Barefoot Explorer Visits Northern Ontario Communities

Barefoot Explorer Visits Northern Communities

Barefoot Explorer Visits Northern CommunitiesSACHIGO LAKE – In April Florian Gomet flew to Canada from France to start his exploration of the great North, travelling only by bike and kayak. In his travels, he has stopped in several remote Aboriginal communities. “I know when people are remote they are more kind than in the big city,” Gomet said. “I am very curious to see how they live and discover their way of life.”

On June 11, 2015, Gomet arrived in Sachigo Lake First Nation after forty-five days of travelling. His first means of travel was by bike from Cape-Saint-Charles, Labrador to Pickle Lake, Ontario where he gave away his bike to a family in need. He then kayaked on Windigo Lake up to Muskrat Dam, where he had to walk the winter road and do a bit more kayaking to get to Sachigo Lake First Nation.

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Even though Gomet left Sachigo Lake over a month ago, the people of the community are still talking about his visit and are keeping up with his online travel diary.

“Gomet has inspired me to look back at how our people used to travel all the time and it is nice to see someone who is tackling it, and bringing awareness of how we used to travel without the means of motor vehicles,” said Councillor Claude McKay. “It is nice to see someone who is following his dream.”

Gomet decided to travel across Canada was because he wasn’t happy about his job and life in France, so he decided to fulfill one of his childhood dreams. “When I was a child I read a book about hunting in Canada, and never forgot that story,” Gomet said.

He wanted to change his way of life and become happy.

“I’m interested in finding a new way of life, to have good relations with man, with the environment, and to find a way of life to be more happy than now,” Gomet said.

One noticeable thing about Gomet is that he doesn’t wear shoes. “I don’t wear shoes but there is a good reason,” Gomet said. “You can’t feel the ground and you don’t take a good natural posture.”

Gomet explained that wearing shoes caused him back problems, and he decided to throw them away when he read that it might help him. It has taken him two years to get used to not wearing shoes, but he did admit that he has to wear them in certain conditions, such as walking on gravel.

Community members were surprised that Gomet doesn’t wear shoes.

“I thought it was pretty strange that someone who is walking across our rough terrain is going barefoot,” said Councillor McKay. “But it is nice that he took off his shoes to walk on our land.”

His daily source of nutrition while on the road consists mainly of a mixture of nuts and dried fruit during the day. In the evening he eats grains, such as rice, buckwheat and oats. When he first got to Canada he purchased a 6 month supply of food, which totalled 180 kilograms. He sent packages consisting of his food supplies to the post offices in the communities he will be travelling through.

Since departing Sachigo Lake, Gomet has passed through Manitoba and has made it as far as Wollaston, Saskatchewan. He will continue travelling west and hopes to end on the coast of Alaska in the Bering Strait.

“I was excited to meet him and I’m still excited to see him finish his journey,” said Councillor McKay. “What I learned from him is that you can do anything if you set your mind to it, and follow your dreams.”

Jerry Augustine & Tracey Mckay

To follow Gomet’s travels visit his website

This story produced with guidance from Stephanie Cram of Journalists for Human Rights of JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program.


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