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Paul Salopek’s Out Of Eden Walk



30 million footsteps. 21,000 miles.

Our ancestors made the journey – from Africa through Asia, over the Bering Strait and south, to the tip of the Americas. Now, so will Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Paul Salopek. It will take him seven years. The expedition, titled “Out of Eden,” recreates a migration undertaken 60,000 years ago by prehistoric humans following their instincts into the unknown. Salopek has a better idea what he’ll encounter on his trek, but just barely.

“Anything can happen between now and next year, let alone two years from now,” he tells Nieman Journalism Lab.

Salopek, who won Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting on the human genome project and extensive work covering Africa, will bring with him just a computer, satellite phone, video cameras, an audio recorder and a GPS. Every 100 miles he will “take samples” of the surroundings at his current location. The photos, video, audio and written words that result will demonstrate to those who come after us what the earth is like today.

Salopek will depart from the Great Rift Valley in Ethiopia this month. One year later, he expects to have made it to Israel or Oman, where he will chart a path through the volatile Middle East (crossing through Iran will make his journey considerably more direct) and across the southern foothills of the Himalayas. Salopek estimates just walking across China will take 14 months. From there it is up into Siberia, then across the Bering Strait by boat and into Alaska. At that point, the journey will be barely halfway done. Salopek expects to make it to Tierra del Fuego before 2020. You can track Salopek’s journey at his website,

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