Stewart said he was tempted to carry a weapon on his long journey in Nepal or Afghanistan — he chronicles in his book how he was shot at — but in the end he was pleased he didn't because he believes talking and politeness can solve most any problem.
Salopek says "you make yourself vulnerable when you're on foot," but that he won't carry a gun. He has security procedures in place that he can't share, he said. He knows he may have problems at some borders — Iran, for instance — but plans to solve problems when they crop up, relying heavily on "adaptation and serendipity" just as our ancestors did.
The first part of the journey will take Salopek across the Ethiopian desert, so while he was still at home earlier this month he sent a money order from a Texas Walmart to the tiny East African nation of Djibouti to buy a camel that will help him carry water.
Carrying little more than a backpack with a lightweight Apple laptop, a satellite phone and camping gear, Salopek plans to send occasional updates via Twitter. On Jan. 2 he posted a picture on Twitter of the keys to his house in Texas and wondered if he should pack them. He has decided not to tell.
"Maybe I should keep that as a secret," he said over the crackly satellite phone connection. "Let's just say that only I know what's in my pocket."
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