In January 2013, two-time Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek, 50, will begin the assignment of a lifetime. Over the course of seven years, Salopek will retrace the path of human migration in a solo, 21,000-mile walk around the world.
It’s the same walk our ancestors began 60,000 years ago and Salopek will start from approximately the same location, as well: a remote pastoral camp in The Rift Valley in Ethiopia. The writer will then pass through the Middle East and Asia, cross the Bering Sea to North America and make his way down the West Coast of North and South America ending at Beagle Channel in Patagonia, Argentina.
The journey is a return to experiential storytelling and an experiment in “slow journalism” for Salopek, who worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Latin America. Over the course of his career, the writer has published work in notable publications including the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, Conservation Magazine and Foreign Policy. He has also won most of the national journalism awards in the United States, including two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Press Club Award. The Out of Eden Walk will allow Salopek to do what he calls his favorite type of journalism—long-form immersive reporting.
Salopek will use digital cartography, along with text, video, photography and audio stories to foster a deeper understanding of the stories, challenges and geographies every person shares.
On each leg of the journey, Salopek will walk with local people that will serve as guides, translators, companions and cultural interpreters. Although the writer speaks Spanish and English fluently, he plans to pick up a few more languages along the way.
The digital content will be supported by National Geographic and the S. and James L. Knight Foundation.