One for the Road: Planetwalker

Here’s an inspirational story that’s more about transportation than it is about travel. Actually, it’s a tale of determination and inner strength. Planetwalker is the memoir of John Francis, an environmental activist who embarked on a remarkable journey of courage and conviction. After witnessing an oil spill in San Francisco Bay in 1971, he stopped using motor transportation, and began to walk everywhere he went, for a total of 22 consecutive years. Early into his walking pact, he also took a vow of silence, which lasted 17 years.

During his silent walking journey, Francis took a pilgrimage across the U.S. on behalf of the environment and world peace. He managed to earn a PhD in land management as well. On Earth Day in 1990 he broke his vow of silence. Francis now runs a non-profit environmental education program called Planetwalk. He travels the world speaking about pilgrimage and change, and about an environmental studies curriculum he has developed for high schools and universities. He’ll be speaking at the National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium this coming Wed., Oct. 17 at 7:30 pm. Sure sounds like someone I’d like to hear speak, although his actions and activism have spoken volumes already.