A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.
National Geographic Fellow John Francis was in his twenties when a 1971 oil spill in San Francisco Bay jarred his comfortable life. Even as he joined the volunteers who scrubbed the beaches and fought to save birds and sea creatures poisoned by petroleum, he felt the need to make a deeper, more personal commitment. As an affirmation of his responsibility to our planet, he chose to stop using motorized vehicles and began walking wherever he went. His decision was greeted with surprise, disbelief, and even mockery—but it was only the start of a much deeper transformation. A few months later he took a vow of silence that would last 17 years.
In 2008, National Geographic published Francis’s stirring memoir Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking, 17 Years of Silence. It is the story of a man who rediscovered rhythms in nature that most of us have forgotten and learned to communicate his understanding and empathy without speaking a word. He walked across the Pacific Northwest, crossed the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, and traversed America from coast to coast. Along the way—and without a word—he earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in science and environmental studies and a Ph.D. in land resources. He then voyaged across the Caribbean to South America and spent years walking its length to the southernmost tip of Patagonia.
In an effort to share his insights with others, Francis founded “Planetwalk,” a non-profit educational organization dedicated to raising environmental consciousness and promoting Earth stewardship. In 2010, Francis became the first National Geographic Education Fellow.
Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer Jay Dickman has worked in photojournalism for more than 35 years, covering topics as diverse as the war in El Salvador, the Olympics, national political conventions, six Super Bowls, and the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Among his more than 25 assignments for the National Geographic Society, Jay has lived for three months in a Stone Age village in Papua New Guinea and spent a week under the Arctic ice in a nuclear attack sub. A popular photo instructor and expedition leader, he has also published five books and numerous articles for National Geographic Traveler, LIFE, Condé Nast Traveler, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Forbes.