Guwahati: Meet Jacob Kuno, the 68-year-old German national who is travelling around the world on foot. Starting his epic journey from Berlin in his home country in mid-2017, Kuno reached Assam on December 20 after covering a distance of over 14,000 km, spread across 15 countries and 13 Indian states.
When EastMojo caught up with Kuno on Tuesday afternoon, he was having a cup of tea at a roadside tea stall near Narengi in Guwahati. When the shop-owner discovered that she was serving tea to a man who has walked 14,000 km to reach that spot, she was flabbergasted. For Kuno, however, such reactions are not something new. “I would have reacted the same way,” he said, with a smile on his face.
Kuno’s journey was inspired by his wish to see the world. “I wanted to do this before I die,” said the retired carpenter who, at the time of this story being filed, was passing through Jagiroad in Morigaon district of Assam.
After travelling through Eastern Europe and some countries in Asia, he entered India through Gujarat before walking through 12 other states in the country to set foot in Assam. “From here, I will go to Nagaland and Manipur, before travelling through Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, the US and then back to my home country,” Kuno added.
Talking about his experiences during the journey, Kuno said: “The difference between countries is small, but when you move from one country to another, these small differences add up and then the differences become wider. Practices, culture and mentality vary from region to region. So, we can learn from each other and respect each other.”
“There are several rules in the world but we cannot follow them blindly. We need to be rational. When I was walking in India along the right side, the police told me that I was wrong. But I told him that as the vehicles here ply on the left and if I walk along the same side, I won’t be able to see if a vehicle crushes me. So, I chose to walk on the right as I used to do in Germany,” he added.
During his journey through India, what struck him the most was that the people here were less responsible to “themselves and to nature”. “People here do not take care of themselves. They should be health conscious. That is a basic difference between Germany, where the average lifespan is around 80 years, and India where it is about 68 years. They also should be more responsible to nature and conserve the beauty of world,” he added.
Kuno was thankful to the German government for the retirement pension which helped him to undertake the epic journey.