Alone in Iran – What Was I Thinking?

I have never had people express so many opinions about my travels as when I decided to backpack through Iran for two weeks. Everyone seemed to have something to say about it, with responses ranging from “That is amazing, I would totally join you if I didn’t have a U.S. passport,” to “You’re going there alone? What sort of death wish do you have?” and the blunt words of my extremely well-traveled great uncle, “Iran is not a nice place, go to Greece instead.”

A friend of a friend even wrote a Facebook note (people still write those?) about my plans, saying that I was either incredibly brave, or incredibly naive and ignorant. In the end he applauded my willingness to put myself in harm’s way in order to experience a place with real sexism, which he took to be some sort of feminist statement about being a woman in America.

What?! Sorry to disappoint, but really I just wanted to see Persia.

I mean, Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, hosts thirteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and boasts beautiful landscapes stretching from dense rain forests to snowcapped mountains to desert basins. Plus, so many travelers whom I met in Central Asia absolutely raved about Iran. The hospitable people, delicious food and historic sites – how could I not add Iran to my travel itinerary?

So, was coming here a good decision?

I’ve now been in Iran for a week and a half and, like most places, it’s not exactly what I had imagined. I’m writing this from my new friend Mina’s apartment, where we’re huddled together with hot mugs of tea listening to loud explosions coming from the street. Every few minutes a particularly large explosion will light up the apartment and we’ll look at each other with a mixture of fear and awe.

You guys, it’s the Persian New Year! As part of the New Year’s celebrations, which are Iran’s biggest of the year and include Zoroastrian rituals and traditions dating back 3,000 years, on the last Tuesday of the year, families gather together in celebration, building bonfires to run around and jump over, lighting off firecrackers, and sending fire lanterns into the sky, all with random outbursts of song and dance.New Year TehranNew Year TehranNew Year TehranEarlier in the evening while we were all on the apartment building’s rooftop, Mina’s brother joked that this is probably every American’s nightmare of Iran.

“If your friends could see you now, in the middle of Tehran surrounded by fires and explosions, what would they think? Or maybe… this is what they think Iran is always like?”

travel Iran alone

He was joking of course, but there was a sad element of truth to his words.

One of the first questions people here ask me is always, “What did you think of Iran before you came here?”

My first Couchsurfing hosts in Tehran, a young Ph.D. student and her roommate, said they were so excited to be hosting an American girl, and that they hope more tourists will start to come to Iran. They were incredibly warm and welcoming hosts, cooking delicious Persian food and asking me countless questions about Norway and the U.S. and foreigners’ impressions of Iran.

Mina, a girl from Tehran who invited me out to lunch through Couchsurfing was similarly curious about foreigners coming to Iran. She explained that while Iranians don’t necessarily like their government, they do love their country and are eager to share it with guests.

I really wish that I could have told them all that of course Americans are interested in visiting Iran and that they realize that there’s a huge difference between the people of Iran and their government, but I would probably have been lying. Most people whom I talked with about my trip offered me strong words of caution, with some even trying to convince me not to go, especially alone.

The thing is, I haven’t felt alone once since I landed in Iran. The receptionist at my first hotel took me in as her daughter, accompanying me to breakfast and lunch and suggesting sites for me to visit, my Couchsurfing hosts were like cool older sisters, chatting with me about religion and politics as well as the plot twists of Lost and J-Lo’s divorce (I’m so out of touch), and Mina truly has adopted me as her sister, with an invitation to lunch turning into a trip to visit Esfahan and then several days with her family in Tehran.

New Year's celebration Tehranvisiting Esfahan, Iranvisiting Esfahan, IranPerhaps traveling alone in Iran could be dangerous, but for me it hasn’t been an issue. I mean, even the tap water here is safe! There have been times, as in any city, when I’ve been walking alone and noticed a man walking uncomfortably close to me. Whether the threat was in my imagination or not, all it ever took was for me to move close to another woman and the guy would quickly disappear. Scary stuff, Iran.

So far my experience in Iran has only been one of warmth and hospitality, and really, really amazing food! Though, in a few hours Mina and I are heading to Marivan, a small Kurdish city on the border to Iraq. So you know, maybe I’ll have some more eventful things to share from there! (Kidding, family, Kurdistan is of course totally safe.)

 ……………………

I am a dual American and Norwegian citizen, and I traveled to Iran on my Norwegian passport. You can read about my experience getting a visa to Iran here

Author: Silvia

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142 Comments

    • Thanks, Nathan! People here really have been unbelievable kind and welcoming to me.

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      • Hi Silvia, I am an American from Los Angeles living in Yerevan, Armenia for the last 12 years. I admire your Indiana Jones type adventurousness. Come to Armenia and bring Rana with you. Or just send Mina here to me.

        There are lots of Iranians here in Armenia now – about 200,000 come every March 21 and stay for about 10 days, and some never leave.

        Tell Mina I said – Mina-ye-aziz, dokhtar-e-kheili-ghashang, be keshvar-e-Armeni va sharh-e-Yerevan mosaferat bokoni o be-man bia. :) :) :)

        Antonio

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          • Haha Mina says that your comment is very sweet! I wish she could travel with me to Armenia. Maybe someday!!

        • Mr. Anthony! It is better that you come to Iran.
          Ms. Mina and Ms. Silvia do not come to Armenia ….
          You’ve worked with tens of thousands of people in Armenia !!!!(: D (: D (: D

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      • Silvia, let’s go together next time. my family live there and I can give you tour the best places with no problem such as language or etc. I love Iran so much too and so do my kids.

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      • thank you for this report.

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    • Great post, I am so glad you’ve had such positive experiences! I am heading to Tehran on Thursday, and I’m so looking forward to it. I’m going for similar reasons to you – I imagine the country to be a beautiful place, the mosques to be breathtaking and the people to be warm…but there’s also a part of me who wants to prove those narrow-minded people who thin Iran’s dangerous wrong.

      I was also interested to note you’re wearing skinny jeans…I have been worrying about finding loose enough trousers and long skirts, but glad to see it’s not all that conservative!

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      • You’re going to love it, I promise! Trousers can be as tight as you want as long as you’re always wearing a top that hits mid-thigh (covering your butt). (Just responded to your email – let me know if you need anything else!)

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      • Nice to hear these kind words. I’m from Iran. I strongly look forward to seeing more tourists in Iran. Other countries are not able to advertise our country correctly. You can wear everything you’d like. Unfortunately you have to cover some parts of your body. I know that it’s ridiculous!

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        • I loved being a tourist in Iran, and I hope more people will be going there soon!

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    • Loved your pictures and your blog – thanks for sharing. I lived in Tehran many years ago with my family and think often of my experiences there and still have a wish to return (visit only).

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      • Thanks! I hope that you get a chance to return for a visit sometime soon – Tehran really is such a special city.

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    • You are always welcomed to Iran. We, Iranians love to welcome you guys from States :)

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    • Thank you dear Nathan Anderson. Iranian land, my beautiful land. There is security here. Here people around the world could do without the inconvenience and trouble to travel to different places of beauty. Isfahan, Shiraz, Hamadan, Khorasan, Tehran, Golestan. . . Really beautiful. We’re happy that we are open to people worldwide.
      Have a sweet moment ….. Majid.

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  1. Happy Nowruz!!!! I am so jealous.

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    • Find a fake passport and join meeee!!!

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  2. You’re my hero. Simple as that.
    I find great inspiration through the travels of others but you have just raised the bar. I’m stoked to continue reading of your experiences in Iran while formulating my own plan to enter the country.
    -Cheers

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    • Ha wow, that must be the nicest comment I’ve gotten on this blog. I’ll be excited to read about your own adventure in Iran as well, Nicholas!

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  3. I work with a woman who lived in Brooklyn and “could” not go see her mother in a hospice in the Bronx alone because it was “too far to go alone”

    You are the exact opposite of that and I love that you went to Iran alone. I hope more people read your travels and are inspired to drop their fears.

    Also, I just Googled Marivan – wow. I cannot wait to read about your travels there. It looks so beautiful.

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    • Ha thanks, Jennifer, I would definitely love to lower some fears surrounding traveling, as so often they’re completely misplaced. I’m in Marivan now and can hardly believe it – so magical!

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    • Ahh I would love to go to Morocco! Excited to hear how your trip goes – I’m sure it will be so amazing!

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    • have a good Trip in my Beauty country Iran…
      Go to isfahan
      Go to shiraz
      go to Tehran
      and enjoy from the beautifully of my country

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  4. YES!!!!!!!!! I LOVE this so much!! I loved reading about your experience in a place most Americans would be terrified of visiting. I’m also an American and I’ve been dreaming of traveling to Iran for years. I’m pretty sure this is the summer I’ll finally go. I’ve been thinking about taking an organized tour but you’ve made couchsurfing sound like a great option!
    Karisa recently posted…Introducing My Hot Pink PassportMy Profile

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    • Ahh thanks, Karisa!! Couchsurfing really has been super, though it might be harder for an American to swing because of the requirements for coming as part of a tour (I’m here on my Norwegian passport). Though I’ve heard you can get private guides that are pretty laid back, or less formal tours, so I’m sure you’ll work something out. And I’ll be super excited to read about your experiences when you do!

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  5. I can just imagine how scared your friends were before you headed to Iran. It is considered as a dangerous place for solo travelers, but I’m so glad you had such a great experience! I’m amazed by the hospitality there!
    Agness recently posted…Exploring Singapore At NightMy Profile

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    • The hospitality really has been unbelievable, and from what I’ve heard from other travelers in the past, everyone seems to have similar experiences of being taken in by Iranian families. A traveler’s dream country!

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  6. Good on ya Silivia. I’m not sure that I would go to Iran myself but I’m certainly not going to discourage others who do. The world needs to see these places as real places and not just war zones. As for me, I’d rather go to Jordan or Israel LOL! Well done and stay safe with your new family. :)
    Victoria recently posted…How to be British: Oh and by the way, you need to queue!My Profile

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    • Thanks, Victoria! Now that I’m here it seems crazy to me that people see Iran as such a dangerous place to travel to. But you’re absolutely right – we should visit places we want to, whatever their reputation may be!

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  7. Think the problem is that the majority of people don’t know what life is like in places like Irane, and that a lot of them are afraid of the unknown. Great to hear that you’re enjoying your time though, every time I read a post like this I feel more and more tempted to explore the Middle East.
    Catherine recently posted…8 Reasons You Should Visit YorkMy Profile

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    • Yes! Definitely looking to feed those temptations with my posts on Iran, haha. It really is worth a visit!

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  8. I’m so glad you’re having a fantastic time and proved that Iran is perfectly fine to travel in. So many people have all these crazy preconceptions and insist places are dangerous, when they have never even been and probably barely even read anything about that place. I think some people may possibly get Iran and Iraq confused too… I’ve never been to Iran but I would have betted you would have an awesome time rather than it being scary. So glad to see that is right! Looking forward to reading more! :-)
    J in Beijing recently posted…Walking it out: Connecting with my Beijing HomeMy Profile

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    • I actually started to wonder if some people were confusing Iran with Iraq after some of the things they set about Iran. So bizarre. Glad I would at least have had well wishes from you!

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  9. It’s so great to hear more honest, positive, real stories coming out of Iran. Having just spent 32 glorious days there (in November/December) I can agree with everything you said! The place is amazing and the people are beyond hospitable. I never ever once felt in harms way. Isn’t the architecture and sites surreal?!!

    Cheers.
    Dariece @GoatsOnTheRoad recently posted…10 Methods FOR ANYONE Who Wants To Make Money AbroadMy Profile

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    • Thanks, Dariece, reading about your experiences in Iran was huge in pushing me to visit Iran in the first place! The sites really are unbelievable – by all rights Iran should be overrun by tourists. So while people’s misconceptions about the country are incredibly sad and frustrating to me, at least I didn’t have to be surrounded by throngs of tour buses like in Uzbekistan, ha.

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  10. Happy you had a good time here. Hope have a chance to meet in your next trip. It seems you didn’t come to Shiraz and were most in Tehran & Isfahan. You lost somewhere amazing then. See u :)

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    • Thanks! And yes, I only had time to visit Tehran, Isfahan, and Marivan. I really want to see Shiraz, so I will have to go back to Iran soon!

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  11. thanks for sharing your experience with us. I’m so proud of you and i wanted to know did you get the chance to visit Azadi square or get to meet the famous ex-president Ahmedinejad?? thank you. Deen from Ghana

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    • Thanks, Deen! I did get to visit Azadi Square, and the tower was so impressive! I can’t say that I met anyone famous though. Maybe next time, ha.

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  12. You have set an great example for all the brave ladies out there who got bashed about when they told others about their plans to obviously ‘dangerous’ places. I thank you for that, and I will definitely show those people who told me ‘Iran, are you crazy?’ your wonderful experience.
    cherishka recently posted…5 Useful Tips for Traveling in Bad WeatherMy Profile

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    • So glad to have you on my side, Cherishka!

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  13. I am green with envy as I am very familiar with the beauty and diversity of the country and so happy to read your post, I am toying with the idea of travelling to Iran (with a U S passport) after I retire in the fall. My biggest concern is it will have changed so much since I lived there as a young teacher. I am afraid, like so many places,- you can’t go back and I will end up disappointed. Now Ruz was the perfect time for you to visit!

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    • Yes, Now Ruz really was such a special time to visit Iran! I hope that you will get a chance to return to Iran, Chris, and that you won’t be disappointed but instead will be filled with beautiful memories!

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  14. Hi dear Silvia…i’m so glad you had a great moments in my country & you like iran this much..it’s a pleasure …thank you for your nice blog….:)wish you a lovely day full of happiness

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    • Thanks Fariba, I really did love spending time in your country very much. I hope I can return again someday!

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  15. Dear Silvia,
    Thanks for your visit to Iran and your kindest opinions about our country, people, food and … .
    I’m not in Iran at the moment, since we have used the holidays to go over seas, but my wife, my daughter and I will be honored to host you or assisst you on your next trip to Tehran. May god be with you every where you go.
    Moein

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    • Thank you Moein, I’m so touched by your kind comment! I hope you enjoy the rest of your holidays overseas!

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  16. Hi Sylvia, thank you for giving us the chance to be able to exchange some little moment with you, Visiting Iran alone means you are a brave woman. I’m so proud of you and i will be glad to host you the next time you visit Tehran. Thank you.

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    • Thank you Shamsu, I don’t think I’m particularly brave, but it is nice to hear that! And thanks for your generous hospitality!

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  17. Hey Silvia, you are so lucky, it’s my dream to go to Iran. I want to go to the great Shrine of Imam Al Rida (one of the most important people in my religion) It’s a very beautiful holly place. It’s sad that even Arabs have the same western idea about Iran. People should go and visit these countries instead of relying on false television propaganda.

    Try to come to Brazil sometime, It’s beautiful, but dangerous. I’m from Lebanon, however, A beautiful country that is facing the same propaganda Iran is facing :)

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    • I’ve never been to Brazil or Lebanon, but I would love to get a chance to visit both places. I hope that you can someday visit the Shrine of Imam Al Rida, Karam!

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  18. Hi Silvia, This is Amin from Esfahan, Iran. Had a look through your experience and photos which are totally amazing. Great for you, you’ve been there in the best time, I mean Norouz.
    I am very glad that you are one of those people who ignored gossips and news and traveled to Iran.
    You are always welcomed to Iran. We, Iranians love to welcome you guys from States :)

    Khoda-hafez :)

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    • Thank you, Amin! Norouz was such a special time to visit Iran – I feel lucky for the experience!

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  19. Hi Silvia,

    I live in Tehran, but traveled to US several times. I am so happy that you’are having good time in Iran, and thanks so much for sharing your experience and pictures.

    Iranians are so hospitable and they love to share their culture:)

    I am not sure if Rana already told you that Esfahan is famous for being half of the world, so you visited one of the best cities of Iran.

    Have fun and keep us tuned.

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    • Esfahan was like half of the world! And Iranians continue to be so hospitable, even after I’ve left Iran, ha.

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  20. Why don’t you choose a nice persian husband for yourself ? ;)

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    • Haha well, first I would have to get rid of my British boyfriend, which might make him very sad.

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  21. It so sad that millions of Iranians are exiled and cant visit this great land. Thanks for taking us back home.

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    • It does seem so unfair that I can visit so easily as a stranger, while so many Iranians cannot. I’m happy that you stopped by to share in my experiences there!

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  22. Hi, I’m glad you are enjoying your visit to Iran. I’m an Iranian who has lived in the US for a while. Your experience is quite common. I visited Iran a few years and went to Persopolis (a place you must visit if you travel to Shiraz). I met so many Europeans and Americans who had had delightful experiences in Iran.

    As long as you use some common sense, Iran is very safe. People love tourists and will go out of their to be helpful and hospitable. I applaud you for your sense of adventure, easy going, and warm nature. My countrymen would love to get to know you and be your friend.

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    • You’re so right, Nader! It seems that all foreign tourists I’ve spoken to about Iran only have wonderful things to say about their experiences there.

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  23. Hey Silvia, hello from Singapore. So glad to hear you’d a wonderful time in Iran. I’ve been there twice in a span of 5 months, and on both trips, I’d encountered nothing but kindness and warmth from the locals. I’ve been sharing with friends about my experiences, dispelling misconceptions while encouraging them to visit and see for themselves.

    I do hope you’d a chance to sample the delightful fereni dessert from Isfahan!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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    • I’m so happy to hear that, Karen! I’m also hoping to dispel misconceptions and encourage people to go – after visiting, it seems nearly unbelievable that so many tourists are so wary of Iran!

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      • I do think some of the misconceptions and myths have started going away bit by bit when travellers like you, me and many others share with our friends. And I have seen that amongst some of my friends – and it’s a good feeling!

        Keep your posts going. Safe travels too.

        p.s. if you ever find yourself in Southeast Asia, let me know.

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        • That’s so great, Karen! I hope I’m having similar success, though who knows. And I’ll be in Chiang Mai for several months starting in June!

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          • You should definitely check out the other Southeast Asian cool spots like Penang, Palawan (beach resort in the Philippines), Singapore (my home town – happy to bring you around if timing fits), Phnom Penh and tons more.

  24. Iranians are the best people in the world! So peaceful, friendly and honest. And they utterly respect women. You should also come to Serbia. You might also be surprised.

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    • I really want to go to Serbia! The Balkans are definitely next on my travel wish list.

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  25. This is such a great news and New Year’s present for the tourism industry in Iran to see that people have started visiting Iran and have realized what the realities are.
    I’m so happy for you Silvia that you’ve had a great time in Iran. Happy Noruz!

    Rahman Mehraby
    Destination Iran
    Rahman Mehraby recently posted…Visit Mausoleum of Hafez, the Persian Poet in ShirazMy Profile

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    • Thanks, I was so happy to be able to celebrate Noruz in Iran!

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  26. Silvia, Just discovered your blog and just in time as i’m leaving for Iran in a couple of weeks. I am so excited about my trip, but have been fretting about–of all things–what to wear! Thanks so much for sharing photos. A few years ago I did a solo around-the-world trip which lasted 5 months. I did a blog for our local newspaper; and now, looking back at photos and postings brings back so many amazing memories that are so easy to forget as we plod along with our daily lives. Good luck in your travels. Hope to hear more about them.

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    • Ahh that’s so great! I was also stressed about clothing, but in the end all that matters is having a headscarf and a long shirt. Enjoy your travels!

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      • How about open-toed sandals or pink sneakers?

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  27. As an iranian i welcome u and i’m so glad that u visited iran..all tourists r surprised when they visit here and say we thought totally different about it.. us iranians love peace and friendship and having guests..but unfortunatly the media has showed iran’s face totally different from what it really is..I hope u have a splendid time dear and be sure that iranians love guests and will try their best so u can have fun :) <3

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    • You’re right, I don’t think there’s anything else like Iranian hospitality! I’ve never felt so welcomed. I loved how everyone was eager to show me a good time, and while they knew that many people from my home judged Iran, they still treated me kindly and wanted to disprove those harsh images against Iran. I really hope more people will discover the beauty of Iran!

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  28. Hi Silvia,

    I hope you have a great time in Iran. I have a few friends which are interested to visit Iran but they told me that To get the visa, US citizens must work in advance with an Iranian travel agency to set up a guided itinerary; only then, that travel agency may apply for a visa authorization number from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    I have also heard that US citizens are required to travel on tours, either as part of a tour group, or a tailor made individual tour. An exact itinerary, to which you must adhere, is compulsory.

    Just wanted to ask if this was the case for you because I know your answer could help a lot of my friends going to Iran.

    Wish the very bests,
    Ashkan

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    • Hi Ashkan, what you say about Americans traveling in Iran is all true. I have two passports, as my father is American and my mother is Norwegian, so I was traveling on my Norwegian passport. It is much easier for Norwegians to get visas (I got one on arrival at the airport), and sadly I wouldn’t have been able to have the same trip I did if I were using my American passport. I hope the regulations relax in the future!

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  29. Thanks for sharing this. I am an iranian student in Germany and I invited a friend of mine to iran for new year. He was also amazed by the fire works of “chahar shanbe sori” and norowz ceremony. He had the same impression about iran. He told me there is a hug gap between real iran and what media shows. He told me he is enjoying every moments and he will probably come back with more friends. Hope more people come and visit iran and the negative bias mind set change overtime.

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    • I’m so glad your friend had a great experience in Iran! I think most tourists fall in love with Iran and want to bring their friends there, so maybe more people will realize the gap between real iran and its image in the media. I hope so!

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  30. Thank you so much for wanting to see iran. I am an iranian living/studying in Edinburgh and it gives me such joy to see people take a chance to come and see my country. I’m glad you gad a nice time and that you got to see the atmosphere norooz brings. it’s truly the best part of the year. looking forward to reading more about your travels.
    -cheers

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  31. thank you Silvia for your kind words about Iran.
    If you want to travel Iran again don’t forget Mashhad. fantastic mountains and historical places.

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    • I didn’t have a chance to visit Mashhad on this trip, but I will keep it in mind the next time I go to Iran!

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  32. Hey Silvia! I just found something strong enough to convince my American friend to go to Iran with me :D love you haha

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    • That’s so great! I hope your friend can visit Iran soon. :)

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  33. hi i wish visit iran becouse is one pays islamic developed and my number fhone is (212)0639845467

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  34. Hi silvia!When my dad told me about ur blog about ur trip to iran i was really surprised tbh but then i checked it out and your trip sounds perfect.I, Myself am from iran and I’m so happy that u enjoyed your trip. It would have been a good idea if you visited shiraz and yazd as well but you were probably short of time.Anyways, i hope your next trips would be fun. Hope you visit us again:)

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    • Thanks, Tina! I definitely definitely definitely want to see Shiraz and Yazd still, so I will just have to go back someday :)

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  35. these days, lots of politician says that Iran is dangerous and etc ,,,
    happy to see this positive text about my country…

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    • hi, silvia. your posts about iran translated and shared in iranians News Ajency

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  36. Hey dear Silvia,

    It’s been a great story, I loved it so much, Iran definitely is a misunderstood land in the world by the westerners, specially Americans to be more precise, I’m Iranian myself living in the north part the country ( Mazandaran province )in the coast of the Caspian Sea, the super green part of the country, next time if you would go to Iran please visit northern part of the country and share your stories with us,

    Wish you the best <3
    Navid

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  37. hi
    haaaaaaappy to see this positive text about my country
    thank you for this report….

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  38. Dear silvia!
    Thanks for your travel report. As a Kurdish Iranian, your report gave me a good feeling.
    I am faculty member in Ramin Agriculture and natural resources university in south of Iran(Ahvaz). I have a PhD in Geography and Rural Planning. My thesis was about rural tourism in Iran(Oraman region). I will be happy to get to know more about you and help you and your friend in next trips.
    Please contact me via m_ghanian@yahoo.com

    Hope to see you
    Mansour

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  39. Dear Silvia,
    How are you? hope you re doing fine in our country,
    hope to see you in Tehran and show you some nice places in Tehran,

    (021) 77 50 33 20

    Awaiting your kind reply,
    Peter

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    • Thanks, Peter, I hope that I can return to Iran again soon!

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  40. The hope that the Iranians could easily travel to America and American to Iran. This is the true meaning of civilization and civilized man.
    Hopefully in the future you have to travel to the historic city of Yazd.
    And let us entertain you

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    • I hope that Americans and Iranians can easily visit each other’s countries soon! I know many Americans who wish to travel to Iran, but now it is so difficult (I was traveling with my Norwegian passport). And I also hope that I can visit Yazd soon!

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  41. Hi Silvia,

    You can not imagine how much joy i got when i visited your Blog which was amazing and adorable. As an Iranian i admire what you did, and how much brave you are.

    I read all the comments with the answers, I saw how much friendly and kindly you answered all the comments. I wish everybody can stop this illusion and stop all this negative thoughts about Iran and see my country without any preconception.

    I am sure mother nature will protect you in all your travels all over the world.

    Best regards

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    • Thank you for your sweet message, Ani! It is so sad to me that many people see Iran so negatively, but I hope that this will soon change in the future!

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  42. Hi Silvia.thank you for introducing us..I know most people have wrong imagination about Iran.Don’t listen to Fox News and dont believe the wrong informations they give… I live in Shiraz where Perspolis and Hafiz’s tombs are located.It’s great if you pay here a visit…

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    • Ha you are right, people shouldn’t just listen to Fox News! I definitely want to visit Shiraz and Persepolis someday soon!

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  43. hi

    We are so glad you came to Iran and thank you to wrote all the good things about Iran. All People around the world need to believe we are hospitable. Next time you come with your Friends

    thank you

    مهمون حبیب خداست. تشریف بیارید قدمتون سر چشم قول میدم خوش بگذره

    در پناه خدا

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    • I wish more people around the world could have a chance to experience Iranian hospitality! Many of my American friends want to visit, but it is also difficult for them (I traveled to Iran on my Norwegian passport). I hope that in the future it will be easier!

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  44. Hello Silvia. I’m glad that you had a wonderful time in Iran. We have over 2,500 years of civilization. We love all people, all over the word.
    shabgard recently posted…سفر کن….My Profile

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  45. Hi Silvia

    Would you please thru which website you find your friends in Iran? if you don’t mind please e-mail that web address to me or write it here. Thanks

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  46. Hi Sylvia,
    I am an Iranian living in Canada and really appreciate your sharing. I really admire your bravitity that led you to this amazing experience despite all warnings you have recieved from different directions. I know people like you would encourage other young and adventurous fellows to travel to Iran, however it would be safer to not trust everyone on your travel path. There are good and bad people every where and bad things might happened too. I suggest if you travel alone make sure you have a safe destination or a friend to guide you. Especially for someone who does not know language would be easy to be noticed and be mocked.

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    • Thanks, Atoosa, and I think you are right. I was extremely lucky to meet Rana at the beginning of my trip, as she helped me so much and always kept me safe. I would definitely advise travelers to find an Iranian friend to help them! Of course that is true when traveling in most countries where we don’t speak the language.

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    • So glad to hear Iran made your travel list, Hannah! It definitely deserves a place on it :)

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  47. I said the same to a friend who cycled from Berlin to China though Iran, then he told me they were the nicest people on the whole trip.It opened my mind and since then have met many wonderful people from Iran.

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    • Actually it was a cyclist going from Europe to China who first told me I really had to visit Iran! And I’m so glad that I took his advice.

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  48. Very awesome travel blog. I’m glad you did enjoy Iran. I love your post. Do you feel like going back there?

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    • Thanks, Miranda! I would love to go back to Iran some day. I was only there for two weeks, which was definitely too short!

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  49. What a lovely story! I noticed you mentioned you stayed mostly in hotels and went to meals with people from Couchsurfing. Did you ever stay with Couchsurfing hosts? I might have to make a similar trip now! Hmm, wonder how easy visa-getting is for Canadians…

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    • Actually it was the opposite – I only stayed in hotels two nights, the rest of the time I was Couchsurfing. In fact, I didn’t actually plan any of my trip around Iran aside from arranging my first hosts in Tehran, because I had heard that there was such a strong network and people would be hospitable enough to arrange places for me to stay around the country, which is exactly what ended up happening!

      I can’t recommend Iran highly enough for tourists! Visas for Americans are incredibly difficult (I was traveling on my Norwegian passport), but hopefully it’s easier for Canadians.

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  50. Hi Silvia,

    This blog post is incredibly inspirational. It’s great to see a woman traveling alone and having the confidence to go to places Westerners have been taught to fear only to debunk all the stereotypes and preconceptions! You have a knack for storytelling and I really appreciate that you shared your experiences.
    Niko recently posted…Ramadan in AmericaMy Profile

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Niko! I was a bit nervous to go to Iran alone, but it ended up being an amazing experience. I wish Westerners weren’t so wary of the country, as it really is such an amazing place to visit!

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  51. Hi Silvia,I am so glad that you could suppress your fear about Traveling to Iran and you experienced a Wonderful trip .thank you that you write your experience on your web .I am sure that people all over the world will understand that Iran is not a dangerous place and the Iranians are so hospitable.I welcome to all of people who want to travel to Iran and there is no difference where you are from .we love and respect to our guests.خوش آمدید

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    • I can’t tell you how much I admire and appreciate your hospitality, Fatima! Iranians really are special people.

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  52. Hey! I think traveling to Iran isn’t that dangerous and bad after all. Considering the rich learning you can gain from the early civilizations, this place is a must in your travel list.

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    • Exactly! I hope Iran makes its way onto more travel lists in the future.

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  53. Hi,

    I just read this and I really really liked the whole stuff. I’m also Iranian, visiting Tehran for a week. It’s been great so far! I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Iran! Have a great day :)

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    • So happy (though not surprised) that you’re enjoying Tehran! Wish I were there right now!

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  54. Dear Silvia,
    Unfortunately the media around the world talk totally different from whats really going on in our country and cities
    As u mentioned in your blog, people here are so lovely and hospitable, they always like to share the best things they have with their guests , maybe more than ever they have…

    Also its the only country that at the same time U can experience 4 seasons as I know some cities temperature is about 50 centigrade while on other side of country people wear warm clothes to save themselves from the cold weather and snow…

    Thats great U visited my city and I suggest U to come back and visit other citis like Shiraz , Hameden , Yazd and etc. U’ll enjoy it.

    Thank U for the publishing ur experience.

    Shervin

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  55. Wonderful entry! As an archaeologist, I’m dying to travel around the Near East to see all the incredible historic sites, but as a young woman the thought of doing so alone has always made me nervous, but you’ve definitely made me reconsider that! Hopefully I’ll follow in your footsteps and a be a slightly more intrepid explorer :)

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    • Thanks! I was nervous to go alone as well, but in the end I think I had an easier time being alone, because everyone was so willing to help me. I think a lot of people felt responsible for making sure I was okay, since I was traveling alone.

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  56. I know so many lovely Persians & would go to Iran on that basis alone.

    As for the safety issue, places often seem scarier from the other side of the world. To keep my perspective in check, I often ask myself how threatening America must seem from the outside — school shootings, gangs, drugs, earthquakes, hurricanes, the odd terrorist attack, not to mention the military zone in Missouri!! Regrettably, shit happens everywhere.
    becky hutner recently posted…Postcards from…MONTRÉALMy Profile

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  57. Hi, Silvia

    I’m glad you visited iran and proved the aforesaid warnings wrong. I’m sure you had a great time during your trip and are eager to come here again soon. I decided to leave a comment here, to show my support of your act of bravery(!) and invite you and everyone here and everyone you may know to visit my blog on tumblr. it’s all about discovering another world the media tried to close your eyes on! Iran is surely the safest country to live in,in the middle-east.
    Thank you
    here is my blog’s link again : http://www.comeseeiran.tumblr.com

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  58. I’m going to Iran in 2 days and now my mom decided to call me and ask: “Are you really going to Iran? I’m scared. I’m praying for you to come back safe.” I mean, I really needed to read your post right now. My mom scares me to death. By the way, I’m a 33 year old man, can you believe that? hahaha

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    • Haha oh no! Luckily my dad had already visited Iran when I was planning my trip there, so he could assure my family that it would be totally safe. Have a wonderful trip! I’m sure you will.

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    • You really should, it’s one of all time favorite places now!

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