'Travel Became A Gateway To Myself'

by Bita Jenkins

This article was originally posted on Pravassa.com—a wellness travel site—as "Changed By Travel," and is reposted with permission from the author.  

Many moons ago, I was born in Tehran, Iran to an amazingly wonderful family. Open-hearted and open-minded, we loved to travel, stay active, read, and have parties. From a young age I was exposed to fantastic people, beautiful cities, different cultures, and foreign religions, in all walks of life. Then my life and my country suddenly began to change.

The Iranian Revolution Changed My Path

A revolution was taking shape. While already accepted to med school in Iran, the turmoil working its way through the country began to threaten the opportunities and potential life had laid out before me.  

My brother was in the United States, studying, and I decided it was the place for me to continue my education. With no American Embassy in Iran, my mom and I, against all odds, traveled to Turkey where I applied for a student visa and my mom for a tourist visa.

Also on Z Living: The Exact Moment Travel Changed My Life

Turkey Became My Temporary Refuge

We passed the time we had to wait by traveling, exploring, worrying, praying, and meditating. In between sleepless nights we met amazing people and began to fall in love with Turkey, its culture, and its people. In that time I grew as a person more than any other time in my life.

Traveling became my love, my passion — a gateway to myself.

At right: The author in Utah in the 1980s. 

Two months after this amazingly rich period in my life we were granted our visas. I was ready to travel to US, ready to expand my world again. As author Clifton Fadiman so beautifully says, “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.”

Travel Continues To Enrich My Life

My life has been full of #changedbytravel experiences exploring the world in search of amazing people, unique places and immersing stories.

With each meeting and each new destination, my heart and mind grow. I count on it to enrich my life and the lives of others.  

Inspired to hit the road yourself? Check out these other must-see destinations:

WATCH: Z Living's The Posh Pescatarianwhere series host and seafood enthusiast Stephanie Harris-Uyidi travels to exotic locations to take on new adventures and creates fabulous pescatarian meals using local seafood and ingredients. See a sneak preview here

Tell us in the comments: How does traveling inspire you? Where will your next big adventure be?

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