Saturday, December 28, 2013

Another great link: Walking Humanity's footsteps.

     One man, one journey, 7 years, 21,000 miles.

     We have traveled a lot as you can tell from my blogs. But there are certain places that we will not go for several reasons. One is that we are getting older and we need some medical providers nearby on our trips so we have to stay in fairly civilized regions. Secondly, my husband is a sabra, a born Israeli and therefore there are some countries that we will not be able to travel to due to basic danger to us. So there will be many parts of this earth we will not be able to reach, and many stories about meeting people that we will not be able to tell.

     Now I have found a replacement for these places which we will not be able to visit. The National Geographic Magazine of December this year begins the story of Paul Salopeck, a journalist who plans to walk the 21,000 miles from the birthplace of humanity in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, over a seven year time period, following the footsteps of 60,000 years of human beings' diaspora. The first article to me was mesmerizing, his walking with a guide, two camels and their "mahouts" (a Southeast Asian word for elephant handlers)  out into the Afar dessert from Herto Bouri, Ethiopia. This location is the site of the Middle Awash Project, an archaeological dig, really a human boneyard, where some of the oldest human bones have been found. Paul and his camel handlers and another local who was his logistician then crossed the Afar desert and reached the Gulf of Aden. There is a map in the National Geographic which shows Paul's planned route, all the way around the world to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America. The fascinating thing is that there is a website called in which you can follow Paul's walk over the next 7 years. You can follow his dispatches on Twitter:@outofedenwalk. I am excited. These links will allow this peripatetic author to travel to parts of the world even I could never go to and also to view parts of the world where we have been through this journalist's eyes. And I can do this from my lounge chair. Wonderful!

     Paul is making dispatches every 3 to 4 days with photos, often with videos. The URL for the first of these National Geographic dispatches is:
Paul Slopeck has already been walking since January 10 (my birthday) 2013. He has just now in December, 2013 walked into Jordan from Saudi Arabia. There are two sites where you can follow him online:
The National Geographic site above:

The second site includes a small video at various milestones, an interview with the closest human being at that milestone. The walk has now reached 16 milestones. This site has more structure designed for teachers and small children. This website is:

There are also various offshoots and articles written about these places through which Paul is walking. This undertaking of walking 21,000 miles in 7 years is funded by National Geographic Magazine. There have already been some TV stories about it and stories written in various local newspaper publications. There will no doubt be much more as time goes on.

I recommend visiting the two websites most recently listed above. And if you want to start from the very beginning, (A Very Good Place to Start), I suggest using the first URL above which describes the Middle Awash Project, an archaeological dig which has discovered the oldest hominid skeletons so far found in the world, dating back 4.4 million years. As I indicated above, Paul Salopeck chose this site to begin his mind bending long trek because it was as close as our knowledge of early human history can put us to the "Garden of Eden."

It will take a while for you to just catch up to where Paul is now in Jordan, but it is worth reading all the comments that people have left. Some are inane and can be skipped but often Paul actually answers a comment from wherever he is that has cell phone connections and he often adds wonderful little tidbits to his more formal dispatch. I can identify with him trying to find a cell phone connection in the wilds of Ethiopia and the Saudi dessert. During our trip to Kenya and Tanzania, we often stuck our phone into the air to try to get a few bars of signal. And even in the middle of the Serengeti National Park, the guides knew where to stop for a possible connection. They had phone calls to make and we occasionally used the opportunity to post a text on our travel journal.

I am planning on following Paul on his long journey for the next 6 years. If you haven't picked up the December issue of National Geographic, I suggest you do so and read the opening article about his trek and view the magnificent photos.

In the spirit of the Holiday Season, here's hoping that our journey "Out of Eden" will lead us toward world peace and understanding between all the great religious traditions.

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