Since I can’t do much of anything myself right now, I am living vicariously through others to get my adventure fix. I recently read a months-old issue of National Geographic magazine, and found this article on one man’s plan to walk around the world, following the path of human expansion out of Africa and eventually into the Americas. I find it fascinating on many levels!
For one, I have long had an interest in walking across the country. This will never happen, largely because I think my weak joints would fall apart if I attempted it, but it is fun to think about. In 2000, while hiking and walking regularly along Rattlesnake Creek in Missoula, Montana, I concocted a plan. At the time, I imagined asking random strangers along my route for lodging – a spot to pitch a tent in a yard, or a couch to sleep on. I would let word of mouth follow me ahead, and I would build a network of generous folks willing to help out their fellow travelers. I would maintain a list of those willing to offer a couch, and screen potential travelers. There might even be a place in all this for the internet, I thought. Remember, this was at a time when we had just begun making our own plane reservations via online sites, before craigslist had spread out of the Bay Area, before Facebook (Friendster, now that’s a different story…). Most people did not have cell phones, there wasn’t even decent infrastructure for cell phones and internet across the nation. It is both humorous and overwhelming how much things have changed in such a short time!
In his around-the world trip, Paul Salopek seems to be doing an excellent job of integrating 21st-century technology into his primitive mode of transport. The website for the project includes a wonderful array of information: “dispatches from the field,” “milestones,” and “map room” showcase these remarkable well.