IranTourismNews Exclusive interview with Lois Pryce, a British travel writer and author of three books. She is 44 years old, married and live in West London with her husband.
She traveled 340000 km from Alaska to the tip of South America on her 225cc Yamaha motorcycle.
Why you decided to start traveling? How this have influenced your live? Do you think you live better because of travelling?
Lois Pryce – I started travelling because I had a boring office job! I worked at the BBC in London – it was a good job but I knew I wanted more out of life. In my late 20s I learned to ride a motorcycle and this inspired me to see more of the world – I realised that a motorcycle was the perfect way to do it!
So I understand that you have been in so many countries, why you decided to travel to Iran ?
Lois Pryce – One day, in 2011 a stranger left me a note on my bike while it was parked near the Iranian embassy in London. This was at a low point in Anglo-Iranian relations and the embassies were closed due to a diplomatic spat. The note said that my bike looked like it had travelled a long way and asked if I had even been to Iran. That got me thinking… so two years later I decided to go and ride my bike there to see what it was really like, rather than believe the negative headline of the newspapers!
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Before coming to Iran you had some concerns? What?
Lois Pryce – I was worried that as an Islamic country, I might be met with disapproval for being a Western woman, travelling alone on a motorcycle, or that I might encounter anti-British sentiment. But it turned out I had nothing to worry about! I was met with so much warmth, kindness and hospitality.
did you had certain images of Iran? What were those?
Lois Pryce – We don’t hear very much about ‘real’ Iran here in the UK, so it was hard to even imagine what it would be like. Iran does not feel like a serious, religious nation as one might expect – most of the Iranians I met were cosmopolitan, fun, engaged, sophisticated people.
Tell us about your actual visit what did you do? What did you like most and what least? What are your observations?
Lois Pryce – I rode over , starting in Tabriz and going to Qazvin, the Caspian Coast (Rasht, Massouleh, Ramsar, Mt. Damavand) then to Tehran, Kashan, Esfehan, the Zagros Mountains, Yazd and Shiraz. My favourite thing about Iran is the people and the food. The worst thing – the terrible driving! Terrifying for a motorcyclist!
What are your recommendations to other travelers to Iran?
Lois Pryce – I would say to go with an open mind, and talk to as many people as you can. Iran is the most interesting country I have ever visited and this is largely due to the people there and the stories they share. Endlessly fascinating.
Now that you have been in so many countries and you know Iran so well, how would you like Iran in comparison to other countries?
Lois Pryce – It is hard to compare Iran because it is so truly unique. It has an incredible culture and history and stands alone in the world – that is what makes it and its people so interesting. It is definitely the most hospitable place I have ever visited!
Any conclusion remark?
Lois Pryce – I would encourage people to ignore the negative image of Iran and to go and see for themselves. I have never met anyone who has visited Iran who did not come home full of admiration and love of the country and the Iranian people.
Any recommendation for tourism industry in Iran and the tourism authority? What should be improved?
Lois Pryce – I don’t recall there being a shortage of toilets! My only point would be to not let it get too touristy – it was already going that way in Shiraz when I visited last year, even in comparison to when I first visited in 2013. It is a difficult balance to find between encouraging people to visit and not spoiling such a wonderful place.
Why did you decided to write a book about Iran and what are your other books?
Lois Pryce – I wanted to write about my experience in Iran because it had such a powerful effect on me, and I wanted to share the truth about contemporary Iran to counteract the bad news stories we hear so much. It seemed there were no books that did this – so I decided to write one! My other books are about my previous long distance motorcycle journeys – Lois on the Loose (riding solo from Alaska to Argentina) and Red Tape & White Knuckles (riding solo from London to Cape Town)
Lois Pryce is a British travel writer, author and co-founder of the Adventure Travel Film Festival.
After leaving school to pursue a career in the music industry, Lois ended up as a product manager at the BBC. But by 2003 she had grown weary of the daily grind in jargon-infested London media-land, so she quit her job to ride 34000 km from Alaska to the tip of South America astride her 225cc Yamaha trail bike. Upon her return she wrote the book of this trip, Lois on the Loose, which was published in the USA and the UK and translated into several languages.