Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
For “Walking Monk” a Long, Hot Trek
Mandala and I decided, or rather the fireball (the sun) decided, that we would tackle night hours again. The evening breeze was enlivening as we left the Omaha area and headed towards Lincoln, Nebraska.
Local radio had covered our story and so did the Omaha World Herald Newspaper. Under the title above, Maggie O’Brien wrote:
“The Walking Monk” made a stop in Omaha on Tuesday as part of his journey across America to celebrate his faith and promote an active, healthy lifestyle.
“It’s about going back to the basics,” Bhaktimarga Swami said. “Like Gandhi said, a simple life, high thinking. I see this as doing both of those things.”
Swami, 63, is a Hindu monk from Canada. He is walking from New York to San Francisco to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Hare Krishna religious movement, which emphasizes spiritual well-being and clean, simple living.
Swami changed his name from John Peter Vis when he became a monk in 1973. He wears an orange robe and black Crocs on his feet.
He considers walking an ideal form of exercise, he said, because anyone can do it, and it allows time for self-reflection.
This tour is broken into three parts. He started last fall in Boston, went to New York, then into Pennsylvania. The second leg started again in Pennsylvania over Mother’s Day weekend and took him to Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Nebraska. He arrived in Omaha on Tuesday.
Next up is Grand Island on Wednesday, where he’ll stop his journey before completing the third leg of the trip next summer.
Swami, who also practices yoga, said he started walking long distances to get away from the chaos of the world.
He has walked across Canada four times. He’s also trekked through Ireland (he said it was wet), Israel (dry), Ghana (hot) and Trinidad (humid).
It hasn’t been easy walking through the Midwest, he said. Swami usually gets up at 4 a.m. to beat the heat and averages about 20 miles a day.
“It’s been a hot, sweaty summer,” he said.
May the Source be with you!