Although Salopek’s journey might seem like a crazed plan, the highly experienced and well-traveled writer said he did not feel intimidated. During his time working for the Chicago Tribune and National Geographic, Salopek has journeyed all over the world, won two Pulitzer prizes and earned a reputation for immersive, epic reporting.
He once traveled more than 2,000km by mule across Mexico for a story and, while working in Sudan, was arrested as a suspected spy. Elsewhere, he has canoed through Congo and even worked as a commercial fisherman in New England.
“I have moved around my whole life. I am very good at moving through different cultural membranes and I feel that I have been unconsciously preparing for this for many years,” he said.