Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek are documenting the world on his global, multi-year Out of Eden Walk. Since January 2013, the 59-year-old American has been walking from Africa along the ancient path of human migration, which started between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.
The journalist’s more than 38,000km odyssey across 36 countries will extend from Ethiopia to Argentina, passing through west Asia, the Silk Road, India, China, Siberia and the west coast of North and South America before terminating at Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. So far, he has covered 12,000km and is currently stuck in Myanmar due to a pandemic-induced border clampdown.
A scientist by training, Salopek says his project is about storytelling, an experiment in slow and immersive journalism. Through the Out of Eden Walk, he aims to gather knowledge more slowly, at a more human pace, infusing his work with more prosperous, more profound insights into the landscapes and lives of the people he encounters.
We recently caught up with Salopek to ask him how Covid has affected his travels, what inspires him to keep walking and what he wants the legacy of his voyage to be.
Like almost everyone, I’ve been affected by the pandemic. Borders are closed. Movement is restricted. I’ve paused walk-in northern Myanmar, waiting for things to open back up. Fortunately, among the things that walking teaches is patience.