Forget everything you’ve ever heard, thought, read, seen or assumed about Iran. That means everything. The media, the newspapers, the appalled discussions with friends. Erase any idea you have of this dangerous place, filled with crazed fundamentalists, squashed between Iraq and Afghanistan. Have you emptied your mind?
Right. Let’s start again.
Imagine a place, lets call it Nari, filled with bustling cities, ancient sites, mountains, seas and deserts. A place where people will welcome you with curious enthusiasm. A place where the locals will invite you to talk, engage you in in-depth discussions of family, culture, believe or politics. A place where you won’t feel threatened, unsafe or ripped off. Imagine a place that felt undiscovered and exotic.
Would you want to visit? Or course you would.
Now, imagine that place was Iran. Would you still want to go? Of course you would. But leave those memories, assumptions and judgement at home. Come with an open mind and an open heart and you’ll be rewarded with lifelong memories of friendly people and an exotic discovery that can’t be matched.
Well, that’s how I feel anyway. And I’ve only just arrived.