Planetwalker John Francis

Planetwalker John Francis

Check out this interview in Grist with Dr. John Francis, the man who not only did not own a car, but opted to not ride in motorized vehicles at all for twenty-two years–and spent seventeen of those years in silence. He crossed America on foot, completed two college degrees in silence, and became an ambassador for the U.N.

You may have heard of him already–his story made the rounds years ago–but if you haven’t heard the details, haven’t heard him describe why he made the choices he did in his own words, you’re missing out. The man is wise, and he speaks from his heart.

Bonus: You can watch him talk at TED.

And find out what’s in his backpack.

And he’s got a book, Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.

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  1. That was a great talk, thanks for posting. I can’t imagine going a day without talking, let alone teaching a graduate level course, he’s an amazing person. I’ll have to check out his book as well.

  2. Yes! I saw his interview on Grist and watched his talk. I’m amazed he did his degrees in silence. When I feel like all I did in graduate school was talk, talk, talk!

    This guy is amazing. His experience is making have some long thoughts…


  3. I remember hearing him on Fresh Air years ago, and his decision to stop speaking really struck me. I too feel that people do not listen to each other. Or to their surroundings. I love posting on facebook about who I am hearing outside – leopard frogs in spring, cricket frogs, lots of toads after lots of rain, cicadas. Someone said to me – I live in town so I don’t hear anything. I thought to myself – after that rain and warm weather I could hear toads from the grocery store parking lot in our (small) town! How could you miss them?

    I wish I were as brave as John Francis and could take such dramatic steps on behalf of the environment. My most extreme measure currently involves delivering the garden produce I am selling in reusable shopping bags. Don’t you want the bag back? people ask? No , I say, please use it when you go shopping.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I just read the Grist interview. What an interesting person John Francis is. His decision to resume riding in cars (and his perception that not riding in cars was becoming a prison) was, to me, very compelling and thought-provoking.

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