Who are we?
At the dawn of a new millennium, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is retracing the footsteps of the first humans out of Africa and across the globe, telling stories all along the way.
His 21,000-mile odyssey, the Out of Eden Walk, is a nonstop, decade-long storytelling experiment in “slow journalism.” As Paul walks, he engages with the major stories of our time, from climate change and technological innovation to mass migration and cultural survival, by giving voice to the people who inhabit those stories every day.
Out of Eden Walk stories paint uniquely intimate pictures of the lives of ordinary people around the globe, from pastoralists in the Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan who use biblical-era farming methods to international conservationists in Tajikistan using the latest technology to track snow leopards. Our journalism promotes understanding, empathy, and dialogue across cultures. It serves as an antidote to the troubling narratives of nationalism, xenophobia, and intolerance now on the rise around the globe.
Since Paul began walking in 2013, he has produced some 250,000 words in regularly-published online "dispatches," hours of lyric videos, thousands of photographs, seven major stories for National Geographic magazine, and dozens of articles for other media outlets, including the New York Times, the BBC, and Politico. He walked through the outspilling of refugees from Syria to Turkey, investigated cultural forgetting in Saudi Arabia, and had his pants freeze solid on a mountain pass in Afghanistan’s remotest border crossing to Pakistan. Most recently, he wrote about spotting three of some 11 critically endangered Indus River dolphins left in India, where we find him now.
By the time Paul takes the last step of the journey, in 2023, he will have documented a multimedia portrait of humanity in the early 21st century that, with your help, will continue to be collected in 2018, and ultimately be preserved for generations to come.
“Your trek and story are the most important things I can think of to contribute to humanity's healthy future, if one is still possible. ” - Heath Quinn, commenting on “Walking With Animals”
In early 2018, Paul crossed the Pakistan-India border, leaving the old trails of the Silk Road behind for new horizons in South Asia. This change is reflected on Out of Eden Walk’s storytelling laboratory, www.outofedenwalk.org, in a new chapter titled “Riverlands.”
So far, Paul has covered 700 of 1,800 miles across India. Along this stretch of the trail, Paul and his local guides are exploring the mounting effects of dramatic environmental change, including climate woes, rapid urbanization, growing communal tensions in the world’s largest democracy, and the endurance of South Asia’s many varied cultures.
From northern India, the journey this year continues on toward Myanmar and the vastness of China. After crossing the Middle Kingdom, the plan is to continue north through Russian Siberia, cross the Bering Strait by ship, and, eventually, walk down the coastline of the Americas to Tierra del Fuego, where our Stone Age ancestors migrating out of Africa ran out of continental land masses to explore.
You can take this journey with Paul, getting to know the people, places, traditions, and cultures he meets through his storytelling, because such colossal distances aren’t covered alone.
Basic supplies and services, such as food and water, pack animals, and guiding fees, can be costly, as are higher-tech requirements associated with communications, electronic equipment, and security. Moreover, the Out of Eden Walk doesn’t begin and end “in the field.” Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization creates and supports programming in the realms of education, digital storytelling innovation, mapping, translation, and civic engagement. Public support makes all these efforts possible.
With your help, the Out of Eden Walk will continue to tell stories that belong to all of us—tales that illuminate, surprise, educate, and move readers to action, bringing them together on this shared journey in the footsteps of the first human beings who discovered our world.
Read on to learn a bit more about what’s next, our achievements from the past year, our horizon goals, and the impact of your support. We will also be sharing related information via updates throughout the campaign, and will link to the updates on this page accordingly.