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A Lifetime of Adventure

In recent conversations with their colleagues Ailsa and Doug have discovered that there is just one degree of separation between them and Elon Musk. The connection comes from their colleague Scott Haldeman, he is the Chairman of the Research Council for the World Federation of Chiropractic and is currently a professor at the University of California – both Ailsa and Doug attend conferences where he speaks. The article below  explains the interesting connection.

It was 1989 when Mark Teulon first met his 17-year-old cousin.

The boy came all the way from South Africa to stay at Teulon’s farm near Waldeck, a village east of Swift Current. He spent a mere six weeks on the farm, but it was enough to give Teulon the impression that he was a little sharper than your average teenager.

“He was a pretty smart guy,” says Teulon. “We had that figured out pretty quick.”

His cousin, who celebrated his 18th birthday on the farm, was Elon Musk.

Yes, that Elon Musk.

Musk is now an inventor, engineer and entrepreneur who has revolutionized several high-tech industries. He is the CEO and product architect of electric car manufacturer Tesla, as well as the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, one of the leading private aerospace companies. His most recent business venture, Neuralink, intends to create devices that can be implanted in the brain, allowing humans to interface directly with computer software.

Musk’s face and name have become inseparable from discussions on the future of technology. He’s seen as an authority on subjects that once resided in the realm of science fiction, such as artificial intelligence or colonizing other planets.

But before Musk was thinking of how to send people to Mars or plug our brains into computers, he was doing chores at Teulon’s grain farm while waiting for his mother Maye to arrive in Canada.

Musk’s time in Saskatchewan was brief, but his family’s roots in the province go much deeper. Looking at his grandfather’s story of political intrigue and international adventure, it’s enough to make one wonder if the family has a genetic predisposition for ambition.

Musk’s grandfather, Joshua N. Haldeman, moved with his family to Herbert in southwest Saskatchewan from Pequot, Minn., in 1906 when he was four years old.

Haldeman’s time in Saskatchewan was far from boring. He joined forces with a new political movement called Technocracy, which was temporarily outlawed. He worked to establish the country’s first chiropractic association and school, and waged a public health campaign against Coca-Cola.

Haldeman was born on Nov. 25, 1902 to John Elon Haldeman and his wife Almeda Jane at a log cabin in Pequot. Almeda studied chiropractic care in Minneapolis, and after the family moved to Saskatchewan, she became Canada’s first known chiropractor. Her son would eventually follow in her footsteps.

In fact, more than just choosing the career path of a chiropractor, Joshua Haldeman was pivotal in building organizations and legislation to cement the profession in Canada.

As Scott described it, his father built up the profession “from zero.” Haldeman is credited with drafting a chiropractic law to provide legal protection, which was approved by the Saskatchewan government in 1943.

Haldeman also participated in the creation of the Dominion of Canadian Chiropractors (DCCC), the precursor of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. While with the organization, he was involved with planning the creation of the country’s first chiropractic college, which opened in Toronto in 1945.

In fitting with his independent spirit, Haldeman didn’t align himself with a mainstream Canadian party. Between 1936 and 1941, he became involved in Technocracy, and eventually became the leader of the Canadian branch of the party.

Technocracy is a political philosophy that advocates government by skill, rather than by opinion. The government is designed to use science and technology to distribute services to citizens, instead of relying on human opinions or traditions. The movement was temporarily banned by the Canadian government out of fear that its members planned to overthrow the government by force.

Haldeman defied the ban by placing an ad in the Leader-Post that featured a statement by the Technocratic party’s Canadian branch. An essay Scott wrote on his father years later says he faced three charges as a result of the ad.

After the Second World War, Haldeman became dissatisfied with Canadian politics, believing the country was becoming too socialist. However, Scott thinks the main reason his father decided to move the family to South Africa was his thirst for adventure.

Haldeman packed up his family, a single engine airplane and his Cadillac, and boarded a freighter for a 30-day journey to Cape Town.

The Haldeman’s adventures in South Africa sound like something from an Indiana Jones film. The family made an annual trek into the uncharted wilderness in search of the Lost City of the Kalahari desert. The legend involves a theory that the ruins of a long-forgotten city exist somewhere in the desert.

“I can remember being on top of the truck and a rifle across my legs, and when a deer came up I would have to hit it, or we ate sardines that night,” recalls Scott.

The family made a total of 16 expeditions into what is now modern-day Botswana.

“In those days there was nothing there,” says Scott. “We’d go into the bush for a month and just camp. There’d be nobody. I mean, we’d just bush bash for a month.”

Haldeman’s other adventures in South Africa included becoming, at one point, the country’s pistol shooting champion, with Winnifred winning the women’s pistol championship. The couple competed in The Cape to Algiers motor rally, which spanned more than 12,000 miles, and tied for first place.

Scott says the race was then considered “the most strenuous motor rally the world.”

In 1954, the couple embarked on a 30,000-mile, round-trip flight in Haldeman’s single-engine aircraft up the coast over Africa, over parts of Asia, and across the sea to Australia.

A sense of adventure and dreaming big appears to run in the family. Nowhere is that currently more evident than in the latest generation with Elon Musk, who has set bold goals for the future of space travel and Mars colonization.

An adventurer, a world-renowned doctor and a titan of technology. There could be something in the family’s genes that breeds this success, or maybe it goes back to the way Haldeman brought up his children.

“Dad always said there’s nothing a Haldeman can’t do,” says Scott. “Give them tremendous freedom to do whatever they want.”

Adapted from

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