Frequently Asked Questions

Who are you?

I am a 35 year-old American lawyer living in Delhi.  I have traveled to many parts of the world, including especially the Muslim world, in the last five years. My husband Derek is a photographer.  We spent most of our adult years in New York.

Why are you so far behind on your blog?

To put together even reasonably thoughtful posts, with appropriate photographs, takes a bit of time. We keep a fairly aggressive schedule during our travels, and back home my day job keeps me pretty busy. I set as the “posting date” of a post the date on which I had the related experience, which is quite a bit of time before the actual date on which I finish and post the blog entry.

Why the Muslim world?

The Muslim world really opened up for us on a trip we took in 2005 around the Indian Ocean, from Madagascar to Zanzibar to Oman to Sri Lanka. Just as the North Atlantic–from the U.S. and Canada to Britain and Western Europe–forms a sort of community, embodied by NATO, and the Pacific–from California to Vancouver to Japan to China–is connected by important cultural and economic ties, the areas around the Indian Ocean form a community, from the Arab-African Swahili culture of the East African coast to Oman and its nineteenth century empire to the Indian workers of the Gulf to the Muslim Indians of the Malabar coast. It is a vast, multicultural and increasingly wealthy part of the world that feels at times as large and potentially significant as the communities formed by the other two great oceans of the world. And it is a world tied together, in part, by Islam (in addition to ancient trade routes, conquests and cultural exchanges).

The Muslim world is important not only because of recent events, such as the great wealth generated by oil revenues and the disruptions caused by the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but because it encompasses a very significant percentage of the world, both in land mass and population, and contains many of the world’s most accomplished (and romanticized) civilizations and cultures. It being all too easy to see the Muslim or Arab worlds as a monolith, a preconceived caricature of mullahs and sheikhs, I felt that it was a part of the world that I–and all of the west (and the far east)–needed to better understand.

How do pay for your travels?

We pay for our travels with a combination of savings from my work and Derek’s photography income. We are fortunate that we can afford to travel for so long, but the truth is that long-term travel need not cost that much–if you think about it, it may be within your reach as well!

What other projects are you pursuing?

For now, we are fairly busy with our regular jobs, but Derek has held a number of exhibits, and we are certainly open to doing more.

Are the pictures on the blog available for sale?

Yes. Please let me know what the proposed usage is by email to paulstravelblog@mac.com, and I can get you a quote.

4 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Love this blog. Am fascinated with South Asia (have taught, briefly, in Tamil Nadu and spent time in Kolkata and Delhi; also taught in Nepal and traveled, very happily, in Bangladesh) and LOVE train travel. Worked in Myanmar last year for 10 weeks and am not thinking of visiting Pakistan. You really bring this part of the world to life and I look forward to reading more (and seeing your photographs). (Perhaps the best day of my life was spent on a train from Bangalore to Delhi…36 hours of bliss). Jim

  2. Hey, I love looking at your blog. I am an American currently living in Bulgaria and am interested in visiting the Silk Road countries. I wonder how long you were in Turkmenistan and how you applied for permission to go there. I am also interested in visiting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Do you have any tips on how (and when) to get there? Thanks.

    Best,
    Adam

  3. Many thanks for your blogs about the knight Hall in Tartous , i wounder if you have some old photo to see how it was before the mass new building in the surrounding area.

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