St. Stephen – On the morning of Aug. 6 at 7 a.m., the sun was making its way past the tree line as three walkers were greeted on the Ferry Point Bridge in St. Stephen by Mayor Allen MacEachern, New Brunswick Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames, and The Great Chocolate Mousse. The walkers were Ken Kurland, Loredana Delucchi, and Nancy Jonap, and crossing the border had a very significant meaning to all of them.
The three are part of Freewalkers, a non-profit organization that offers events, information, networking, and education on the benefits of walking, and their entrance into Canada marked the end of a nearly 900 kilometre trek from New York, N.Y. to Canada.
“To do something like this you have to be really,
really dedicated to every aspect of the journey.”
– Ken Kurland
“I had lost my husband a few years ago, and was not very good,” said Delucchi. “So I decided to start walking and one day on a walk I was on a (cross-state) trail that I knew ended in Canada and imagined what it would be like to explore it all the way.”
Delucchi said at that moment a friend picked something up off of the trail and handed it to her. It was a Canadian penny.
“At that moment I knew I had to do the walk to return the penny, it was a sign.”
Through Freewalkers, Jonap and Kurland began walking together and before long Delucchi reached out to Kurland after hearing the two were walking the Greenway.
“I didn’t think I would go past Boston,” said Jonap. “That was something Loredana reminded me of when we crossed the bridge. Honestly it was our connection and comraderie that kept me going all the way to Canada.”
The walk itself spanned over multiple years when the three were able to take time off from their work and their lives in New York. The final stretch of their journey was a 196 kilometre walk from Belfast, Maine to St. Stephen.
Now that they’re finished their journey to Canada the three say they are going to take some time to reflect on the walk and relish in the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing such a massive expedition.
“To do something like this you have to be really, really dedicated to every aspect of the journey,” said Kurland. “It’s hard not to say let’s just get a cab,” he said with a smile.
The three’s passion for walking is something that brought them together and they hope that it will do the same for people all over the world.
“You get to get from one place to another exclusively on your own power, there’s something special about that,” said Kurland.
Jonap echoed the statement saying that for her the mental aspect of walking is what she finds most enjoyable.
“The most significant thing for me is it’s a very mindful experience. If you can be out in nature and wilderness; it’s a very spiritual and personal experience.”
Mayor Allan MacEachern presented each walker a Canadian penny in return for the one that Delucchi gave him when the three first crossed into St. Stephen.
“It all started with a penny, and now it can finish with one as well,” said MacEachern.
“We’ve had such an incredible reception to Canada and we want to thank everyone for welcoming us with open arms,” said Delucchi. “This was the perfect way to end our journey.”