What Does A Travelling Mom Look Like in Iran



“Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me!”
We spent my most recent 25-yet-again birthday in Esfahan last week. Murph reckons that this is the 20th birthday I’ve spent with him – how’s that for making a body feel old!! No matter, his observation prompted a conversation that lasted all day where we tried (and failed) to remember where we’ve been on each of those birthdays. I decided that from now on we should take an official “Birthday Photo” with a landmark in the background. Ta-Da: me and my boys with the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Esfahan, Iran with it’s glorious, intricate, Islamic tile-work behind us.

I love Drew Gilbert’s What Does A World Traveling Dad Look Like? post about what he’s wearing after what, nearly two years on the road – with a toddler. A bunch of other fun (and funny) traveling parents have written up similar posts (see the links at the end of this page). Even though I’m a little late to the party, what I’m wearing in this photo gives a great insight into what happens to your wardrobe when you live out of a bag for a year.

1. The scarf
I picked this up on a day trip to a Karen village outside Chiang Mai, Thailand. The lady was actually working a similar scarf on her loom that day which, for me, gave some credence to the “hand-made locally” label. The fabric is a light cotton which is fantastic for the midday heat (and early-morning heat and late evening heat) in Iran in the summer. Before getting to Iran I thought that super-light silk would work better but a silk scarf slips off in the slightest breeze. At least the cotton has enough weight to stay on my head all day – a good thing because I’d rather avoid any interactions with the Fashion Police if I can.

2. The shirt
In Iran, I’ve been carrying around a backpack mostly full of clothes that I can’t wear: my t-shirts are all vests or short-sleeved and my skirt is too short. The shirt I’m wearing was a gift from an Iranian girl who we met on the plane from Tashkent. S shepherded us through customs and passport control at Tehran airport and made sure we had a ride to our hotel. We invited her to join us for dinner the next evening in thanks. She showed up with this shirt for me and a bunch of pretty, colorful scarves. True Persian hospitality at it’s best.

3. The pants
The dreaded convertible pants as described in my packing for a year post. North Face, bought at a little store in Winthrop Washington – a perfect pioneer-style, American West, country town. Check it out if you’re ever in the area.

4. The shoes
“Shoes” being a description for what you wear on your feet. These, in actual fact, are flip-flops. Bought on St. Patrick’s Day 2011 in a store in Bangkok because my original flip-flops fell out of the back of the motorhome we rented in Argentina. Believe it or not, it took a lot of shopping to find these shoes. My over-sized feet are not very strong and we wear flip-flops pretty much all day every day. With your standard $5 plastic ones I end up with aching feet. These Merrell Siren Thong flip-flops have arch support – and a pretty pink flower on the front. For the record, Murph and I thought that we’d have to wear closed-toe shoes (i.e. hiking boots) in Iran which we were not at all looking forwrad to, but on Day 1 in Tehran we saw enough people in sandals or flip-flops we decided that it was probably OK for us to show our toes too.

That’s it. For more traveling parent stories, check out: FamilyOnBikes, TravelsWithANineYearOld, OurTravelLifestyle, EVentureProject and SnapsandBlabs.

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About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

18 thoughts on “What Does A Travelling Mom Look Like in Iran

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  10. Evelyn Bosnak

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your and your husband’s tales of family travels. I am a jealous and frustrated 77 year old woman of Dutch origins living in the Chicago area. You surely can’t be original US citizens…. Keep on doing what you are doing and thanks for sharing! Evelyn

  11. NYTreader

    My English is not so good, but I must say reading your commentary on the NYTimes website about Irans president being called a monkey by even people in Iran, this happens because he is a lower-class personage (background, upbringing) and their is ressentiment among higher-class people because of this and also because he is of an ethnic-minority group, so these two things cause some people to not only criticize his policies but yes to call him a monkey and worse things, a little bit like some people in the US have called Obama things similar because of his ethnicity in lieu of his political discourse.

  12. wandermom Post author

    @NYTreader Thanks for your insightful comment. We did think that the people who approached us on the street in Iran were likely a self-selected group and you’re right, most appeared affluent + had some English. The comparison to President Obama is a good point.

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