By Cindy Chant
This may be Bhaktimarga Swami’s (The Walking Monk) fourth trek across Canada, but May 22 was the first time taking a break in the small town of Alberton.
“This is such a quiet province,” said Bhaktimarga, as he explained, “Every day is an adventure.”
On May 22, he started his day at 4:45am from Tignish, and managed to walk 38 km before taking a break in the shade at the Old Town office in Alberton. Last September, he walked through Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. This year he plans on tackling PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec and on into Ontario.
The purpose of the lengthy trip is to take some time of solitude, said the Toronto native, who went on to explain, “we don’t take enough time to reflect…we have made life very complex with our gadgets and technology. For example, people justify using their cars more because they spend so much on insurance…so they think they have to use it.”
Some of the preparation that goes into walking across Canada is to find a loyal companion that will keep track of his every move. That is where Winnipeg native, Daruka dasa comes in with his faithful mascot Billy the bird lovingly perched on his shoulder.
“It is hard to find someone that can dedicate so much time away from their every day life to follow me across Canada,” said The Walking Monk.
Daruka dasa task is to provide healthy vegetarian meals for the monk two times a day, by preparing vegetable wraps with special spices brought in from the Himalayas. At the end of the day the monk usually prepares an unique dish he referred to as ‘kitri’, which is made up of rice, lentils, vegetables, turmeric and various herbs. The dish is usually made by using his trusty small Coleman stove.
“Life doesn’t have to be complicated when your on the road,” said the monk.
When Bhaktimarga is not walking across Canada he is involved with providing inspiration to members of his community, along with working with young people around the world. He spends many weeks instructing kids who are otherwise too shy to participate in group activities to get up on stage and act out various drama’s he wrote himself.
“The magic happens on stage…they excel and get over their shyness which builds confidence,” said Bhaktimarga.
So far the monk has encountered many sunny days, but also swarms of bugs in the low laying areas located on the Confederation Trail.
“These things are there to see how you are going to cope with it. Life is like that, you have to weather the storm.”
On May 23, Bhaktimarga continued on his adventure as he welcomed anyone who would like to share his journey.