A new subcontinent—a new world, really—deserves a new way of storytelling: the Out of Eden Walk’s first narrative map.
Sailing on a camel boat from Africa to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s biggest commercial port, I plunge into a delirium of contrasts: from rural to urban, from poor to rich, from slow to fast, from landscapes gripped by human feet to ones subdued by the wheel.
Jeddah is the world walk’s first urban traverse. Back in Djibouti, I arrived in the capital by ferryboat and navigated that city’s warren of streets by foot and minibus. In Jeddah, a world-class metropolis of three million, I plod straight through: more than 60 miles of sidewalks before reaching desert sand. Unexpectedly, stretches of this booming, simmering metropolis recall the loneliest stretches of the Danakil Depression.
Fill your water bottles. Look both ways. The bearing is due north—into the scalding heart of the Hejaz.
The narrative map of Paul’s route through Jeddah was produced with the collaboration of the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT, the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University, and National Geographic.