Walking the Wild Rim of War

The bridge over the lime green Panj River at Ishkashem, Afghanistan, is one of our young century’s great invisible hinges.

It is a simple bridge. Made of crudely poured concrete. Dusty. Little used. (Indeed, a rusty gate locks access to all traffic from 4 p.m. to late morning.) Yet history—worlds—collide here.

On one side of the span: Tajikistan. The Russian language. Battered old Lada cars. Lethal vodka sold in plastic bottles. Cratered pavement. Girls wearing trousers. Lines of yellow poplar trees. And phone and electric power service—all the fading legacy of 70 years of colonization by the Soviet Union.

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

Human Journey

Meet the Author
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.