If travel is most rewarding when it surprises, then Iran might just be the most rewarding destination on Earth. This country, despite or because of its questionable reputation in the world, simply overwhelmed me for its sense of hospitality and beauty. If you like people, you will like Iran. Just as you will fall in love with its many teahouses, bustling bazaars, deserts punctuated by historic oases and rugged mountain ranges.

Wherever I went, I was welcomed with open arms. The people’s knowledge of the world, desire for education, political awareness, fluency in languages, and incredible sense for hospitality and generosity has been truly overwhelming. I would constantly walk around with a smile on my face. If you can, look beyond the political turmoil, and pay this country a visit. I know I’ll be back.