If you are reading this, chances are you have traveled yourself, and as each trip of yours came to a close you may have wished for your trip to go longer, just a few more days before you head back to work. Today’s story is about a man, who has been travelling around the world for the last 5 years and is planning to travel for even longer! But his story is not meant to give you pangs of jealousy and bouts of ‘so lucky, I wish I could do that’, it’s meant for something else altogether, something very special and deeply meaningful.
Paul Salopek – a two-time Pulitzer award-winning journalist (Pulitzer is like the Noble prize in Journalism) wants to broadcast the perspective of local people (villagers, traders, farmers, and more) he encounters on his walk across the world. Traditionally, these voices have been massively under-represented by global media and he wants to change that, by covering the biggest topics of our times like climate change, mass migration and more through their eyes. In this truly remarkable pursuit and journey, Paul is retracing the global migration journey undertaken by our ancient elders, starting from Ethiopia (present day Eden) and ending at South America. Safe to say that a journey like this, that stretches across 21,000 miles across the entire world, has never been undertaken before.
Paul who started his journey in Herto Bouri, Ethopia has walked across Kazakhstan with a donkey, taken refuge in a cargo ship to escape civil war, met Bedouin nomads of Saudi Arabia, and hiked across the oldest farmed landscapes in the world in Turkey. He has already covered 16 countries and is currently walking across India.
Paul really wants to stress on the importance of slowness of his walking journey. ‘By slowing down to walking speed, I hope to rediscover the physical world as the first wandering humans had, one step at a time, exploring it through their skins. The walk’s journalism is a hybrid. It embraces the latest technology (the laptop, the GPS, the satellite phone.) But its frame of reference hasn’t changed since the days of the wandering bard. This project intends to render current events as a form of pilgrimage, as the story of a quest, perhaps the oldest genre in history. The trail demands patience’ says Paul.
A surprising outcome of the walk, is its use as an educational tool in classrooms and newsrooms across the world, where the value of slow journalism is being taught.