"Walking the Silk Road, where globalization got started" PBS NewsHour 6/27/2017
|Time period: Around 120 BCE – 1450s CE, Main Routes|
SUMMARY: The Silk Road, the ancient trading route that spanned from Asia toward the West, is where we find journalist Paul Salopek these days. Salopek began his "Out of Eden" walk four years ago in Ethiopia. Now Hari Sreenivasan catches up with him for an update.
HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour): You have been following the Silk Road that millions of people before you have.
PAUL SALOPEK, Fellow, National Geographic: The Silk Road was an artery of trade not just of luxury item, not just of commodities, but of ideas, right?
Buddhism moved along the Silk Road routes. Inventions like paper, which conveyed ideas, people, culture, art, music, all of these things moved along these camel caravan roads.
And it’s interesting to be walking them today, Hari, as we’re entering a phase where there’s been a bit of backlash against globalism. And the Silk Road was the first real experiment in globalization about 2,000 years ago.-----HARI SREENIVASAN: Let’s talk a little bit about the people that you have been walking with.
I imagine that you get to know these people that you’re walking hundreds of miles with.
PAUL SALOPEK: So, I have walked about 6,000 kilometers out of Ethiopia since January of 2013. I have crossed about 13 borders. I have passed through about a dozen countries and territories, many languages within those territories and countries.
And along most of the way, about 95 percent of the way, I have been walking with local people. That’s part of the project. This is a project about humanity. It’s a project about what connects us and what separates us, so I need to have local people.
And it’s truly amazing. In conversations about, is the world becoming more dangerous, is it becoming more turbulent, I have to remind my readers that, at least in my experience, the world is an incredibly hospitable place.
And all of these folks who walk with me, mostly men, but some women, have become like family to me. I literally put my life into their hands. And I’m being passed like a human baton from walking partner to walking partner.
And what does that do? It gives me great heart. It gives me great energy. It proves in a very concrete way, my safety, that most people are good and most people will help you out, even if they’re strangers, even if they’re from another culture, even if they don’t look like you or speak in the same words that you speak.