Since the Iran Nuclear Deal with the USA and other countries, I've decided to postpone this trip until 2016. I would really prefer to travel around Iran without a guide in tow and set itinerary. Currently, Iran requires American tourists to travel with a guide at all times and have an approved itinerary. The increased cost and decreased flexibility in places to visit and time frames in a particular place are limiting factors that I would like to avoid. I'm hopeful that by 2016 these regulations will have changed, and an American can travel in Iran like a French or German person does now. If the regulations still haven't changed, I might then go in 2016 despite the limitations, but I very much hope they will change!
In the past week I have received a lot more information. It's very exciting, as you can imagine!
I received a quote from a tour guide, with a potential itinerary. I haven't approved either, since it's not really exactly what I want-- too much time driving, and not enough time walking.
Also, I've now heard from a few Persian people who are either friends of friends or who reached out to via Instagram. I'm getting a lot more information on foods to try! Pistachios soaked in lemon juice, and then roasted!?! I've never heard of those before, but apparently they are delicious.
I also was recommended a very good Persian language immersion course. It will be great to learn to read and speak some Persian before my trip! It's so much easier to make new friends when I can speak a little of the local language. :-)
I've posted requests for advice on which places I should visit on a few social media outlets, so now I'm waiting... It's so difficult to be forced to plan my entire itinerary in advance! On every other trip I've ever been on, I rely a lot on the advice of my fellow travelers once I'm actually there. And, if I discover I don't like a place as much as I expected, I just move on. Or, if I find a place I love and people I want to visit with for longer, then I simply stay there longer. Flexibility is so important, and this trip won't allow it, which makes me nervous.
I also need to be very careful of fully understanding distances and how long it takes to travel. All of the distances are stated in kilometers, so first of all I do math each time I want to make a decision. My decisions are predicated on the fact that I don't want to spend 1+ hours traveling each day. I would much rather stay in a nice place for 2 or 3 days. And, I definitely do not want to be traveling for 4+ hours on too many days. I like to be outside walking around-- not sitting in a bus, train, car, airplane or any other vehicle for too long.
Ahh. The fun of planning in a new way, but first, waiting for more information.