Out of Eden Walk – One year later and still walking

It’s not exactly Maine news, or information about our state, but in a way, I think it’s connected. I hope you like the update.

About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Paul Salopek and his editors from the National Geographic Society. At the time, I was enrolled in graduate class in narrative nonfiction and our class met every Wednesday evening in a small classroom at Harvard. During one of the last class meetings our teacher came whirling into the room and asked us if we’d like to meet Paul Salopek and listen to him speak about writing, his upcoming story, and his life as a journalist.

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 1.31.55 PM

I knew, we knew, he was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and wrote regularly for the National Geographic magazine, and I think it took us about three seconds to say yes, load up our coats and hats, and head for the door.

For the next two hours Paul talked to a small group of teachers, students, benefactors, and writers about his upcoming trip. Within weeks he was leaving the United States and heading to east-Africa to begin retracing on foot the global migration of our ancestors in a 21,000-mile, seven-year odyssey that begins in Ethiopia and ends in Tierra del Fuego.

I couldn’t believe he was going to do this.

Well he did and it’s been about a year, and the trip has been chronicled in the pages of the National Geographic and on Paul’s webpage (OutofEdenWalk.com)

He’s connected with school children, writers, and those who live in his path. From across the globe, we watch as he leaves his mark, each step of the way.


As a writer, I’m impressed with his words and his ability to simply tell the story of the people he meets. As someone pointed out to me, you just know good writing when the words flow like they’ve always shared the same space.

Anyway, here are just a few of his words.

On writing and storytelling:

Stories are a little like river stones

smoothed by the tongue,

rounded by repetition,

improved upon by memory

so that only a core of the truth remains.

But now the story streams together in one long narrative.

– Paul Salopek

I hope he enjoys the trip and check back here each month as we note his progress around the globe.

David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at www.BrysonTaylorPublishing.com