Many moons ago, I was born in Tehran, Iran to an amazingly wonderful family. Open hearted and open minded; they loved to travel, stay active, read and have a lot of parties! From a young age I was exposed to fantastic people, beautiful cities, different cultures and foreign religions – really all walks of life. Then, my life and my country rich in beauty, mystery and history began to change. 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.
1984 changed all that. My brother was already in the US studying and I decided it was the place for me too 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.
We passed the time we had to wait by traveling, exploring, worrying, praying, meditating and 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 - my gateway to myself.
Two months after this amazingly rich period in my life we were granted our visas. I was ready to travel to US and 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.”
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. - Bita Jenkins