Peyman Pejman is an award-winning journalist with over 20 years of experience. He has worked with respected newspapers, news agencies and radio stations such as The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Cox Newspapers, The Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Pejman has extensive experience in the Middle East and the Arab world. His tenure in the Middle East has corresponded with important timelines in the region: the Iranian revolution, the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Gulf Wars and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In addition to his journalistic career, he has been a media and communications professor and a media consultant/advisor/trainer.
He also worked as a communications and public information officer for international organizations and United Nations missions and agencies.
We sat down with Peyman to talk to him about his experience of travelling and also about venturing far away from home.
“I remember the first time I took a plane. I was a reporter and I was escaping to go to the Pakistani city of Peshawar. From there, I was supposed to fly to the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The problem was, I didn’t have a visa for Pakistan. I was flying illegally, which turned out OK because the people I was with managed to “grease the wheels” and I got on the small, charter plane – with a bunch of passengers, chickens, roosters, and even a few sheep.”
“I mention that because, though the analogy might sound totally weird and unreasonable, I bet millions of other people might have the same uneasy feeling getting on planes that I did that day a few decades ago.”
“Who are these weird looking people on the plane with me? What the hell is with the chickens and roosters and the sheep? What kind of diseases can I get on this plane? How much of a security risk am I in on a plane where some people were even standing on the aisle?”
“No, I am not talking about post-Covid 19 flights. I was still talking about my own flight. But, as you can see, our feelings are not that dissimilar.”
The reality is that while it takes all kinds to fill this planet, there are those who like to move around, explore the world, and those who are equally or more comfortable to stay put, not venture far from home.
“There is nothing with either type, only that the more we recognize to which group we belong, the easier it becomes to overcome some of our own insecurities.”
“And if you have ventured this far to find this website and read this article, I’d bet you belong to the first group. In which case, as someone who has worked in some 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, East Asia, Central Asia, Europe, and in the United States, I have a few recommendations for you.”
Don’t worry why you wanted to get on that plane in the first place. Whatever the ultimate reasons was – work, love, tourism – the underlying reason was adventure. Don’t lose that sense.
“Second, doing the above does not – and should not – come at the expense of any health or security hazards – like the situation we live in now. But remember, some “circumstances” can be dealt with and some cannot. Also remember, almost all, can! Wearing masks on cross-Atlantic flights – as it seems to be the case and coming our way soon – might sound weird.”
“But before you call for a refund on the ticket you bought because you don’t want to wear a mask on the plane, remember, you also did not want to take your shoes off before getting on the plane before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks! Or go through see-through X-Ray machines! Don’t know how old you are reading this, but I am old enough to remember that caused A LOT of anxiety way back when!”
“Related to the last point, and perhaps more important than all, life is about future, it is about hope for the future. If you wanted to travel, that means you had hope for better future.
That is worth much more than you know. Keep the hope, keep your vision for a better future, be safe but remain adventurous. Fly, when you can!”