News: New Perspectives, A Visit to Iran

Zegrahm Contributor|February 3, 2010|Blog Post

This enigmatic land is often regarded as the seat of civilization and has contributed remarkable treasures to the world of art, poetry, architecture and, most notably, history. While a fascinating place to travel, Iran is a place where one can not travel without a guide and most people are apprehensive to even consider going in the first place—a perception fueled by Western political figureheads and negative media coverage.

Recently, travel guru and Seattle native, Rick Steves visited Iran. While known for his “Europe Through the Back Door” PBS television series and popular guidebooks, on this excursion he went for the sole purpose of revealing the true feelings of the Iranian people and gaining a better understanding of this country of 70 million. With his typical skeleton crew of one director, one cameraman, and two Iranian guides, he produced a TV show to help promote understanding between our two countries.

After 12 days of shooting in Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Persepolis, here are a few insights that Steves came away with:

“I didn’t go to Iran as a businessman or as a politician, but as what I am—a travel writer. I went for the reasons I travel everywhere: to get out of my own culture and learn, to go to a scary place and find it’s not scary, and to bring distant places to people who’ve yet to go there. To me, understanding people and their lives is what travel is about, no matter where you go.”

“My trip to Iran taught me things I could only understand by actually traveling there. First I learned how thankful I am that I live in America instead of Iran. Yet I also learned that the vast majority of Iranians would choose to live nowhere else but their country.”

To discover these insights (and many more) for yourself, we invite you to join veteran leader, Gary Wintz, who has been traveling to Iran for over 30 years, on our nearly annual Iran: Wonders of Persia expedition. He often jokes that “one of my biggest challenges in Iran is to actually fulfill the itinerary, because we get invited into peoples’ homes and to weddings so frequently that we have to start declining engagements due to time constraints! O felix culpa! I would claim that the people of Iran are Persia’s greatest treasure.”

To learn more about Rick Steves’ experience in Iran, read this excellent article from

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