This is not a story. It’s a call to action: buy a $10 ticket, get a chance to win some awesome prizes, and help out a few communities in Zambia.
Over the last few of years, Passports with Purpose (PwP) has built schools in Cambodia and village houses in India. This year, PwP is headed to a new continent with a new mission: to build libraries and raise literacy in Zambia with Room to Read.
Get books into the hands of village kids like this in sub-saharan Africa.
And we’d like your help to make it happen. Don’t worry, getting involved with PwP, helping to build a library and putting books in kids’ hands halfway around the world is easier than you think. It’s kind of fun even. Continue Reading »
This is a story of a woman I met on a train in Iran and a letter she wrote to me — a letter I now read through tears.
My heart sank as I watched the news from Iran this morning, scenes of the British Embassy being charged by an angry mob in Tehran. It saddens me – angers me, really – that narrow groups like this who define the world’s perception of Iran and the Iranian people are in reality such a small percentage of the country’s population.
My experience tells me they are the outliers, yet circumstances conspire to convince us on the outside to see them as the norm. Continue Reading »
Although Persepolis is one of Iran’s top archeological and tourist sites, I was careful to keep my expectations in check before visiting. After all, what would remain of the 2,500 year-old capital of the Achaemenid Empire? Amidst crumbled columns, I found great detail that blew me away and a surprising connection to the present.
When I first entered Persepolis through the Gate of All Nations, I was struck by the scale of it all – the statues, the columns, the great stone. I tried to imagine the process of transporting the raw materials to this place, constructing the city and palace, and fashioning it all without the mechanical means we have today.
The Gate of All Nations.
But more than this, I was struck by Persepolis’ detailed carvings and the stories they told. In them, I felt like I really began to understand the greatness of ancient Persia.
And I also got the sense that ancient Persians were onto something in pursuit of an ideal that still eludes us today. Continue Reading »
It’s a long road home.
Over the course of five days last weekend, we made our way from Iran to Turkey to Germany to the United States by two trains, a boat, two planes and a car — arriving home in time to spend Thanksgiving with family.
And for this, we are thankful. Continue Reading »
This is a very short story about music. In Iran.
I dont know that I’ve ever been so happy — or oddly surprised — to hear Stevie Wonder in my entire life.
I should explain. Continue Reading »
There’s nothing like early morning light falling through a stained-glass window…casting designs on a Persian carpet…amidst immaculately tiled pink columns.
This is the winter prayer hall inside the Pink Mosque in Shiraz, Iran. Continue Reading »
We apologize for the silence on our blog over the last week. Our travels across Iran, while rich and deeply fulfilling, have teamed up with slow and censored internet, a blistering pace of full days that end late, and an attempt to process it all that feels like a slow drip.
A table of women in Kermanshah invite Dan to share their qalyan (water pipe).
Now that we’ve dispensed with the excuses, we offer a few snapshots of our journey to not-so-traveled Western Iran where our path through the country begins. Continue Reading »
Persia’s Qajar dynasty kings knew how to have a good time. (Some may argue that they did so at the expense of their subjects and their country, but that’s another matter entirely.)
For now, a visual. Take a peek inside the lavishly tiled and ornate Khalvat-e-karimkhani room at Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran. Imagine Qajar dynasty kings from 200 years ago relaxing with a water pipe in this cool outdoor lounge and waiting to greet their subjects from their marble throne.
As you open the panorama below, be sure to use the up arrow to gaze at the ceiling! Continue Reading »
What does it feel like to fly into Iran, to enter the country for the first time? Here’s the story of our flight to Tehran including some things you might expect, and some others you might not.
Destination: TEHRAN. I ogle my boarding pass at the departure gate in Istanbul. We bought the tickets months before, all easy enough. So easy in fact that we wondered if the day of our flight would actually ever come; a rejected visa application snatching it all away in a breath.
But our Iranian visas were approved and there we were waiting to board a plane — our plane — to Tehran. Continue Reading »