The scope of our honeymoon grew daily as wedding preparations shrank accordingly. Instead of an extravagant one-day event which would blow all our savings, we would take a life-changing journey—which, um, would blow all our savings, but would last a lot longer. Sixteen months, to be exact.
We began our trip in Pakistan to explore the legacy of Sutay's great-grandfather, Dr. Ralph Stewart, a botanist from New York who spent half his life exploring the flora of Kashmir and the Hindu Kush. We hiked the Karakorum (the highest I've ever been). We continued east to India where we found glass in the rice, a cockroach in my wife's
mouth, and a silence beneath the tree
of enlightenment. We spent three months working among tea pickers in Birpara, conducting a malnutrition survey and getting our palms read. In West Africa, village chiefs blessed
our unborn children and offered fertility
rites of slaughtered goats, Arabic prayers, and sacred crocodiles. It was a hell of a trip.
For nearly half our trip, during scattered multi-month assignments,
we worked with American
Jewish World Service, a phenomenal New
international development organization. Their Volunteer Corps program places Jewish professionals (and
non-Jewish spouses) with grassroots organizations around the world.
I'm shaping it all into one tale, a travel memoir with the above working title. Please stay tuned and watch for book news on my blog and fan page.