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The current issue of National Geographic has a feature about Paul Salopek, a journalist who is retracing the steps of the first human migrations around the world.  He’s doing it all on foot (and, where necessary, by boat).

Salopek’s journey, called the Out of Eden Walk, started in Ethiopia, where the oldest human remains have been found.  As the route below shows, he is traveling North, across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia, and up through Jordan and Lebanon to Turkey.  From there, he heads east through central Asia, passing through India and China, and then turns north into Russia.  Next he travels by boat to Alaska, following the route taken by humans 12,000 years ago when a land bridge connected Russia and Alaska.  Finally, Salopek travels south through the entire length of the Americas, until he reaches the southernmost tip of South America, which is Tierra Del Fuego in Chile.  In all, it will be a 7 year journey.

The route being followed by Salopek from Ethiopia to Tierra Del Fuego, Chile (via National Geographic)

Salopek is not just taking a very long walk.  Everywhere he goes, he is meeting the people and learning about their life experiences.  He is taking pictures, visiting ancient sites, and blogging regularly as he goes along. His latest stop is at the Al Zureb Fortress in Saudi Arabia, and he has blogged about the historical significance of the site and its connection with Lawrence of Arabia.

You can track Salopek’s progress and see his blog here: http://outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com/ and check out an interactive map of the entire route here: http://www.outofedenwalk.com/map-room/.

The Out of Eden Walk is an incredibly ambitious goal, which will take a great deal of perseverance to traverse such a wide variety of climates and cultures.  I wish him the best of luck as he follows in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors.