Last year, in June 2013, Lee Moore and Galen Burke were one of the top five contestants who were chosen to compete for an adventure grant for $10,000, meant to give one of the groups a chance to complete the outdoor adventure of a lifetime. After a competitive social media campaign, Galen and Lee won.
Now, Galen and Lee are going to complete the project that they pitched to Outside Magazine, hitchhiking the Chinese portion of the ancient Silk Road. They will begin their trip in early June, traveling to Xi’an, the imperial capital of dynastic China and the terminus of the Silk Road. From Xi’an, they will hitchhike along the Silk Road all the way to Kashgar, the last city in China before entering the ‘Stans.’ Overall, their journey should take them approximately 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) from the loess plateaus of central China, through the Gansu corridor, past the Gobi Desert, across the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert, along the north side of the Tianshan mountains and finally to the edge of Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
During their journey, they will stop along the way, exploring the National Parks scattered along the Silk Road. This will include a variety of outdoor experiences from climbing to the top of Mount Hua, in a developed park just outside of Xi’an to hiking in the isolated Sayram Lake National Park, sitting on China’s border with Kazakhstan.
Lee and Galen seek to find out what the Chinese think about their outdoor experiences. They believe that, with China’s rapid growth in recent years, the Chinese concept of the outdoors will soon become something that is important to understand to those outside of China. They want to know not only what the outdoors are like in China, but also how the Chinese people interact with their outdoors.
After they complete their project, they plan on exiting China, possibly exploring more of the rest of the Silk Road, and then returning to the U.S. to pursue several projects based on what they have seen and documented in China. You can watch them as the hitchhike the Silk Road on their blog:
Lee is a long-time sinologist, having lived in China for over two years, studying and working in Beijing, Kunming, Nanjing and Qingdao. Lee is beginning a Ph.D. program in Chinese Literature at the University of Oregon after finishing the hitchhiking project.
Galen is a professional photographer and videographer, with a strong interest in dance and international issues.
Both are University of Georgia graduates, having been friends since the first week of their freshman year at UGA when they lived just down the hall in the same dorm.
If you want to contact us, shoot us an email at:
silkroadhitchhikers – at – gmail.com
Finally, our Press Release as a PDF: