National Geographic

Lawrence’s Ghost

Al Zureb Fortress, Saudi Arabia, 26°15'9'' N, 36°32'41'' E

The old cannon shells looked like rusty pineapples.

An eroded artillery shell from the Arab Revolt stoked by T.E. Lawrence was found recently in the well of an Ottoman fort near Al Wajh. Photograph by Paul Salopek

An artillery shell from the Arab Revolt stoked by T.E. Lawrence was found recently in the well of an Ottoman fort near Al Wajh. Photograph by Paul Salopek

Construction workers renovating this old Ottoman fort outside the port town of Al Wajh hauled them up in buckets from a long disused well. There were dozens. Some were packed in rotting wood boxes a hundred years old. Probably, the explosives were still dangerous. Naturally, this made me think of Lawrence.

Thomas Edward Lawrence—”Lawrence of Arabia”—has been on my mind lately.

As I walk north through the Hejaz toward Jordan, retracing the wanderings of the earliest humans who spread from Africa, I am traversing, too, the old battlefields of the Arab Revolt, a “sideshow of a sideshow” during World War I, to use Lawrence’s modest description of a conflict that reshaped the future of the Middle East.

Photograph by Paul Salopek

Al Zureb fortress fell in 1917 to free Arab forces co-led by T.E. Lawrence. Photograph by Paul Salopek

Al Zureb fortress, defended by German-allied Turks, fell early in 1917 to a joint force of British warships and a motley cavalry of Arab camel men who galloped into battle wearing “rusty-red tunics henna-dyed, under black cloaks, and carried swords. Each had a slave crouched behind him on the crupper to help him with rifle and dagger in the fight, and to watch his camel and cook for him on the road.” Among that whooping, colorful horde rode a small foreigner, just 5’5″ tall and towheaded, with chilly blue eyes and first class honors degree from Oxford in medieval archaeology. As a boy he’d dreamed of knights and chivalry. As a soldier of empire he yearned, subversively, to bring liberty to an immense Arab-speaking swath of the globe that was then staggering under the yoke of the Turks. His orders from the British High Command were simply to foment a rebellion—and, ultimately, to betray the Arabs who fought it.

This is why Lawrence still fascinates. He pioneered a postmodern archetype: the fatally compromised hero.

It is hard today to imagine waging a war in northwestern Saudi Arabia.

Wadi al Safra, where Lawrence first met Prince Feisal, "the leader who would bring the Arab Revolt to full glory." Photograph by Paul Salopek

Wadi al Safra, where Lawrence first met Prince Feisal, “the leader who would bring the Arab Revolt to full glory.” Photograph by Paul Salopek

The deserts I walk through are far emptier than a century ago. The Bedouin nomads Lawrence once marshaled with promises of self-rule and bags of British gold have been mostly resettled in cities. (Though the “ladder of tribes” he described on the trail north to Jordan—the Juhaina, the Billi, the Howeitat—yet exists.) Gorgeous but perishingly hot Wadi al Safra, the famous desert valley where Lawrence met Prince Feisal, the leader of the Arab Revolt, is now almost pure wilderness. Old stone-walled towns that Lawrence raced his thoroughbred she-camel through have vanished under strip malls. Today most Saudis remember little about the British guerrilla chieftain except his famous nickname.

“He has a mixed reputation here,” says Awad Al-Subhi, head of the committee of friends of Yanbu heritage and archaeological sites. “He was a spy for the British. But once he got here, the Arabs won his heart. He was a divided man.”

Tactfully, Al-Subhi doesn’t mention that Lawrence, for all his battlefield brilliance—his insurgent tactics are studied by the U.S. forces in Afghanistan—backed the wrong royals to rule Arabia. The Hashemites under Feisal weren’t just cynically sidelined after the war by colonial Britain and France but defeated in a regional power struggle with the modern rulers of the Arabian Peninsula: the house of Saud. (Feisal went on to be a figurehead king in Iraq, and his brother Abdallah started the Hashemite line in Jordan.)

Embittered, Lawrence refused a knighthood and turned into a blistering critic of Britain’s neocolonial entanglements after World War I. Regarding a military quagmire in the new British-made country of Iraq in 1920 he wrote:

“The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are today not far from a disaster.”

Lawrence died in motorcycle accident in England in 1935. He was 46. He died under an assumed name.

Squinting in the sun at the well in Al Zureb fortress, watching the laborers step obliviously around the old ordnance, I thought of the flamboyant Briton in Arab robes. Of an Arab Revolt and of an Arab Spring. And I warned the men not to kick the explosives.

There are 95 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Eva Maria Huschka
    November 22, 2013

    Your post Nr. 14 touched me very much. This empty land on our planet, a forlorn place like on Mars or on the moon! No place for a human being! Only your long shadow painted on it. For many days this picture roamed my mind. As the sound of the wind changed, when it passed the stones you put down it seemed like you were marking your grave – but you “emerged from the desert and were reborn”!

    Question:
    Do you carry all the food for the camels with you?

    • Paul Salopek
      November 25, 2013

      No—just a bag of grain and sometimes a half bale of alfalfa. We rely on sparse desert forage and occasional drops of feed from a Saudi friend.

  2. HikerBob
    November 22, 2013

    The tales of this Journey just keep getting better and better. Thank you.

  3. Tevan
    November 22, 2013

    Dear Paul, you are making a history. More power to you. Your comments and photos are fascinating.

  4. Roxy Hathaway
    November 22, 2013

    Just found out about your walk and I will be following along now!

  5. William Quintanilla
    November 22, 2013

    I truly enjoy knowing what you are doing. I run long distance and I bet you are enjoying this great long journey. Thanks for weaving daily stories with history of those regions you are traveling through! Travel safe!!!

  6. mohammad
    November 23, 2013

    Dear paul, i just informed about your fascinating journey, hope best wishes,health and happines for you. if you`re comming to IRAN the years following, it is in mind to meet you,maybe walk with you some miles, if possible. salute to you.

  7. mohammad
    November 23, 2013

    Dear paul, i just informed about your fascinating journey, hope best wishes,health and happines for you. if you`re comming to IRAN the years following, it is in mind to meet you,maybe i will walk with you some miles, if possible. salute to you.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 25, 2013

      Thanks, Mohammad. Very kind. Contact me again next spring, as I inch into the Levant.

  8. Dr Nick Saunders
    November 23, 2013

    Fascinating stuff – and precisely the topic of our 10-year project looking at the archaeology of Lawrence of Arabia’s War (Great Arab Revolt). Check out our website – http://www.jordan1914-18archaeology.org

  9. Jim Trammell, Hershey
    November 23, 2013

    Show a picture of your nightly camp

    • Paul Salopek
      November 25, 2013

      There are a few in the Twitter stream, Jim: @PaulSalopek

  10. eade duncan
    November 23, 2013

    Fascinating

  11. judy bayless
    November 23, 2013

    I am following you daily. You are a very brave man. Best of luck for your adventures ahead.

  12. Liz
    November 23, 2013

    I am humbled by your journey. It is magnificent on so many levels.

  13. Chris Eric
    November 23, 2013

    Careful with the next step Paul. I’m pulling for you here from northern NM. It’s a snowy day here. You have my mind wondering to the arabian desert. What a fascinating fortress and history. When and what was your last “decent” (?) meal.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 25, 2013

      These fortresses dot the Hejaz landscape along the old pilgrim roads. They stand like sentinels from another time, almost forgotten and unvisited. The Saudi government is slowly renovating them.

  14. David M. Ashlock
    November 23, 2013

    I am to old and broken down to travel much. I think I should enjoy a ride with you. I am exited. With respect, David

  15. Roger Ward
    November 24, 2013

    Following on from Dr Saunders’ link, we have a page of sample entries from the work of the Great ARab Revolt Project blog’s here:

    http://www.jordan1914-18archaeology.org/blogsample.htm

    This gives more new insights into the historic activities in this theatre during 1915-18, with many images of the stark, fascinating conflict landscape and the project itself.

  16. Shauna Lazarus
    November 24, 2013

    Your adventure touches my heart and fills my head with wanderlust. I can’t wait to read the next post. I wish you strong feet and a safe journey.

  17. Merle Minda
    November 24, 2013

    Incredible journey. Beautiful writing.

  18. Bobbi Rubinstein
    November 24, 2013

    Just found your article in the NY Times. Will catch up on all the posts. I’m interested in doing my own very, very small walk and recently finished “Lawrence in Arabia” during my first trip to Israel. Your writing is wonderful along with the photography. I am in awe of this project. Best of luck.

  19. Todd Huttunen
    November 24, 2013

    I became aware of your journey in today’s New York Times dispatch. Your observations on cars and Car Brain struck a chord with me, as I reside less than 30 miles north of New York City. Although I do own a car, walking and biking are my preferred modes of transportation. Unfotunately, walkers are second class citizens in this country even as the viability of the auto centered development patterns are reaching the end of their usefulness. Please continue to advocate for that most human of all our activities, the ability to walk and experience the world the way nature designed us to experience it.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 25, 2013

      Walkers are becoming second-class citizens across the planet, Todd. It’s striking. From my minority perspective, it is perhaps the greatest divide in history: the motorized brain vs. the non-motorized one. The contrast in behavior, in outloook, is striking.

  20. Cheri Sabraw
    November 24, 2013

    A writer’s walker and a walker’s writer perfectly unified! Thank you for the lovely detail, history, and storytelling all in one short post. I am onboard.

  21. DANIEL J. FREBURG
    November 24, 2013

    so very interesting webpages – I’ve read the magazine article and the internet stuff was very cool – good luck – bye!

  22. Norm
    November 24, 2013

    A co-worker told me about your NPR appearance the other day. Best of luck, Paul!

  23. geoff partridge
    November 24, 2013

    Fascinating journey to follow and be a part of. Thankyou.

  24. Ian Gordon
    November 24, 2013

    Hi Paul, I just read you r contribution to The Globe & Mail (Toronto, Canada). I had to look you up on the internet because I was so fascinated in your journey. I will be following you through your web posts. Fascinating stuff and what an adventure! Can’t wait!!

  25. Sigrid meier
    November 24, 2013

    So excited about this!

  26. Linda Hoernke
    November 24, 2013

    Thank you again. Your tales tied in with history of big events and the history of everyday life in the deserts olf Saudia Arabia continue to fascinate me. Safe travels Paul. Wonderful photos~~

  27. Amit
    November 25, 2013

    Paul, are you walking through India during your journey? if you do travel through India, some of the long distance runners/ walkers would love to join you for a part fo your epic walk. Safe travels.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 25, 2013

      Thanks, Amit. Very generous invitation. I’ll keep this in mind for 2016 or so.

  28. Kellie Ashton
    November 25, 2013

    Hello Paul! Recently in our history, the automobile and those that use, adore, covet, & maul it, have been made painfully aware of the limits to the fuel that is life itself. As the manufacturers hemorrhage themselves to solve this impending doom how do you see it playing out, from your very clear bipedal perspective?
    I am throughly enjoying walking with you vicariously. Thank you for taking me with along ….

  29. Linus
    November 25, 2013

    Great stuff. Intrigued to follow the trail, the footsteps and the story. So far, according to me, you have managed to find fascinating testimonies and turned them into great storytelling. Keep challenging the equilibrium of the falling and please give a heads up when you approach Amman (where I currently live and would love to catch a glimpse of the man making history, literally speaking). PS: Written when slightly tipsy.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      Glad to have you walking—reeling—along, Linus.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      Glad to have you walking—reeling—along, Linus.

  30. Felipe
    November 25, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your walk with all of us. I feel like I participate, if only in a small way, by reading your accounts. We are, after all, one large, somewhat dysfunctional family! Your work has the potential to help us see that though we are very different, we are also very much alike.

  31. Ciaran Ashton
    November 25, 2013

    Hello Paul.
    I read your story in NatGeo, and on this website. Really cool! I am a boy scout, and think your the trek was AMAZING!!!! I am learning wilderness survival, the merit badge, and after some though, I have a couple questions: 1-how much clothing do you carry? 2-do you carry extra food supplies? 3-have you ever been scared of failure?
    This is such a cool topic for me, and would LOVE to chat with you more!
    Thank you.

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      It’s no fun carrying weight, Ciaran, so I probably don’t change my clothes as often as my camels would like. (They carry the bulk of our food.) And as for #3, all the time—but I try to channel it into building ladders to scale the psychic barricades along the trail.

  32. Faith Ashton :)
    November 25, 2013

    Hello Paul,
    I read your story on this site and a seven year trip to me seems terrifying! Are you ever scared? On January 9 2013, the day before you started your voyage did you really want to leave?? I would have been restless the night. I think you are so cool. You said who needs cars when you have perfectly good legs! Its just you and some camels. You inspire me to do things that might seem impossible to some, but not to me.
    Thank you so much for that

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      I’ve been doing this for a very long time, long before January 9. So I can’t say that the walk is much of a departure. It’s more like an arrival. Go well.

  33. Betsy Spiegel
    November 25, 2013

    Bravo Paul. I am following your inspiring adventure and poetic descriptions.

  34. Paikea Aguinaldo Marquez
    November 25, 2013

    Mr. Salopek, my 6 year old daughter and I are so excited to be part of your journey. We live in the semi-desert of NM and hope to greet you in Columbus, NM when you are near. We are artists and are so grateful to you for your generosity in sharing your thoughts, history and daily experience with the world. I tell my daughter, this is how it feels to be at the university doing research and listening to great lectures by great teachers! Best wishes for your safe travel!!

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      Very kind. Happy to have you walking along, Paikea.

  35. Shelley Smith
    November 25, 2013

    Hi again Paul,
    I’m loving your posts & photos. That one of the Ottoman fort reminded me of similar ones dotted through the Emirates. A lot of the stone seemed to me ancient coral heads dug out of the desert. There was also a fascinating Stone Age tomb with impossibly perfect fitting stone walls, near the main oasis of Al Ain. Are you going through Wadi Mousa in Jordan? Years ago, I rode down the famous Siq to Petra, Burckhardt’s “rose red city”. Worth a look, although I suspect you may have already been there? All the best!

  36. Matías Nicolás Tartara
    November 25, 2013

    I have read about your trip in NYT. I am from Argentina, and i am very sorry that your trip won´t take you through my country, I could gladly join you, but in seven years who knows… Chile is very beautiful maybe in seven years could be over there. In the mean time i will enjoy your trip online, your endeavour is amazing. Good luck and happy trails from another “walking brain” i suppose

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      Actually, I do plan to walk through parts of southern Argentina, Matías. Patagonia awaits.

  37. Matías Nicolás Tartara
    November 25, 2013

    I have just see an interview that you did, in the final you say that the kind of journalism that you pretend to do needs the silence (talking about the danger of becoming a celebrity and people wanting to follow you), so maybe can´t join you LOL!! sorry about all the noise (my talking to join you in chile ;), )!! but maybe when finally you arrive to south america you will figure that out.

  38. Marianne
    November 25, 2013

    Please notify me of new posts

  39. Kate Bensen
    November 26, 2013

    Safe travels as you experience the journey of many lifetimes. We have much to learn from you as your body and mind carry your soul through time and so much space. I anticipate every bit of knowledge you are sending and sharing with the world!

  40. Lawrence King
    November 26, 2013

    An amazing journey, I hope you get to complete it. An eyeopening view of the world that in all truth feels so alien to my way of life. A wonderful insight into a world I will never see for myself, thank you so much. Lawrence King

  41. Lawrence King
    November 26, 2013

    P.S. Will be following your reports when I can.

  42. Alex Newman
    November 26, 2013

    I am so curious; how many pairs of shoes have you been through already? I just discovered your posts via NYT and read the entire blog. I travel vicariously through you. Blessings….

    • Paul Salopek
      November 27, 2013

      Still on pair one—but they’re on their last legs. Thanks for walking along, Alex.

  43. Dee McGuffey
    November 26, 2013

    I feel like I am journeying right along with you. In fact, you have a fascinated crowd following. You have touched many and will continue to do so for many years. I will happily be celebrating my 80th birthday with your arrival in Tierra del Fuego.

  44. Mike Wilson
    November 26, 2013

    Remarkable undertaking, lots of time to listen…all the best!

  45. Suzanne Nolin
    November 26, 2013

    This is so interesting and especially when you involved Lawrence of Arabia

  46. Judith Hirt
    November 26, 2013

    I read of your adventure awhile ago and noted to myself to look for Out of Eden. So glad to see it in Nat Geo.I shall follow all your posts, etc. and look forward to your book.

  47. Fedorych
    November 27, 2013

    Good luck to you, mate!

  48. Jim
    November 27, 2013

    Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the States. What will you do and where are you

  49. Markus H
    November 27, 2013

    Dear Paul, I’m from Indonesia and after reading this, I’ve decided that joining your adventure will be the best thing one could do in my humble opinion, so please, take me with you, I will make things get easier!

  50. Ebe McCabe
    November 27, 2013

    While I’d like to hear more about supply and communications and research en route, the nature of the indigenous people is far more relevant. You’re immersed in a harsh climate populated by a hard and hardy people. They are the same species as us, but react to other humans and predatory animals in a much more natural and primitive way than those who buy their food from supermarkets. Inasmuch as the Muslim world has rewarded the killing of Non-Muslim infidels for well over a millennium, with murdering of family also rewarded under the “honor” driven Sharia culture, I’d like to hear about how your tiny caravan is protected. Even more, I’d like to hear what your contact with these people reveals about their nature and culture—as distinct from what I can glean from the descriptions you provide. (You look into their eyes in a way that we who sit in easy chairs cannot.)

    • Paul Salopek
      December 2, 2013

      I don’t believe pastoral peoples are any more natural than urbanites, Ebe. We each have the same muscles—literally and metaphysically. It’s simply our choice to use them or not.

      The ordinary Saudis I’ve met have been surpassingly generous. In my experience, this is typical of people who inhabit lean environments such as deserts. Generosity is also part of the Muslim code: kindness to strangers, particularly rahalla, or travelers, is ritually observed, and I have been a frequent beneficiary. There are zealots in every society, of course. They monopolize the media spotlight. (Not without reason.) In my own mundane experience, though, I met two Bedouin gentlemen who complained, angrily, about my camels frightening their herds. (They were right.) But at least a hundred more have walked out of their homes to invite me in for a meal. Alas, it was impossible for me to accept all these offers.

  51. ralph g
    November 27, 2013

    Read u in NYT. Alas, ‘car brain’, the dehumanizing effect of viewing the world thru a windshield. I bike tour & run, and enjoy the slower mode of travel, including the smells. The real benefit is the ability to interact w those nearby, and to be approachable to others. I’m glad u r experiencing this in rich doses. I wish I had the patience to just walk.

  52. Reginald Williams
    November 27, 2013

    Just now embarking upon the second sixty years of my life and planning my own month long excursion into Ethiopia, your notes from the beginnings of your walk are inspiring, much as those of Ed Stafford “Walking the Amazon” also inspire and encourage me. Your work, the photos, the poetry and science of your writing, and the energy you have devoted to your preparations all provide good for thought as I consider my future plans. I’ll be following you and rooting for you all the way. How often will you get to see your wife/family?

    • Paul Salopek
      December 2, 2013

      Family visits will vary with the human and physical topography, Reginald. Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. The mountains look like the egg tempura backdrops of renaissance paintings. Enjoy.

  53. Andy W.
    November 27, 2013

    This project is so elemental. And so intimate. Thank you. It’s enough to make me want to live to see you through. Good speed.

  54. Scott l. Rolston
    November 27, 2013

    This is a fine and epic thing to do. I was wondering when T.E. Was going to show up. Looks like you have 2 dthaluls and no bulls. Good choice. Do you have a copy of Doughty’s Arabia Deserta with you? That is the best travel book ever written, especially if you read it aloud to yourself. His would be the trail to follow back up the old Haj road, and do stop off at Lejun, east of
    Karak, and say hello for me to old Ahmad Ma’aita, the sheikh who sits astride the old Roman well and legion post there. Tom Parker, who directed the excavations there, has published a report on the old
    Roman-Arab frontier thereabouts.

    • Paul Salopek
      December 2, 2013

      Doughty is meant to be read aloud—on an opera stage. Great tip about Lejun, Scott. I’ll dig into Dr. Parker’s work. The historical frontiers get pretty thick hereabouts. So don’t hesitate to send further suggestions to info@outofedenwalk.com.

      Shukran.

  55. Els
    November 28, 2013

    Absolutely LOVE “being” on your journey as well as your story telling.

  56. Joe Heitzenrater
    November 28, 2013

    Wow! What an amazing tale! I recently came across your work and am truly fascinated. How did you get involved in these kind of projects? It really stirs something deep inside me and reminds me of the days I spent in the middle east. I look forward to reading more about your journey!

  57. Bi Veronica
    November 28, 2013

    So fascinating reading about your adventure Paul. I love your courage and optimism, and by the end of it all you must have made big news and history for everyone to gain from. Then comes the question, ”Who are the bravest men on earth?” I will say, ”The adventurers”. COURAGE!!!

  58. henry lorber
    November 28, 2013

    My wife and I spend almost every Sunday walking our hometown (Atlanta, Ga.). It is amazing what you see when you walk rather than when you are in a car.
    12-15 mile walks allow a great deal of time to be both interactive and introspective.
    Your “trek” has caught the imagination of many.
    We will be following you- good luck.

  59. Judy Brown
    November 28, 2013

    Just read NatGeo article and am “hooked”. What thoughts come when viewing a clear night desert sky? Safe travels!

  60. Jacqueline Tommasini
    November 29, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your adventure and soul with us. I wish you continued good health and strength of spirit in your quest. I, too, will be following you all the way and believe that you, like the pied piper of Hamlin had, will be accompanied by millions of souls in your awesome trek. God speed friend!

  61. phil comeau
    November 29, 2013

    I’m a world history teacher in Lowell, MA – proud of you. My students will be inspired. Are you religious? Take care.

    • Paul Salopek
      December 2, 2013

      Free teaching resources are available at the walk’s education hub, Phil. Thanks for your enthusiasm.

  62. Matt Butcher
    November 29, 2013

    Fascinating. I finally read your article in Nat Geo in a doctor’s office and am mesmerized. Thank you for documenting this.

  63. Ann Farnell
    November 30, 2013

    Great reading. I’m wondering what you do when/if your feet/legs/back/hips/knees get sore?

    • Paul Salopek
      December 2, 2013

      I’m asking myself the same question, Ann. But I think I’ll forgo the fire cure.

  64. David Uerkvitz
    December 1, 2013

    I admire and envy you! My ancestors were the first people to ride horses, 4th millennium B.C. I’m writing novels about them. Wish I could send you a horse, but you’re centuries ahead of me!

    • Paul Salopek
      January 15, 2014

      Or millennia behind. I’m still riding Shanks’s pony. Thanks, David.

  65. Hal Gentry
    December 1, 2013

    First the dream, then the reality, then the amalgamation through lyrical prose

    The dream, the reality, the prose. Remarkable! Thank you.

  66. Joyce Shepherd
    December 3, 2013

    What an incredible adventure. You have great courage and a perhaps a bit of crazy too! Truth be told I’m envious and wish with all my heart I had the nerve and resources to do the same. Just discovered your story in the Washington Post yesterday…I will be sharing you post with my nine year old grandson who is a delightful adventurous boy. The pictures and dispactches are terrific. “Walk Good, Mon!”

  67. Kristina
    December 3, 2013

    May good luck follow you on your epic trail, and thank you.

  68. Nita Gupta
    December 3, 2013

    What a wonderful journey ! What a wonderful experience! Wish my young daughter reads your posts. Inspiring and thought provoking I admire your insights into the life all human life. Good luck with your incredible travel.Thanks for sharing your experience.

  69. Dane from EA(Elgin Academy)
    December 4, 2013

    I go to EA (Elgin Academy) you mite of got a comment from EA 5th grade I am in that class and we will be on the Google Hangout that’s right all the 5th grade will be there and wish you luck. from Dane

  70. Carol Brown
    December 8, 2013

    Your amazing journey has opened my eyes and brain to so many new to places and people to study. What a fun journey this has become for me to follow you. Take care and stay well.

  71. Steve Sayre
    December 9, 2013

    Major undertaking Paul. I will start following your journey. I started to tour on bicycle a couple years ago. State side treks so far. I love living on the road. Later Steve

  72. HikerBob
    December 16, 2013

    Peter O’Toole just passed away, he who played Lawrence of Arabia to perfection in the movie of the same name.

  73. David Lozano
    January 1, 2014

    I wan to go with you, tell me if there is any possibility of meeting at some point in your trip.
    Tanks David

  74. roberto moura
    January 5, 2014

    fantastic trip and great writing.
    whta will be your route in south america?

  75. roberto moura
    January 5, 2014

    fantastic trip and great writing.
    what will be your route in south america?

    • Paul Salopek
      January 15, 2014

      It’s too far ahead to plan in detail, Roberto. Generally, though, it will include a stop in Peru’s rainforest and a ramble down the Andean spine in the Southern Cone.

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