The Great American Pilgrimage
If public geography can be defined as the engagement of a wider audience, or public, with ideas and concepts of spatial or geographical thinking than this project has been, and is, just that. The Great American Pilgrimage has brought the cultural and historical geographies of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail to a variety of sites and spaces through photography, talks, and interactive dialogues. The goal has been to discuss an American cultural landscape (broadly speaking) not readily seen through the lenses of tourist or media-filtered gazes. As the audiences have been mostly European, cultural exchange has been at the core of this project. We want to challenge participants to consider their own geographical imaginations of the United States. From June 30 to November 30, 2013, together with Sonia Ibáñez of Madrid, I walked the entire length (3,500 km) of the Appalachian Trail, a footpath that stretches from Maine to Georgia and straddles the ridgeline of the world’s oldest mountains. We documented this “cultural pilgrimage” through word, audio and image and want to share this other side of America that we found at 5 kilometers an hour. To date, our presentations have taken place in Spain, Austria, Poland and Switzerland at a couple of hiking clubs, a popular mountaineering bookstore, an environmental education center, a museum, a café, a garage, and a cultural center. Please check out the Exhibitions, Presentations, Press and Publications tabs for more information. Contact us to share your ideas and comments or to discuss the possibility of a talk or presentation for your group or organization.