|Published - Saturday, June 12,
Record-setting world walkers honored in their
CALEDONIA, Minn. — Not only were the Kunst brothers born
here, but so was the wanderlust that sparked them to walk around the
Friday, a sign and a plaque commemorating the brothers'
record-setting earth walk were unveiled at Caledonia North
On June 20, 1970, David, his brother, John, and a mule
named Willie Makeit set out from Waseca, Minn.
later and half a world away, John was killed and David was wounded
by Afghan bandits.
After recovering from his injuries, David
once again set out, this time with his other brother, Peter, from
the site John was killed.
A year later, Peter had to return
home and David completed the last leg of the journey alone, walking
into Waseca on Oct. 5, 1974.
"My mom had an adventurous
spirit, and she instilled that in me during my Caledonia years,"
said David Kunst, back in his hometown for the unveiling
The idea of walking around the world came from his
best friend, David Kunst said.
"We were trying to think of
things to do that hadn't been done, and it seemed every one that I
came up with, he told me it had been done already," David Kunst
Kunst, left, and David Kunst stand beside a sign
recognising their feat of walking around the world after
unveiling it Friday at North Park in Caledonia, Minn.
When his buddy suggested walking around the world,
Kunst said he just laughed.
"How could you do that without
getting your feet wet," he said he asked his friend, reminding him
of the world's oceans.
Turns out, his buddy had it all mapped
out, and that's when 30-year-old David Kunst decided to take up the
"My buddy, he was the ideas guy, I was the
adventurous one," David said, when asked why he ended up walking
with his brothers and not his buddy.
"Looking back, I'd have
to say that John and I were terribly naive," he said. "We were just
going to grab our backpacks and start walking."
asked how they were going to carry all the supplies they'd need for
the walk, like food and water.
Hence, the mules, of which
there were four over the duration of the walk.
David and John
traveled as ambassadors for UNICEF, but somehow, erroneous reports
got out that the brothers were collecting money for the
That could be the reason why they were attacked
by bandits in Afghanistan, David Kunst said.
tragic death and a four-month recovery from his wounds, David was
determined to complete what they had set out to do.
brother Peter resumed the walk.
Peter said one of his most
vivid memories of the walk was crossing the Khyber Pass on the
northern frontier of Pakistan.
"We traveled with a prince who
guaranteed our safety," Peter Kunst said. "We could watch the
tribesmen changing guard every mile or so on our
Peter had to leave David in Australia after traveling
with him for a year because the leave of absence he had taken from
his job was up.
"It was hard to leave him," Peter Kunst
David did just fine alone in Australia, though, meeting
the woman on his walk through that country that would eventually
become his wife.
When David Kunst walked into Waseca from the
west, he had taken more than 21 million steps, 14,450 miles and
crossed 13 countries, four continents and wore out 21 pairs of
David Kunst is the first person verified to have
circled the landmass of the earth, and that feat landed him in the
Guinness Book of Records and Ripley's Believe It or
"Never let someone tell you that you can't do something
you've set your mind to," David Kunst said of the culmination of his
"Everyone has something inside them that they want
to do, and it's different for different people," he added. "If you
have passion and determination, you can do anything."
asked what got them through the hard times on walk and if they ever
thought about giving it up, Peter said it was simply a matter of
"We're both stubborn cusses," he
For more information about the Kunst brothers walk,
check out the Website http://home.earthlink.net/~earthwalker1.
McAlpine can be reached at (608) 791-8220 or email@example.com.