Join Us for a Google Hangout with Paul Salopek and Global Students
Walking is falling forward.
Each step we take is an arrested plunge, a collapse averted, a disaster braked. In this way, to walk becomes an act of faith. We perform it daily: a two-beat miracle—an iambic teetering, a holding on and letting go. For the next seven years I will plummet across the world.
I am on a journey. I am in pursuit of an idea, a story, a chimera, perhaps a folly. I am chasing ghosts. Starting in humanity’s birthplace in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, I am retracing, on foot, the pathways of the ancestors who first discovered the Earth at least 60,000 years ago. This remains by far our greatest voyage. Not because it delivered us the planet. No. But because the early Homo sapiens who first roamed beyond the mother continent—these pioneer nomads numbered, in total, as few as a couple of hundred people—also bequeathed us the subtlest qualities we now associate with being fully human: complex language, abstract thinking, a compulsion to make art, a genius for technological innovation, and the continuum of today’s many races. We know so little about them. They straddled the strait called Bab el Mandeb—the “gate of grief” that cleaves Africa from Arabia—and then exploded, in just 2,500 generations, a geological heartbeat, to the remotest habitable fringe of the globe.
Millennia behind, I follow.
Paul Salopek is currently in year two of his seven year trek. He is following 60,000 years of human migration and at the end of seven years will have walked 21,000 miles.
Join us during #PCWalkTalk—a Google Hangout with Paul and students from around the globe on January 22. We are looking for 10 strong questions. Think you have one? Tweet us (@PulitzerGateway), email us (email@example.com) or write on our Facebook wall (Pulitzer Gateway). Send us your questions by tomorrow.
Know before you go: Paul answers a lot of questions in his cover article for National Geographic (http://bit.ly/1fgD9KV) and in his dispatches from the field (http://bit.ly/1hzPGtc) and within the comment fields. Read these stories first and then send us your questions.