitations and continues this journey on foot and at meetings, taking time to slow down and take breaks, especially with a stop this winter when he will be on the prairies to get one Series of conferences dedicated to promoting the benefits of walking. And you don’t have to go on a big adventure to do it!
“Traveling on foot is truly accessible to everyone. There is an option to organize a nice hike, for example along the Petit Train du Nord, which will be a great and inexpensive week, but in which it is very healthy to surpass yourself,” he concludes.
Some tips from Yannick for traveling on foot
- Be aware of your limits and know how to stop if necessary. When it rains, when you are too tired, etc.
- Train your mind before you leave
- Don’t compare yourself to other hikers or adventurers
- Tame your vulnerability and accept things as they are. It’s sunny, it’s raining, we accept things.
- Some reference sites: The Marcher different au Québec and Passionnés de rando Facebook groups are great resources for mutual help and inspiration.
Crossing Canada, 16,000 km on foot
- You can accompany Yannick for a few kilometers, offer him accommodation or follow his crossing on his Facebook group: A hike with Yannik. 1um In September it continues its march from the Alexandra Bridge in Ontario.
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