Imagine the memory of traveling to one particular destination! Each person’s memory of that place highlights various aspects of that destination. Each year, thousands of travelers go to Iran, although they’ve heard about all the dangers that might be there waiting for them. Yet, they choose not to trust the media and find out everything about this country’s mysteries themselves.
The first hours you spend in your destination might be crucial, and it sounds more interesting as you get to see that different people got different impressions from those first hours. As you’re racking your brains to feel sure you’re on the right track, colors might run into your black and white image of reality. As you see everyone smiling, you feel the tranquility injected into your veins, just how it did to Craig and Aimee while they visited Iran on a Mongol Rally:
The best moment was probably when we first entered Iran in our car. Everyone on the street and in other cars were waving at us. Shouting hello. One woman even made a ‘Welcome to Iran’ sign out of paper so when they drove passed us, she put it in the windows. It was fantastic. We felt so welcome. Plus our guide Rashed was the funniest man ever. He made our trip to Iran amazing.From Craig and Aimee at Kinging-It
Still, you know that trouble might follow you anywhere. Peter had traveled to Iran to step beyond the political barriers and hear the voice of the Iranian people and echo their voice to the whole world. Unfortunately, his phone was stolen during the third day of his stay. But, as he said in his vlog, he was even more eager “to show the cool human element of this place.
The best moments of my journey were meeting up with cool locals.From Peter Santenello
Sometimes, the enchantment of the journey turns the trouble into a blessing; and suddenly, the moment of anxiety and terror turn into your best memory. Theo believes that nowhere else on earth he would recount the following memory as the best moment of his trip!
The best moment on my trip to Iran happened at the arrival time when I forgot my passport inside the airplane and I just met a random person on my way to the customs and told him that I lost my passport, this guy, without knowing me spent 4h or his day helping me to find my passport and talked to the police, I thought he wants some money or something but no, he even gave me money and helped me with everything… from the first day of my trip I found how friendly Iranian people are and helpful, in any other country in the world probably the person won’t have time or want something from me instead.From Theo Santana
As soon as the troubles drift away, you may find the chance to experience and feel life as it is at your destination. For some people, the story of their journey embodies what history has to reveal through its traces and heritages. On their one-day trip to Shiraz, Florian and his friend were spellbound by the details of such a great Empire engraved on big heavy stones:
Persepolis and the tombs hewn into the rock, both were exceptionally well preserved and I particularly remember a stone relief at Persepolis showing different groups of people; and according to our guide one can tell where each depicted group is supposed to be from by the different shapes of their hats, it was so detailed!From Florian Kriechbaumer
The reputation of such history and grandeur made Iran the second choice of a couple who have embarked on a journey around the world. Karin and Patrick were absorbed in Islamic Architecture throughout their travel:
Robert also had a similar experience in Isfahan enjoying the picturesque magnificence of Imam square. A guide must accompany the US or UK travelers in Iran, and it might be hard sometimes, especially for solo travelers who like to stroll alone in different lanes and follow their interests. Sometimes, you want to go on with no plan and discover things as you’re on your own; just as Robert did:
“My best moment from my Iran trip was slightly naughty. As an American, I am theoretically supposed to be with a guide at all times. Early one morning in Isfahan, however, I wandered out on my own, and wandered through Imam Square right as the sun was rising. I got amazing photos, and also had an outstanding coffee afterwards. My guide was angry when she found out, but the experience was lovely. I hope one day my country can achieve peace with Iran, so that Americans and Iranians can freely explore one another’s beautiful countries!”From Robert Schrader at Leave Your Daily Hell
Imagine yourself in Robert’s shoes, what would be the most memorable moment for you in Isfahan? You can take the same trip and explore Naqsh-e Jahan Square with your own feet and for that, you just have to join us in our half-day walking experience of Isfahan.
On the other hand, we see people for whom the historical treasures are alluring, but they are more than that charmed by the stories of people and their friendliness. You might think: I wish I had some Iranian friends to meet them and stay with them for a few days. But if that’s what you want, it will come true as soon as you go to Iran. Alex’s experience in Iran tells us that making new friends in this country is much easier than you think:
One of my favorite moments while traveling in Iran happened in Isfahan. I was traveling with a Dutch friend, and we ran into an Iranian carpet salesman who spoke Dutch thanks to his wife. He was delighted to find two travelers who could speak his language, and he insisted on taking us all around the city. We had tea in his apartment among piles of exquisite carpets, he treated us to all kinds of foods I’d not tried on the street, introduced us to different people. But my favorite moment was when he took us to the roof of Isfahan’s grand bazaar. To sit atop the domed bazaar looking down on such a majestic square, surrounded by some of the most impressive buildings in the country… just wow.From Alex Reynolds at Lost With Purpose
In your first days, while visiting Iran, you’d make friends, and many of them will invite you to their houses. And as you go on in your journey like Kamila, things might happen that you didn’t expect. Things that will magically expand that very precious moment for you; whether it be a simple acquaintance that touches the deep of your heart or sharing your time with people you don’t know, but you feel bonded with:
All the best moments of my trip to Iran are connected with amazing local people. Before my trip, I knew that Iranians are very welcoming and hospitable but it’s different to hear it and then actually experience it. There were so many precious small encounters that are still very vivid in my memory but one, in particular, got stuck in my head. I was going by night bus from Tehran to Shiraz and early in the morning when there was only me and two more passengers (mother and a teenage daughter) the driver woke us up. It turned out we were passing by his village and he decided to invite us all for breakfast at his house. It was such a nice thing to do and even if we had a bit of a language barrier we managed to communicate with the help of hands and a dictionary. Something like this has never happened to me before and after during my travels.From Kamila Napora
Part of visiting and knowing a place is revealed through the words of locals. Imagine if there was no barrier and you could speak with the locals, understand them, and grasp their ideas. How nice that would be to hear their knowledge of their history, habits, and everyday practice of culture through debates and discussions with them. David says that such discussions with Iranians can be delightful:
My favorite travel moment in Iran was driving on a Salt Lake. We didn’t see anybody, it was quiet, it was serene. We didn’t even know if we were supposed to be there. But it was great. But more impressive than the country, are its people. The Iranians are so friendly, so interested in where you are from and your experiences. Meeting friends or making new friends, having an interesting discussion is so easy in Iran. There are so many smart kids, you’re bound to have a great discussion anywhere about anything.From David Bakker
Besides such discussions, you definitely know that the best way to get familiar with culture comes through your chance to experience the lifestyle. The taste of the Iranian lifestyle while you explore the city, spend the day, and eat with them would create marvelous moments in your memory, as it did so for Patricia and Bruno:
“Thanks to Iranian homestays, we got the opportunity to experience the country through the eyes of the local residents. In Yazd, our host took us on a savory exploration, discovering and enjoying new food at every meal. In Shiraz, we had hours-long discussions, sharing, and learning from each other’s culture. Regardless of the city we traveled to, or the monuments or mosques we visited, Iranians made us feel welcome, and we enjoyed our two-month stay thoroughly.”From Patricia and Bruno at Ze Wandering Frogs
The people and their hospitality are the miracles that you will find on the road to your destination. Such blessings shine through the eyes of travelers like Jacki and fill their heart with sincere love and affection for the local people:
My best experiences were interacting with locals. We didn’t get to do this as much as we were rushed visiting all the marvelous sites that Iran has to offer. But would have loved to spend more time in people’s homes with authentic interactions. I loved stopping by a tomato farm for half-hour on our way from Shiraz to Yazd. We pulled off the side of the freeway as our tour guide wanted to have some tea/coffee which he set up from his trunk. Kach, the fellow travel blogger and I, spotted the farmworkers a short distance and ran over. They seemed very happy to have visitors, especially foreign visitors. Most couldn’t speak English but they would show us the tomatoes they were harvesting, we took photos with them, exchanged smiles, and our photographer Farshid translated for us as they asked where we came from. Other interactions like this were also just as memorable: the young boy I met playing soccer at Jame e Atigh Mosque in Qazvin, who I also had some translations with talking and filming. The elderly woman I met while buying fruits in a small town we passed through from Qazvin to Rasht who welcomed me to her country despite our country’s conflicts. It always broke the ice even faster and created more laughter when I told them how much all my friends and I hated Trump too.From Jacki Ueng at Bohemian Vagabond
As you find friends and meet new people in Iran, you’ll receive many invitations to stay with them in their houses. Iranians are fond of hosting and inviting guests. It’s part of their culture and has rooted in their nature to hold family gatherings to share all they have with their friends and family. For these people, such gatherings are not held only to share food, but it’s about sharing love, intimacy, and joy. Let us hear Sankara as he tells us his story of such gatherings:
Being invited to an Iranian home and living, eating and partying with them for 4 days has to be the best moment of my trip to Iran. I got to see their penchant for poetry, their love for art, their obsession with tea, their super friendliness and most of all I saw how they wanted to be one with the world.From Sankara at Be On The Road
Similarly, Ines tells us about her experience of staying with local families:
The best moment of my trip was being hosted by the loveliest family ever. They were incredibly kind and hospitable and showed us the best of Shiraz. I will be forever thankful.From Ines Amaral at Mudancas Constantes
A memory might include only 10 seconds, or it might linger to two hours, or even more, maybe a whole day. But, the very existence of that memory rests on a single moment, giving meaning to it or making it stick to the mind. That moment can be marked or simply noticed as you sense a rush of feelings coming to the heart. Telling a story is like re-living that moment, and what makes it very unique is the personal perspective that the experiencer has figured to form, shape, and color that particular memory in his mind.
The people, history, culture, art, or the incidents, whatever it is, you’ll decide what distinguishes your journey to a destination like Iran. What’s important is that to believe in good and its existence everywhere and trust Iran and its kind people. Eventually, one thing remains. That is the moment you are granted to rekindle the memory of your journey; a memory that is not repeated ever again and has and will always remain with you.