Istanbul Story: Up In (Hookah) Smoke

“Just suck and blow, you know how to do that right?” Vicky cackled, passing me the hookah hose. As white smoke filled the milky base, my head filled up with sleek and sexy images of desert sheikhs and curious caterpillars, puffing on long slender pipes, exhaling delicate, swirling plumes. Self-consciously raising the plastic mouthpiece to Read More …

Istanbul Story: Coworkers & Conquerors

Vicky and I didn’t always see eye to eye. But as we piled into a passenger van from Ataturk Airport, we were swept up in giddy excitement, enchanted by swirling Turkish pop melodies blasting from the radio. This was Istanbul—where East meets West. Here my coworker and I—like the Christians and Muslims, conquerors and traders that have passed through Istanbul itself Read More …

Liftoff to Central Asia

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Backpacking in Central Asia

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.   Hushed voices and muffled footsteps seemed to boom through Dulles Airport on Sunday night. Despite the late hour, I was wide awake. I was finally leaving on a one-month trip through Central Asia.  Choosing the destination was easy. I wanted to go Read More …