About this project
UPDATE 2: August 8, 2015, 10:15 pm ET.
SUCCESS! Thanks to your generosity, Out of Eden Walk - Year Three became successful just moments ago. Abundance Foundation has generously offered to raise their matching limit by $2,500 to a total of $15,500. We have three days remaining to reach that goal. By helping us do so, you're helping us fund the "trail gallery" feature of the Walk, which enables us to share the work and perspective of Paul's guides with our followers—a truly invaluable aspect of the journey that, by definition, belongs to all of us.
UPDATE 1: We're excited to announce that from July 30 onward, until the last day of the campaign, August 12, every donation you make has twice the impact.
The Abundance Foundation (www.abundance.org) has generously offered to match pledges at a 1:1 ratio up to $13,000. Let's help them reach that goal by August 12!
Abundance is adding their matching contributions roughly every other day between now and August 12. Below we'll keep a running tally of the amount matched so far:
Amount matched as of AUGUST 6: $9,335.00
We'll update this figure regularly, so please check back.
The Out of Eden Walk 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is the foundation of Paul Salopek’s seven-year, 21,000-mile foot journey.
A two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent, Paul is retracing the pathways of humanity’s first migration out of Africa and around the globe—on foot, as our ancestors traveled.
In January 2013, Paul walked out of Ethiopia. He’s since traversed Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Cyprus, Turkey, and crossed the Caucasus Mountains into the Republic of Georgia. Pausing only when seasonal or geopolitical factors demand, Paul won’t break from the Out of Eden Walk trail until he reaches the tip of South America, where our ancestors also ran out of new horizons.
The physical rigors of the journey, though obvious, are far from the point. The Out of Eden Walk is primarily a storytelling quest into the lives of the people and the human landscapes that Paul encounters on the trail. Moving at the slow beat of his footsteps, Paul is revealing the inner worlds of people he encounters: the nomads, villagers, traders, farmers, and fishermen who don't ordinarily make the news. The Walk is a way of being; a commitment to humanity.
A National Geographic Fellow, Paul is using “slow journalism”—an experimental form of immersive storytelling—as well as the latest tools of digital innovation to take us with him on the Out of Eden Walk trail.
The Out of Eden Walk is now in Year Three—a position we wouldn't have achieved were it not for the kind support and enthusiasm of our followers, whose backing carried us successfully through our first crowd-funding campaign in 2014. Thank you.
This campaign helps support Year Three of the journey. With it, we are embarking on a long-term fundraising strategy to support the independent nonprofit behind Paul’s storytelling until he reaches Tierra del Fuego. In order to keep the focus where it should be—on the wealth of content from the trail—we’ll confine our crowd-funding efforts to these once-a-year campaigns.
In 2015, we hope to bring the Walk experience to a broader audience, in the United States and across the globe, including students of all ages. From 2013-2015 our educational mission has grown considerably—along with the costs inherent in realizing our potential in classrooms.
If we achieve our Kickstarter goal, the nonprofit will be able to embark on funding these exciting new missions in 2015:
"Paul’s dispatches not only bring depth to what scores of students study but they also transform our ideas of the way human beings have organized and survived through the centuries.” —Aateka Shashank, recent university graduate and Walk enthusiast
Building on successful pilot programs, we plan to take the Out of Eden Walk slow journalism curriculum national this year, through a series of workshops for colleges and universities. Our University Outreach director is organizing in-person meetings with educators at several dozen campuses across the U.S. in the network of one of our main education partners, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. The academic fields represented at such meetings include journalism, geography, environmental science, and international studies. (The Walk’s classroom potential is almost limitless, with points of reference in subjects ranging from history to visual arts to anthropology.)
With your support, our University Outreach director will expand the Walk’s nationwide curriculum, conduct workshops and teacher-training visits at participating schools, and link up classes for live interactions with Paul in the field. The first university courses in the Walk earned excellent student evaluations, and students who participated in the pilot program are eager to discuss how they used the Walk as inspiration and methodology for their own narrative projects. One enterprising student in Pittsburgh, for instance, was inspired to apply its methods to documenting his own city. Setting up a national university program will be a two-stage process, with both in-person and online components. The "Out of Eden Workshop" is available now.
Our partner at the Harvard Center for Geographical Analysis will offer “Out of Eden Walk” workshops and training courses to journalists, students, and the general public starting in the fall of 2015. These classes will have to be built for online distribution and also scheduled for live classes in schools and other organizations that request them. The pilot program will serve anyone who’s interested—from high school students to outdoor enthusiasts, from professional journalists to creative technologists.
One-day courses will use geographic data produced from Paul’s GPS and existing Out of Eden Walk maps as examples to show workshop attendees how to create their own online maps, visualizations, and animations in a variety of formats using open-source software tools. Our instructor, Harvard mapmaker Jeff Blossom, will lead students through the creation of: - General reference maps in PDF format using QGIS desktop software - 3D tour visualizations in movie format, using Google Earth - Interactive online map presentations using ArcGIS Explorer Online. In addition, the cartographic principles of scale, projection, symbology, typography, and visual hierarchy will be introduced and practiced.
Thanks to follower support, Out of Eden Walk became multilingual in November 2014. The work, however, is far from finished. To serve the expanding global readership, we hope to further widen the Walk’s message and community across languages. This will involve cultivating international communities of bloggers and social media users in the countries Paul walks through to help translate his journalism on a volunteer basis. On occasion, for quality control, we'll need to hire professional translators and reviewers.
The community building in itself will require more bandwidth than our tiny team can currently handle, given the costs of an honorarium for selected, high-quality volunteer translation, editing and moderation, and publishing. It's our goal to make all Out of Eden Walk digital assets available in a wide variety of languages, especially in underserved communities en route.
For further details on any of these missions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The core idea of the Out of Eden Walk—slowing down enough to absorb and record stories that are otherwise lost to the world—continues to push the frontiers of long-wave narrative on the Web.
The project’s counterintuitive approach—combining the primordial news-gathering mechanism of walking with the latest digital technology to share multi-media stories—has grabbed the attention of press and thought-leaders worldwide. (Just one example: Filipino electoral officials who, inspired by the Walk, set out on foot to spread the word about voter awareness.)
Since Paul took his first steps, and wrote his first finely honed dispatch from the trail, he has been joined by a growing band of passionate followers who have been moved by his stories to write nearly 6,000 comments. Paul responds to as many as he can.
From bestselling authors to schoolchildren in Chennai, India, here’s how followers feel about the journey in their own words:
"One man walking 21,000 miles for all of us. What Paul Salopek has done—is doing!—is to undertake the walk of mankind for mankind. Every piece I read I'm reminded to look at the feet of those around me, including my own, and ask where they've been, and—in my case—whether they've been treading slowly enough.
"I love Paul for seeing women. God, this is a breathtaking piece. I think Paul's a superstar and I've loved all his stuff but this...this is bloody genius." —Alexandra Fuller, author of New York Times-bestseller "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight," reacting to "Syrian Refugees," Paul's December 2014 article for National Geographic
"Paul Salopek is the paradigm of what a journalist should be, the full package: sharp critical brain, big heart, keen eye, strong pair of legs. His Walk Out of Eden is valuable, fascinating, and courageous in more ways than I can name." —David Quammen, award-winning writer and journalist
"The sheer audacity of this effort—walking the length and breadth of whole continents, truly looking and listening the whole way—would be an inspiration even if I had never read the wonderful dispatches. I love the idea that Paul has whole school communities following his progress and sharing that inspiration." —Cynthia Gorney, professor, award-winning author and journalist
“Through the text and pictures that other [students] have shared, the stereotypes that I had of certain countries were broken. I have also learned a lot about how the world is all connected. Whether or not we are aware of it, our actions can affect people on the other side of the world.” — Student in Vancouver, Canada
"Paul, somehow or another, your journey and your posts inject a bit of peace and calm into my day each time I read them, and make it more possible for me to commit to injecting the highest quality I can into my work and my life." —Reader
"Just today I learned of your journey. I am so very moved by it and wish I could tag along! Thank you for the education and enlightenment you are providing along the way." —Reader
WALKING PARTNER - $10 - Thank you for joining Paul on the trail. Your backing helps Paul find and report the global stories of our time that are missed by conventional journalists. Your name will appear on Out of Eden Walk's digital donor wall, a feature that will remain a permanent legacy of the 7-year journey.
MILE SPONSOR - $25 - Fund a mile of the journey with a pledge of $25 or more, and your name and mile will appear on a digital donor map custom-made by Jeff Blossom, our chief cartographer at the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard. The donor map will be displayed online as a permanent legacy of the 7-year journey.
CONSCIOUS COMMUTER - $40 - Ok. We know you gotta drive. But hey, we can help you subvert any lingering guilt you may suffer from 'car brain' by helping you broadcast your appreciation for a more ambulatory lifestyle. We'll mail you two custom-made "Out of Eden Walk" bumper stickers, one rectangular (3"X10") and one oval (3"X4.5"). They'll spruce up any car, laptop, or bike.
GALLERIST - $50 - We'll email you a link to 10 high-resolution photos. Taken by Paul, the photos will offer you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into daily life on the Out of Eden Walk trail.
BOOKPACKER - $75 - Back the "bookpacker" reward to receive an emailed reading list of the books and other materials that helped inspire and prepare Paul for the Out of Eden Walk trail. Our bias aside, more trustworthy reading recommendations do not exist. This is a perfect choice for any traveling or reading enthusiast.
TRAIL SCRIBBLER - $120 - We'll mail you an Expedition-edition Field Notes notebook with a customized Out of Eden Walk logo stamped on the inner cover. Bulletproof, waterproof, fireproof, with acid, wind, and electrical resistance, this can accompany you anywhere your feet will carry you. Ideal for slow journalists and explorative notetakers.
CORRESPONDENT - $180 - Back by popular demand from last year's campaign! Mail from a human snail. Paul will send you an old-fashioned handwritten postcard directly from the Out of Eden Walk trail. All postcards are unique and written by Paul. *Limited to 70.*
NAVIGATOR - $250 - Also back by popular demand from last year! Every 100 miles across the Earth, Paul pauses to record a narrative Milestone consisting of a panorama photograph, an audio recording of ambient sound, a video clip and an interview with the nearest human being asking three existential questions. ("Who are you?" "Where do you come from?" and "Where are you going?") Become a Milestone Sponsor and we'll email you a link to your high-resolution panorama Milestone photo with GPS coordinates. Your name will appear on the Milestone on our digital donor map, a permanent online legacy of the journey. *Limited to 40.*
CAMPFIRE CHAT - $550 - Talk or Skype with Paul for an hour as he reports back to you from the field. You can keep the conversation between you and Paul, or you can ask family and friends to join you. Please note that Paul's comms from the trail are often far from perfect, so we can guarantee only an audio connection. *Limited to 3.*
ART COLLECTOR - $1,200 - Receive a set of ten 8" by 10" photographs taken by World Press Award-winning photojournalist John Stanmeyer from the Out of Eden Walk trail. The images, all of which have been previously published in National Geographic magazine, will be shipped to you in an elegant archival box. The prints are non-edition and unsigned but are exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign (thank you, John)! We can also confirm that each print is stunning and to receive them as a box set is a steal. *Limited to 20.*
EXCLUSIVE COLLECTOR - $1,750 - Receive a signed, 30" print of this photograph taken by World Press Award-winning photojournalist John Stanmeyer. Stanmeyer captured this image of Afar men in prayer along a dried river in Ethiopia while on assignment on the Out of Eden Walk trail for a National Geographic print story. The photograph was published as a double-page image in the December 2013 edition of National Geographic magazine. The rare image is printed in an edition of only 100, 10 of which we're proud to offer here. (Thank you, John!) We'll mail the print to you in an insured shipping tube. A golden opportunity for any photography, travel, or simply beauty enthusiast. *Limited to 10.*
This project would not be possible without the support of our global community of fellow wanderers. Your enthusiasm is like a tail wind. Thank you for walking along and we encourage you to get involved.
Risks and challenges
Reporting overseas is an intrinsically risky endeavor, with dangers both natural and man-made. For his own safety and that of his guides, Paul’s written material is published after a time lag.
Given the burden of walking in conjunction with reporting and interacting with schools, Paul has had to make longer stops than anticipated in “wired” urban centers. So the Walk’s pacing has to be flexible, as does the routing.
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