Matin is a travelista at heart. She is born in Tehran, *Iran and raised in 3 continents and 5 countries. Her mission is to explore the unexpected and share her travel and cultural stories with the world. We asked travelista Matin to answer some questions about her country Iran and her travel experiences.
You are born in Teheran, Iran. Can you tell us more about this beautiful country and why people should come and visit Iran?
Iran is a very undiscovered country. I as an Iranian am constantly bombarded with new destinations I haven’t even heard of. This leaves tourists with authentic experiences and almost empty attractions. Despite the inflation, things are still pretty affordable here, so it’s a very budget friendly place for all kinds of people. Apart from that, Iran has way too much to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, a foody or a nature lover, there’s something for everyone’s cup of tea.
Is it easy for a traveller to interact with the local people in Iran? What are the do’s and don’ts?
It’s definitely easy to communicate with locals in Iran. You’ll find people to be very willing and interested into making contacts. They love to know about you and are eager to show you around. The language barrier can be a problem in smaller villages, but most of the young generation knows enough English to be able to communicate. I’d recommend being really open about the whole thing. If you make some Iranian friends, some really unique experiences might come out of it. Don’t be shy to ask about things. They love to explain. While many guidebooks recommend against talking politics and keeping your ideology to yourself, I have to disagree. Iranians love talking politics and social issues very much.
Local cuisine tells a lot about customs and traditions. What dishes can you recommend to try in your country?
Hmm…Where shall I start?! Persian Kebabs are a favourite of everyone and something any tourist will definitely try during their trip. There are a few dishes that are not always found in restaurant menus but are extremely delicious, like Albaloo polo (Sour Cherries and rice) which is definitely my weak point. If you’re a vegan or even not, I’d highly recommend trying Mirza-Ghasemi.
Matin, as a traveller which country has been the most challenging for you and why?
A trip with challenges is something I personally really look forward to, but traveling frequently obviously teaches you a lot and brings problems to the minimum because you probably know how to handle them. I’ve been very lucky to not have to tackle with any specific issues on my travels and everything has gone rather smoothly. But having lived in Japan for several years, I’d say the language barrier and the intimidated culture hit hard there. I absolutely adore Japan. It’s a country extremely rich with culture and beauty but I found it the hardest to make friends and that’s usually not a problem for me since I’m able to communicate in several languages.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
This is probably a question no traveler could really answer. Every single place I’ve been to came with its charm. But I personally love a vibrant city that is blessed with a sea view. Although I’ve been lucky to live in a few for quite some years, if I were to choose between the ones I’ve visited Barcelona is my absolute favourite. It has everything I’m looking for in a place for a long-term stay.
Which travel secret have you discover while traveling? Can you share this with the readers?
I don’t think I’ve discovered anything that hadn’t been known before, but depending on what you’re looking for in traveling, you will obviously keep getting more experienced and make wiser decisions. Through the years I’ve been able to learn how to travel cheaper and more authentic. But still I don’t get on a plane without having done a ton of research on my destination and I believe that’s probably the key to it all. Many people just go with the flow and there’s nothing wrong with that but knowing your options definitely helps to feel less like a tourist and more like a local.
What is the next trip you have planned and why do you want to go there?
I’ve had my summer packed with trips so now I’m kind of on a slow mode. I don’t really have any specific plans yet but since I’m constantly visiting historical attraction it can a bit overwhelming at times. So my next destination will probably be some off road natural escape and we’ve got plenty of that in Iran.
Which passport stamp would you most like to have?
It’s a hard one since I have soo many places I’m dying to visit but if I narrow it down to two I’d say Maldives and India are two very different destinations but high on my bucket list.
Do you have a favorite travel quote? Can you share this with us?
“Travel is the only thing that you spend money on that makes you richer”
I honestly believe in this. Travel definitely opens up your heart and mind. It lets you go beyond what the media tells you and gives you a more realistic view of the world and enables you to embrace differences. I do think that the way and reason you travel will definitely make a difference in how much you will actually learn from it, but it’s bound to change your vision despite all that.
Do you have a favourite shoe which you take when your travelling? What kind of shoe is it?
Haha! Not really. Depending on the weather I go with sneakers or flats and it works fine for me.
*All the photos are taking by Matin. If you want to read more about Iran and get some great traveltips from that country check her blog Travestyle.