Around The World In 7 Years

ps2-1379103247-29Paul Salopek is walking around the world.

He started, in 2013, in central Africa where scientists believe they have found the earliest evidence of humans (people) on Earth. He will finish, most likely (probably) sometime after 2020, at the tip (end) of Chile in South America.

Salopek’s journey will follow the path scientists believe that humankind (human beings as a group) followed as they migrated (went somewhere else to live) from Africa and spread around the world. From Africa his trip will take him north through the Middle East; across central Asia, India, and China; across the Bering Strait to Alaska; and then down across North and South America to Tierra del Fuego, Chile. A few weeks ago he was in Azerbaijan, more than a year later than he had planned.

Paul Salopek is an American journalist (reporter). His project is called the Out of Eden Walk. Eden is the name of the place in the Bible where humankind first lived; it is sometimes used in a general way as “where humankind began.” Why is he doing this?

It’s about “storytelling,” Salopek says. “It’s about communicating in the 21st century, slowing people down.” He says that he’s interested in finding time in today’s world to tell stories, “stories with beginnings, middles, and ends. So if I slow down stories to three miles [5 km] per hour [walking speed], let’s see if people follow along.”

He believes it’s important to slow down so we can absorb (take in) more of what is happening around us. “I don’t think we need more information,” he says. “I think we need more meaning (understanding of what’s important).”

As he walks, Salopek meets people who live along his path. Some walk with him. Some give him lunch or dinner, and others invite him to spend the night. He rarely knows, as he begins each morning, what will happen before his day ends.

He tells the story of staying with 72-year-old Ziaudoin and his wife in Azerbaijan. They had married as teenagers and lived a “tough (difficult) farm life, on the edge, really, of civilization.” They were curious when they first met Salopek, then surprised when he told them that he had hiked (walked along a path) from Africa. They laughed and and told him, “You have got to be crazy.”

Ziaudoin explained through an interpreter (someone who changes words into a different language), “I don’t think he is crazy. I actually thought he was quite enlightened (shows good understanding), because they actually want to walk across the world to see what’s out there. You might not notice a place, but when you walk by on foot, you see it, and appreciate it for what it actually is.”

Salopek says that his “reporting method is observational, quietly watching [and listening to] the world unfold (develop, happen) around me, getting into people’s lives. And for them to admit me in their lives, I have to be quiet. I have to listen. If this becomes too much of a spectacle (big show), I can’t work.”

If you want to follow Salopek’s journey, you can do so on the National Geographic and PBS Newshour websites. Some information in this post came from PBS Newshour interviews with Salopek.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor/coach and creator of the Successful English website.

Photo courtesy of


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14 Responses to Around The World In 7 Years

  1. Dan says:

    Hello everyone

    I was thinking that unless something bad happens to this journalist, no one will know about his mission/journey.
    By that I am saying this is not on mainstream medias. In fact I didn’t know about it. Luckily we have Warren that, aside from teaching us, keep us informed with this interesting adventures.

    By the way, since he is a journalist, and just this morning I was reading an
    article on VOA about the decline in global press freedom according to a report by Freedom House.
    According to the report, “only 13% of global population enjoys freedom of the press”
    And what a coincidence, this year’s price goes to a woman journalist from Azerbaijan currently in prison for writing about corruption in the local government.

    I am writing about that just to say that I feel lucky to live in that 13% part of the World and to thanks and remember journalists and bloggers that gets killed around the world almost daily. Sadly.

    I would also add that our journey from that spot in Africa does not end in south America.
    That is only the first steps of a baby. I am super convinced that we ate going
    out there and colonize other planets and beyond.
    That one of our first characteristics, we want to know and are beasts difficult to satisfy. That’s the driving force that will push us out there.

    Anyways, just thoughts.


  2. Peter says:

    First thing come to mind is who is financing him.
    I mean it gonna cost him an arm and leg roaming around the world.
    U know , lodgings , accommodations and food don’t come cheap thses days.
    Besides , when and where he cooks. Are u saying that he eats out like everyday three times a day.
    U know walking sure works up my appetite. How about yours ?
    Walking through over 10 milion kilimoters of land and ice in Canda he will be for sure a human Popsicle before he reaches Alaska 🙂

    Warren please let me know before he reaches Canada. I wanna Recomend him to rollerblade across Canada or at nights ,he will get stuck in the middle of intercity
    roads. U know ,it takes days to walk between cities in Canada and u don’t want to sleep by the road. U know raccoons are not very friendly in this part of the world.

    A learning guide member


  3. Dan says:

    Hi Dan here.

    Salopek is right about slowing down. Not always though, sometimes we need the opposite as well.
    In between two poles, I usually find myself in the middle with every aspect of my life.

    Right now I am beyond slowing down, I am in a stationary state.

    The fact that when we walk we notice new things is true too.
    I have experienced that few times walking places where I usually drive bye
    I was more than once surprised to see certain things that were unnoticeable
    while driving.

    Anyway, since we, or at least I am subjected to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, more JWs though, LDS are found more in cities, and since these two “religious” organizations originated in the US, I am learning about this
    historic period called ” the second great awakening” that took place in the northeast of the country during the 19th century.
    I want to understand more about these groups and their history.


  4. Peter says:

    I wanna fess up sth.
    I m a very difficult person.
    U know back in college I have to retake three major courses simply because my professor kicked me out of their classes. So I had to withdrew the course and rethink it not the next semester but the following. The reading was not all the courses offere every semester in particularly selective courses.
    And most of selective courses u take in freshmen and sophomore years are prerequisite courses for related courses in junior and senior years.
    I vividly remember it happened once when I was a freshmen and two times when I was a sophomore. Long story short , I did my major in 5 years and half instead of 4 years. There is sth else u should know about college majors here is that by colleg laws ,you have a certain limited time whitin which u are asked to complete the course requirement in order to be granted your batchlor degree or post graduate degree.
    For an undergraduate major it is typically 6 years. As u see I cut it prey much close. U know all because I could not keep my mouth shot !!
    Looking back , it was my fault.
    I said sth out of turn and they gave me the boot!!!
    The point I m trying to make here is I m really thankful and greatful that Jeff , Lucy , and Warren put up with me
    I know , sometime I m very difficult

    The moral of the story is :
    Never try to be a wise a.s with a colleg proff. They will call u on that.

    6 years ago today I graduated
    College days were hell of a time

    A learning guid member


  5. Tania says:

    Dear Lucy,
    Happy birthday to you! Much, much health and happiness!

    Best wishes,


  6. Tania says:

    Dear Lili, glad to see you again among us. Did you forget us?
    We are waiting for news from you. Without you and Emiliano our blog is poorer.

    Believe us! We are missing you.


  7. Tania says:

    I can say the same words to Emiliano.
    Dear Emiliano, believe us, we are missing you!
    As long as you are writing poems, novels… it’s wonderful. The activity keep us fresh.
    I want to thank you for the poem shared with us with all your untold thoughts.

    Even the title, Humor Every Day, is a life lesson.
    With humor we can pass the troubles. The people that know to use the humor sense live longer.
    Singular lives… yes, we all have a singular, unique life that we have to know to appreciate it.

  8. Tania says:

    Fascinated phrase,
    “two singular lives
    Yours and mine joined by “I do”
    United for ever…”

    We know nothing one about other in an “absolute ignorance”, but we want to be together in a”quiet love”,
    “faceing with an unknown and uncertain future”.
    The precious, quiet love, free from disturbance…a gift for everyone.

  9. Tania says:

    And if after many years we can repeat “I do” on a day like today…with no regret…
    we can still say that yes, love exists among us.

    A gift for every woman,
    “Once again we say ‘Yes I do’ for ever and ever
    my dear love”.

    Touching feeling reading that this poem is “for Cuca”.
    She deserves it. She is our silent blog friend.

    Thank you, dear Emiliano.

    Best wishes,


  10. Tania says:

    Reading the title “Around the World in 7 Years”… I thought that it was about Jules Verne.
    I read his novels when I was a child , so I can’t remember very well.
    Around the World in Eight Days, Five Weeks in a Balloon, or Two Years’ Vacation?
    Anyway, I’d like to follow Salopek’s journey.

    Thank you.

  11. emiliano says:

    Belive me dear friend, I was looking forward receiving your commets that for me are always very appreciate.
    As usual you are really very kind Tania and those comments have been a good gift for emiliano.
    He writes them in English thinking first in you, just because I know you like poems and for me it is very important
    trying to translate my feelings from Spanish to English waiting your wise opinion.

    As you may guess I wrote that phrases in Spanish first, they were like a gift for my dear Cuca that is ever my
    love one, she is always in my mind.
    Soon on 30th of April morning I wrote all the words in first intent without thinking about what I was writing
    to her. Afterward I sent them to her mail because once she is up from bed on her wheelchair and have her
    breakfast she is looking every day for her mail from our daughter Eva.
    That day she found a mail from emiliano and was touched directly on her heart. Yes it was very pleasant and emotive
    for her but for me either.

    Second task thinking on Tania, sorry friends but it was so, I try to translate it to English and now I have read your
    coment with great pleasure too.
    Thank you so much dear friend for me it is an honor to read your note and be sure that I would try to write more once
    my heart stop bleeding of seeing Cuca so painful in bed.
    Some time Cuca suffers trigeminal neuralgia and I cant think clearly in doing other thing that looking for stop it, my
    mind is empty and it cost me a great effort to think in English as to write something coherent.

    Again, thank you so much Tania and be sure that I would try to recover the good custom of writing here some day.


  12. emiliano says:

    Tania, wise words are yours, they have the virtue of touching my heart and mind
    reading them once and again.
    Without humor life could be very difficult.


  13. emiliano says:

    Warren, a Spanish person Ignacio Dean, a malagueño of 35 years old has done
    it before.
    He left Madrid on March 20, 2013 and there will return the next day 20th of may , when again set foot on
    the Kilometer 0 of the Puerta del Sol.
    After 33,000 kilometers , 31 countries , four continents , three years of adventure and 11 pairs of shoes.
    This young man has managed to fulfill the dream of his life.
    Of course to do this it is necessary to have good health and a strong character beside some other peculiar
    characteristics like empathy, lack of fear, and good posibilities of establish comunication with all kind of
    Now that I am doing some trips, being alone along full days like I have done lately, it is a nice good
    Time doesn´t count, you may watch every little detail and carrying a camera you could take the
    incredible nice pictures you like to take.
    Last 2nd of May I have been walking through Madrid´s streets for more than seven hours and it is
    a real experience that being alone you are in the best disposition to fix your eyes in places you have
    never seen before.
    I have been those streets but always I was walking fast having in mind other things or I have to
    do or a place I have to reach as soon as possible.
    Not looking up to the sky, or to the top of the buildings that here are so differents one from the
    Time to walk doing which ever thing you like to do, stoping which ever place you want to relax
    and talking with ever person you like to talk.
    Along the last six months I have done just this, from time to time I have to go out home taking
    a rest of looking after my wife and feel myself free for three, four, or more hours.
    When I put my foot on the street floor I don´t know where I am going, it is the azar what conducts my
    steps, taking the firts bus that comes and just knowing nothing about the next hours.
    Is not going round the world but somehow it is a similar actitude, no previous plans or not knowing
    where my steps will lead me or who will chat.

    What these two young men are going to do it is something very comprehensible for a free mind
    once obligations are out of the way.

    My best Warren and thanks. emiliano

  14. emiliano says:

    Telling you abount my walk of past 2nd of may I could add that on my walk I had a very interesting and
    positive encounter with this Benedictine monk who no longer was monk.
    It is therefore now a simple priest in the Church of San Anton in Fuencarral street.

    As I said before I went for a walk, I spent several hours walking without knowing previously what was my path
    then my steps led me to Fuencarral street at midafternoon, watching every thing I could observe I
    see a church open and I went into it, just at the door I observe a priest with white habit, imagine he was a
    priest, and asked if it was possible to confess.
    He said yes, that it could, and to my surprise he indicated a pew and said to me wait there please.
    He sat next to me and started talking, first it was my turn as I want to confess and after a while as
    if we were two friends we were chatting inside a church siting in one of the long sits of the church.

    Hour and a half almost lasted our talk, as we both were talking about our own lives, concerns,
    spiritual, and even family problems.
    So I knew that he had been a monk of Santo Domingo de Silos, prior, his consciousness and psychic stability
    led him to resign, he get it afte two years of nearly fighting and finally felt happy and free as part of the
    Messengers of Peace Association, Principe de Asturias prize indeed for solidarity and collaboration.

    Finally joined, standing he up gave me absolution alound in Latin and there were people around us that I guess it would
    very puzzled.
    It was a very pleasant experience plus a very interesting conversation.

    Anyway, the evening was plagued by small great moments and I think on a personal level I was very
    good to get out, walk around, chat with several people (among many other girls some originating from Miami)
    Spanish students and I behaved like a tourist through the city and take pictures of amazin things I didn´t see
    Getting out and walking in other cities give much confidence to walk in my own and chat when you feel like
    or remain in silent meditation while watching what happens around me.
    No need of company at all, so going out it is like a little aventure in this big city that is Madrid.

    The talk with the monk was really great, being in mind he has been the prior of one of the most famous
    Monasteries of Spain. Santo Domingo de Silos, where Gregorian Chants are sing for the monks of the Abey.

    I confess with him but he confess with me also and I thin it was good for both of us.

    After I have discover he is an erudit who has written several books.

    Well that is a part of my little aventure round the streets of this city. emiliano

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