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Paul's Welcome to Students

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Paul's Welcome to Students
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Transcript of Paul’s Welcome to Students (Sent in August 2013)

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“My name is Paul Salopek and I’m happy to invite you along on the Out of Eden Walk. One of the interesting things about this project, at least to me, is that it doesn’t belong to me. It’s not Paul’s walk. Scientists say that if you go far back enough in your family tree, there will have been someone who’ll have walked at least a small part of our ancestor’s immensely long route across the ancient world. This project, then, is one that belongs to all of us. It belongs to you.

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I’m looking forward to sharing the stories that I find as I walk across the earth for the next seven years, from the cradle of our ancestors in the Rift Valley of Africa to the last continental horizon that they reached thousands of generations later in South America.

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But I look forward to hearing your stories too because learning about the world and how we’re all connected within it doesn’t mean you have to pull on a pair of boots and walk 25 miles a day.

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You can do this from home by just slowing down and paying attention. Slowing down opens your life to new possibilities. It allows you to make new discoveries, even in your own backyard. All it takes is a little more time and curiosity.

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Think about the difference, for example, between riding to school in a bus or a car and walking. When you’re hunkered inside of a glass and steel vehicle, you are looking at the world that is blurred by speed and flattened through the windshield. Or more likely, you’re staring down into a mobile device and ignoring the world altogether.

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But walking requires alertness; it requires you to be fully awake. You may see the pattern of leaf shadows moving on a sidewalk. You might feel the cool autumn wind on your skin. You might smell a neighbor’s cooking wafting through an open window, or you might even meet that neighbor and have a brief, passing conversation.

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So while I look forward to sharing the stories that I find across the world as I inch my way through African deserts, or over the Himalayan Mountains of Central Asia, or through the jungles of Burma. I also look forward to hearing about your own walks as well, about your own discoveries.

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We are walking together on a journey of learning. We’ll draw maps together, helping each other to move forward. I look forward to seeing you down the trail.”

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DMU Timestamp: March 21, 2014 21:54

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