Thursday, 4 August 2016

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
Ankeny, Iowa

More Walking, Less Squawking

From the “Newton Daily News” Alex Olp wrote:

Bhaktimarga Swami, also known as “The Walking Monk,” made his way through Newton on Thursday as he continues his project to walk coast to coast across the country.

Bhaktimarga Swami, which means “path of devotion,” has done walks before across seven other countries including four in his homeland of Canada.  He is making his first trip across the United States for a couple of reasons — to promote the walking culture and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hare Krishna movement.

“I think we lost touch with walking, and it’s important to get back to it,” Swami said.  “The one main gain is to get a balance for life.  It’s a good workout of course, but it’s a good ‘work in’ as, well, meaning you take a little time to yourself to look at the little things and the little demons inside of you that you want to address.”

He explains walking as an internal cleaning as it not only provides a physical workout, but improves the mental state as well.

“I really believe strongly in ‘more walking, less squawking,’” he said.  “I don’t like cars.  I don’t like what cars have done to the world and what they’ve done to us.  They made us kind of impersonal.  That’s the big thing about walking — you meet people.”

On some occasions, you meet animals, too.

During one of his walks across Canada, he came face-to-face with a grizzly bear.  A bear, he said, that was interested in him but was luckily scared away by a tractor traveling along the road.

So far, his first walk across America hasn’t had many close calls, but he has caught the eyes of few people.

A couple of occasions in Iowa City left him answering to police after locals dialed 911 after mistakenly identifying him —wearing his orange robes — as an escaped convict.

However, Swami said police have been nothing but nice to him, especially in Iowa which is a state he is visiting for the first time.

“People here are very pious and very kind,” Bhaktimarga Swami said.  “They really look after each other and I’d say there’s a wholesomeness here.  And I don’t see things falling in decline like some other states I have gone through.”

On Thursday, he began walking near Grinnell at 3:30 a.m. to avoid much of the day’s scorching heat.  With a few stops along the way, including Newton Public Library to rehydrate, Swami reached his average of 20 miles per day around 1 p.m. just west of Newton.  Due to an obligation elsewhere, he will put his walk on hold until Monday when he will return to his exact spot on Highway F48 and make his way west to Colfax.

Bhaktimarga Swami began the walk across America last fall making his way from New York to Pennsylvania before winter break.  He returned to Pennsylvania on Mother’s Day and has walked in a relatively straight line since then.  He plans to reach Grand Island, Neb. as a halfway point this year and complete the entire project next summer.

Contact Alex Olp at

May the Source be with you!

20 miles

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