Mother of All Roadtrips XI: Herati Hookahs and Heady History

In a class by itself as historical crossroads go, within Herat’s crumbling walls and precincts hangs a brocade of culture with few equals in the world.  Where else might you find cheek by jowl a citadel of Alexander the Macedonian, records of Nestorian evangelists, tombs of Timur’s martial descendants, traces of Persian poets and philosophers, … More Mother of All Roadtrips XI: Herati Hookahs and Heady History

The Mother Of All Road Trips (II): A Schoolboy Fantasy

Almost all epic travels begin in innocence.  The prospective miseries, perils and vagaries of a journey are dwarfed by promise: of discovery, breathless tales, companionship, of besting challenges.  So it was that four school-leavers from an Indian boarding school began dreaming of a Eurasian crossing in the winter of 1965. Our imaginations were aflame with … More The Mother Of All Road Trips (II): A Schoolboy Fantasy

The Mother of All Road Trips: Beyond Route 66 (I)

Got a fantasy road trip squirreled away in the imagination?  Tiptoeing the spine of the Rockies? Tracing the shores of the Great Lakes?  Driving US Route 1 the length of the Eastern Seaboard?  The fantasy jaunt of the American soul would have to be a ramble down U.S. Route 66 – in a tail-finned convertible … More The Mother of All Road Trips: Beyond Route 66 (I)

Traipser Rule of Thumb: One Soul Salutes Another

You cannot embark on any daily traipse for more than a few steps before engaging in a universal social ritual: the act of greeting.  Customary though it be, this practice, full of possibility, possesses enormous significance whether in encounter with neighbor, stranger or even stray dog.  Echoing the Hippocratic oath, the rule of thumb for … More Traipser Rule of Thumb: One Soul Salutes Another

Temples to Tea, Shrines for the Traveler

Camelia sinensis: the wind beneath the traveler’s wings.  ‘Cha’, ‘sah’, ‘chay’. Known to the West as ‘tea’.  Across Asia and now the planet, this infusion of legend and mystery is on offer, be it in the exquisite tea houses of Kyoto and Dushanbe or in the humblest roadside shelters.  Whatever its shrine, tea commands a … More Temples to Tea, Shrines for the Traveler