Source: National Geographic: Out of Eden Walk

     In 2013 a reporter set out to retrace our ancestors’ global migration on foot to slow down and observe carefully, find humanity and to rediscover our world. Through an interactive journal, Paul Salopek’s set out on this 21,000-mile odyssey moving to the beat of his own footsteps in the pathways of the first humans’ migration journey out of Africa. Through his epic journey, he has covered climate change, technical innovations, mass migrations, cultural survival and beyond through his photographs, videos, and audio recordings. While on this lustrous journey, Salopek’s is mingling with the natives, villagers, farmers, traders, soldiers, kids, artists and nomad to facilitate his record of human life at the start of the new millennium. Salopek’s journey is expected to last until 2020, where he will finish his journey at the tip of South America.  

“Every hundred miles Paul Salopek pauses to record the landscape and a person he meets, assembling a global snapshot of humankind.”                                                                                                             – National Geographic: Out of Eden Walk

Sample entries of some of the walks I explored and took particular note upon.

Milestone 12: The Hejaz (Chapter 2: Holy Lands)

Published June 15, 2013 / Near Rabigh, Saudi Arabia

Day 157         Mile 1100        Elevation 2ft

“Somehow we had missed this 100-mile mark — had walked right past it. We had other things on our minds. Banounah was in pain. We were walking him to the hospital in Yanbu. Then we backtracked by car and it seemed an alien world. Not the walked one. The land was out of context. Lonelier. More salt sun overhead. It was like a word you could almost, but not quite, remember.” Salopek, Milestone 12: The Hejaz.

It seemed an alien world,” this statement just struck me. I believe for the first time, documented, Paul was fully engulfed into the journey; slowed down and observed carefully, that he seemingly seemed distance from the modern world. Is this to happen when we slow down and observe carefully? That the seemingly modern world, the hurry up and go lifestyle in which we all have become accustomed too will seem like an alien world? To go even further, if we, as educators, can afford this opportunity, to slow down and observe carefully, to our students, will they have the same reaction and what will they do with that reaction? 


Milestone 21: Cyprus (Chapter 3: Autumn Wars)

Published July 11, 2014 / Near Pyla, Cyprus       

Day 548         Mile 2000          Elevation 167ft  

“The iron ship docks with a clang. There are beaches slathered with baking Russians, baking Brits. Then a port city. Then a checkerboard of olive groves, of yellow hay fields. empty chalk roads that burn out the eyeballs. Boarded up villas. (The global banking crisis hit hard.) Marooned villages. Old Byzantine churches. The racket of cicadas only ratchets up the heat. Carob trees throw lead-colored shadows. Up in the dry hill above Pyla, an Indian tractor driver points the way north to the Turkish enclave. Sitar music twangs from his earbuds. another new arrival. he turns soil that has been plowed for 9,000 years yet still gives. It has always been this way in Cyprus.” Salopek, Milestone 21: Cyprus.

Such great usage of decriptive writing and figurative langugae. The words seemingly leap off the website and grab you. I could almost feel the sun beating down on my face and the warmth of the wind. Expanding upon this, VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP was the very first thought that came to mind once I read this passage. Through all records, you can find, photos, videos and audio recordings of the landscape and people around Paul at that moment. What a great way to incorprate different educational aspects into one epic lesson; SCORE! More on incorporating Out of Eden Walk into your lessons at the end.

Milestone 33: Night Crossing (Chapter 4 In Progress: The Silk Roads)

Published December 23, 2015 / Aboard the MV Fikret Emirov on the Caspian Sea

Day 1079          Mile 3200           Elevation 0ft

“We left Baku in the time of the khazri – the cold north wind that blows bluely across the Caspian Sea in the winter. The cargo ship was the MV Fikret Emirov, named after an Azeri composer of the Soviet period. The night Caspian stretched the color of charcoal. The sea was five million and a half years old and it expanded anc onctracted through the ages with the changes in climate: a vast systile and diastole of diliute saltwater beating at the very edge of Asia, at the last rim of Europe. If not a hear – then an eye. A teary, black pupil gazing up at the Milky Way. The wind blew and the same three seagulls drafted on the superstructure all the way across, from the Caucasus to Central Asia. The birds reached a new subcontinent without hardly flicking a wing.” Salopek, Milestone 33, Night Crossing.

“The sea was five million and a half years old,” one can almost capture the emotion in these words. Slow down and observe carefully the depth of that statement, “The sea was five million and a half years old.” The in-depth story telling and interviewing that Paul is exploring and accomplishing is seemingly spilling out at every milestone; so full of history and truly opens your eyes to aspect that are already in front of us yet, we have been reluctant to explore, especially in the classroom.



Educational Aspects

Lesson Plans:

Out of Eden: 1-5 Lesson Plans   

Out of Eden: 6-8 Lesson Plans

Out of Eden: 9-12 Lesson Plans

Out of Eden: Project Zero

Pulitzer Center: Identity Lesson Plan Elementary


Educator Notes

What Makes a Good Story?

Out of Eden Walk: Comparing and Contrasting Social Structures

Global Collaboration:



Virtual Field Trips


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