For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a restless soul. When I was 5-years-old, I ran away from home, determined to find what wonders awaited me around the corner. I’ve been looking ever since.
I always wanted to be a foreign correspondent. So I could hardly believe my good fortune when, one day in 1993, NPR dispatched me to India as the network’s first full-time correspondent in that country. I spent two of the best years of his life based in New Delhi, covering everything from an outbreak of bubonic plague to India’s economic reforms, before moving on to other postings in Jerusalem and Tokyo. Over the years, I reported from more than 30 countries, everywhere from Algeria to the Indonesia.
Typically, foreign correspondents like myself travel to the world’s least happy countries (think Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) and seek out the least happy people there (refugees, war orphans). On one level, this is important, rewarding work. It can also be a real bummer. So I decided to write a book in which I sought out the world’s unheralded happy places. Countries that, in their own way, are busy pursuing that most American of pursuits: happiness. The result is "The Geography of Bliss," a New York Times Bestseller that has been translated into 18 languages.
In my latest book, "Man Seeks God," I continue searching, but this time for a taste of the divine. To this end, I travel to Kathmandu and Istanbul — and even Vegas — where I experience first-hand the varieties of religious experience.
I do a lot of other writing. My commentary and essays appear in the Los Angeles Times, Slate and The New Republic, among other publications. I write regularly for a wonderful new travel magazine called AFAR.
I also served as a correspondent for NPR in New York, Miami and Washington, D.C. and was part of a team of NPR reporters that won a Peabody award for a series of investigative reports about the US tobacco industry. I attended the University of Maryland and was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 2003. I’m also a former reporter for The New York Times.
When not writing, or thinking about writing, I am an avid cyclist and tennis player and consumer of sushi (Tekka maki, in particular). I’ve settled, quasi-happily, in the Washington, DC area, where I live with my wife and daughter, as well as our two rambunctious cats.