It, ironically, all started with a plane phobia when I was a kid. NO ONE could have dragged me on a plane back then and I set my first foot in an aircraft at the age of 21 – who would have believed that less than ten years later the local airport would be my second home. It coincided with my Erasmus year during which a solo trip to Northern Europe opened my eyes to the kind of traveler I wanted to be.
I, then, gradually developed a wanderlust and a thirst for traveling which got me to many incredible places in the world – from waking up on a remote island in Panama to going down the Nile by train, or observing Quokkas on an Australian island. As a teacher, I am granted many days off which allow me to fulfill all these projects. As a contemporary art aficionado, I also make sure to visit galleries, museums, and art centers all over the planet in order to discover local artists and new techniques. I am also wildlife oriented and most of my trips were made according to some local species that I wanted to encounter.
Many people do not understand why I travel on my own, most would probably fear a similar situation. I do find it, however, extremely fulfilling and particularly important for self-development. Indeed, being a sort of jinx, I got used to many situations which allowed me to adapt to pretty much anything. Traveling solo is always full of adventures but it allows one to meet new people, as, being on your own, you’re more open to what comes around. Most of my solo trips or road-trips allowed me to meet great friends around the world – locals or travelers.
For my thirtieth birthday, I wanted to do a special trip. I opted for a combo – Greece, Iran, and UAE. Iran, would, undoubtedly, be the climax of this trip. I have always been fascinated by Persian culture and somehow, until last summer, I was not bold enough to attempt it solo. It was, at the same time, pretty exciting and deeply scary and when I got, alone, at 3 am, to Tehran airport, I thought many times of going back in the plane. Fortunately, this feeling quickly faded away as I met another solo traveler and we decided to reach the city together. Only, fifteen minutes later, locals were already joining us for conversion. Indeed, the friendliness and curiosity of Iranians is not a myth and it went way beyond all my expectations. In every place we went, people genuinely came to talk to us, invited us for lunch or dinner, shared meals with us in restaurants… I also met many foreign travelers – a lot of Frenchies – and many locals with whom I still talk to regularly through WhatsApp or Instagram – THE big thing in Iran. The landscapes and architecture are breath-taking and along my trip which led me southward to Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd and, finally, Shiraz, I saw beauty everywhere. This particular trip will stay in my heart for a long time and, while there, I realized how far I had been and how much I had evolved. Because, after all, that is what traveling does to you – it changes the person you were and just like a sweet disease it forces you to go over your limits.