A Walk about Walking with John Francis, PhD, National Geographic Fellow

Post-Walk with Dr. John Francis – View on Flickr.com

Walking is not just good for your muscles, your brain, and your heart – it connects you to exceptional people who are passionate about walking, too.

I am happy to say that my well-known love of the walk prompted John Francis, PhD‘s colleague Patti Brennan, PhD ( @pattifbrennan ) , to connect us when he was in Washington, DC last week, as part of a meeting of National Geographic Explorers Fellows Program.

Even though I read a little about his story before we met (walking, of course), I enjoyed him telling me about it himself, because it’s amazing. He spent 22 years of his life walking exclusively, and 17 years of not speaking, following the 1971 collision of two oil tankers in San Francisco Bay. He told me he realized that he wasn’t really listening to people – he was only formulating his next thoughts as he would argue about the choice to forgo motor vehicles. He’s written a book about his experience called Planetwalker, and you can read about that as well as listen to an interview of him on the National Geographic site as well as on Wikipedia. He’s been speaking since 1990.

He’s recently taken a group of students on a walk across Ohio and is planning an entire learning curriculum that’s based on walking and appreciating / observing everything in our environment. I felt a sense of camaraderie as I had a camera in my hand, which is often the case when I’m walking.

I’m posting information about John’s story here because I’m impressed by his work, I think you’ll be too, and impressed with the commitment he’s made to respecting people and the environment through listening, observing, and walking. Come join the walking revolution if you haven’t already.

Ted Eytan, MD