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This Is Northern New South Wales

Life in the Middle East

  • Travel

Kate’s a 22-year-old leggy blonde who’s adventurous soul has already experienced more than most people will in their entire lives.

She was brought up traveling around Australia with her family in a camper trailer which taught her how essential traveling is for leading a fulfilled and happy lifestyle.

After modeling through her teenage years and completing a hairdressing apprenticeship she quickly discovered that the ‘normal’ 9-5 wasn’t for her…she’d rather travel the world instead. Two years ago she packed her life into a backpack and left Australia with nothing but $600AUD to her name.

Little did she know that teaching English in Vietnam, nannying for an Ex-Presidents family in Turkey, working on rural farms in Germany, falling madly in love with an Iranian musician in Nepal, moving to Iran and getting ‘married’ was yet to come.

Iran 2015

“Hot, hot, hot, HOT!” my body is at boiling point. I’m standing in a crowded carpet bazaar (Market) in down town Tehran. My conscious thoughts were distant, covered from head to toe in black with only my face catching the fresh, light breeze of people slowly walking around me, hijab was not only foreign to me at this point but seeming absolutely ridiculous in this type of heat, the smell of saffron in the air as lunch time is creeping closer. Who can eat when it is this hot? No one seems to notice the weather. It’s only 40 degrees… ehhh average summer in the Middle East.DSC_0257 DSC_0243

Kiarash and I had just arrived home, our marriage license in hand, feeling the love and excited for our new adventure. We came home to show Maman (Mother in law) our marriage license, she had cooked my favorite Persian dish (Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh) with love and excitement for our journey, because now we were finally free to wonder! I had been traveling on my own for about a year when I landed in Nepal and fell in love at Nepal’s largest festival in Pokhara, a Persian man from Shiraz, Iran. As we all know falling in love on a quest that is purely free can lead to many opportunities, one that I had no idea at the time how intense it would soon be.

After 6 months of knowing Kiarash we “Muslim married” for a temporary time to help with our visa situation and to ease the traveling experience there, it being difficult to travel with the opposite sex if not married.
The land of grapes “Shiraz” is the home to some of the most delicious grapes in the world (unfortunately alcohol is illegal), Kiarash’s home city in Iran is not only famous for their fruit but also for their poets. Listening to the language is like hearing a form of rhythm I had never witnessed before, so eccentric and unfamiliar, with such intensity to the translations is like stepping back centuries and living in another time. Collecting my future readings from the street kids was a highlight, getting to know what “Hafez” had in store for me.

We had just arrived at Perse-polis one of the oldest ruins in Persia. My stomach was full from lunch, and my eyes were sore from my quick catnap in a woman’s prayer room (yes, best thing in Iran, they have more prayer rooms than bathrooms). The desert sun was shining bright and I was struggling to find shade. I started to feel worse and worse as the day got on, but before I knew it I had passed out. I woke up feeling faded, sick and weak. Next thing I knew we were driving at 160km back to Shiraz, I was fading in and out of consciousness on the back seat of our friend Sorosh’s car. Arriving at the doctors to find out that I had experienced a heat stroke, receiving the news that many people that day had also experienced the same made me feel a little less embarrassed. After the experience, Kiarash had found out that Iran had broken the world record of the hottest place on earth, with the temperature reaching 68 degrees only 200 km west from where we had been.

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It’s disheartening that Iran is smothered by the western media for being a highly hazardous destination, an unrevivable negative stereotype attached to a place with such a big heart. Iran holds my most special traveling experience, and for that, it is my favorite. Exploring Iran was such an exciting experience, witnessing highly religious holidays and events, visiting the land of the poets and expressing gratitude to the tombs of 1000-year-old poets who are still worshiped like gods.

Iran for me was like taking a step back in time, to a more simple romantic lifestyle, things seem easy, no stress (other than the hijab and heat) but the people were my highlight. Everyone always willing and wanting to help in anyway possible. Persians are rich in culture and know how to have fun with what they have, the laws are different with alcohol, public appearance, and actions but everything is tasteful and fun. Experiencing life in the Middle East has positivity changed my life in many ways, especially widening my perspective to see the bigger picture.

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