Human Journey

Ghost Sea

Walking through the world, one navigates endless frontiers: real and imagined, old and new, visible and invisible, passable and impassable.

In the remote Pamirs of Tajikistan, we skirt the salt surf of Karakul Lake, cupped in a giant meteorite crater, at 13,000 feet one of the highest bodies of water in the world. We walk the strands of barbed wire that divide China from Tajikistan. (A new boundary: Tajikistan ceded a chunk of its raw mountains to Beijing in recent years.) We pound the Soviet-built highway that once marked the wild Central Asian rim of a vanished empire—a road that today serves an exotic playground for affluent Westerners on touring bicycles.

And in the high cold desert of the Pamirs, we beachcomb the ghostly shores of a cold desert that was once the edge of an ancient sea: the Tethys Ocean.

Read the full story, or explore more content from the Out of Eden Walk at outofedenwalk.org.

Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek’s 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk is a multiyear experiment in slow journalism. Moving at the beat of his footsteps, Salopek is walking the pathways of the first humans who migrated out of Africa in the Stone Age and made the Earth ours. Along the way he is covering the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by giving voice to the people who inhabit them every day. His words, as well as his photographs, video, and audio, are creating a global record of human life at the start of a new millennium as told by villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely make the news. Join the journey at outofedenwalk.org and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @OutofEdenWalk.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

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