In the last week I have read two articles in the New York Times that caught my attention. The first was called, “Traveling Without Seeing.” This article talks about the attachment we have for the electronic devices we bring along on our travels. The author, Frank Bruni, spoke about our need to download movies, games and music in preparation for a trip. Then once we are safely tucked away in our hotel room we choose to cocoon ourselves in our room instead of adventuring out into the unknown. When we do this, we miss opportunities to interact with others and learn about the world.
I often travel alone, and believe me, it is tempting to stay in the hotel, but then I say to myself, “What am I missing out there?” So I close my laptop or iPad, grab my camera and take off to see the sights.
This attitude has provided me with a wealth of rewarding experiences. Even eating alone in a small foreign restaurant can be adventurous. I use to think that eating alone would be lonely, but you wouldn’t believe how many people will start a conversation with someone who is by themself. On one occasion in Greece the waiter came over to practice his English. I learned he was from Syria and had been working in Greece for more than a year. I told him I had plans to go to Syria in the near future. He then offered tips on places I should not miss. An hour later a plate of watermelon and a small glass of ouzo came to my table free of charge. How’s that for having a friendly conversation with a stranger. On a recent trip to New Delhi I found myself alone in my hotel room on my last day in India. My bags were packed, I had snack food to eat, and enough entertainment options on my iPad to last for a few hours, but I didn’t come to India to stare at a small screen. Instead I spent a few hours strolling the streets taking pictures along the way. The sights I saw on the street were much better than any movie I had downloaded on my iPad.
I recommend reading Frank Bruni’s article for more insight into this topic: New York Times, Traveling without Seeing
The streets of India outside my hotel room.
The second article called, “Tour Iran? Operators Hope So,” spoke about traveling to Iran. Only a few weeks after the contested election in 2009, I traveled to Iran with my husband. Even though most of the protests had stopped once we arrived, a few were still continuing in Tehran. I was fearful of how we would be treated at this turbulent time, but it turned out to be one of our most memorable vacations. While there my husband and I toured Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan, and the ancient site of Persepolis. Everywhere we went, we were treated like treasured guests. I can’t begin to guess how many times my husband was asked to pose for a picture. I made friendships that I still have today. For this reason, I highly recommend reading the New York Times article about traveling to Iran. Even though the US State Dept. still doesn’t recommend traveling to Iran, I must kindly disagree.
Take the time to read this short article about traveling to Iran: New York Times, Tour Iran? Operators Hope So
Here are 2 links to my images from Iran: http://ginalrodgers.com/images/iran/index.html and http://ginalrodgers.com/images/persiandesigns/index.html
Just a few of the wonderful and gracious Persians we met in Iran.