It takes just one step to start, right? The journey of your dreams, you only get there by taking steps. Sometimes small ones, other times large.
The last couple of years, I’ve had in the back of my head the desire to go to Iran and see Ancient Persia. Maybe it will be this year, maybe it will be in 5 years. It’s hard to say. But it’s important to me to start taking steps on the journey.
Why Iran? You ask. I’m sure it’s not everybody’s dream destination. But for many of us, it embodies everything one could ask for in an adventure:
1. Ancient History, specifically the history of the cradle of civilization. When I was in Graduate School, I had the opportunity to take a class at Harvard on Zoroastrianism. I had previously done some independent study on this ancient religion while in college when I wrote a paper about the effects of Zoroastrian apocalyptic on the Israelites. I dream of seeing the ancient Fire Temples and burial towers. If this isn’t quite your thing, remember that Peresepolis, built in 518 BCE by Darius the Great as the seat of the empire is in Iran.
2. Culture. I’ve always been drawn to cultures that are misunderstood by our own. I see a trip to Iran in some ways as an act of defiance against our perceived notions of Iranians. I say, “Iranians are no more their Government than we are ours here in America.” Remember, when Bush declared Iran part of the so called “Axis of Evil,” many were surprised (even analysts) because the Iranian people are so warm and welcoming.
3. Off the beaten path. When I was in Turkey, another solo traveler said, “when I’m old, it’ll still be easy to go to Europe.” The thought is that while he was young, he should travel to places that aren’t as easy to get around when your knees are creaky and you want a nice bed at night. He had a really good point.
So what’s my first step? Research. Figure out how much time I’ll need…and more importantly, how much money.