With no sponsorships and limited funds for a coast-to-coast walk/run and drive, Errol Povah, 57, sleeps on an air mattress in his van wherever he can find parking.
He has slept in his van across Canada, from Vancouver to Montreal, and was continuing the journey this week through Warren and Saratoga counties on his way to New York City in an anti-tobacco awareness effort and fundraiser.
His quest is also an attempt to put the entire smoking industry out of business, he said.
His cross-continent effort has raised $5,700 so far, according to his website, www.tobaccofreeworld.ca, toward a goal of $47,000, which represents one dollar for every Canadian who dies each year from tobacco use, he said.
He said if two jumbo jets crashed every day, the equivalent of the number of Americans who die from tobacco, then the government would have to intervene.
Originally, he said, he wanted to raise $540,000 - a dime for each of the world's 5.4 million people who die from tobacco annually. But money has been tight.
"I literally can't afford to buy new shoes," he said, after finishing a 26.2-mile walk on Tuesday from Warrensburg to Glens Falls. "I'm flat broke at the moment. I have to get some money organized."
Since he reached Plattsburgh, he has traveled on Route 9.
Tuesday night, he slept in his van in the Aviation Mall parking lot in Queensbury.
You have free articles remaining.
On Wednesday, the day he usually rests, he spent time catching up on e-mails at Crandall Public Library and trying to contact the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for help staging a rally. In New York, he intends to visit the global headquarters of Philip Morris USA, the largest tobacco company in the country.
He began his journey in May and intends to finish later this month, traveling by himself. Money from family, friends and colleagues has helped support him, he said.
To complete the trip of about 4,000 miles, Povah has traveled the equivalent of two marathons each day on foot - mostly walking, he said, because of his age.
Because he has to bring his van along, and has no one helping him, he has to walk forward a certain distance, then go back for his van.
Because he has to bring his van along, and has no one helping him, he has to walk forward a certain distance, then go back for his van. At the end of the day, having advanced 26.2 miles in the span of a half marathon back and forth, he drives the van another 13.1 miles forward to account for the miles he had to walk in the wrong direction.
Earlier this month, he held a rally at Imperial Tobacco in Montreal. About 50 people came, he said.
The funds raised for the cross-country event, Journey for a Tobacco-Free World, will go to his volunteer citizens organization, Airspace Action on Smoking and Health in British Columbia, Canada, and to other charities.
Povah said donations, 70 percent of which go to Airspace, mainly will help fund trips for anti-tobacco awareness efforts, such as when he flew nearly 9,000 miles to Malaysia to protest at a tobacco conference.
He plans to continue toward New York at 7:45 a.m. Thursday.