I can be a fairly spontaneous traveler. There have been times that I had to get ready to leave for an international trip just hours before departure and I typically travel light so not a problem. But, when I have a different kind of trip, especially one involving a marathon, and I still don’t know if I am going one week before – that is hard!
One Week From My Trip – No Visa Yet!
I am signed up to run the inaugural Tehran Marathon one week from this Friday. I submitted all my paperwork to the company organizing the marathon a couple of months ago – within the timeline they had given. Then, it was just waiting and training to see if I would be approved. Of course, a lot has happened since I signed up as it concerns Iran and the US but organizers were still very hopeful that the Americans’ visas would be approved given it was an athletic event and Iran had been approving visas for sporting events.
As of early March, we were informed that we should know by March 21 (the Iranian New Year) if our visas were approved. Ok, that was cutting it a little close considering that I need to make 2 trips to the Iranian Embassy (one to drop the passport off and one to pick it up) but still manageable.
However, the New Year’s holiday came and still no answer! Last week, we were told that hopefully we should have an answer by tomorrow, March 29. That is just 9 days before the actual marathon but just 7 days from the beginning of the trip package. That is cutting it close!
No Visa Makes For Difficult Planning!
Part of what makes that difficult is still the two trips to the Iranian Embassy – not such an easy thing when you literally have to get a ticket a few hours before departing to head to the embassy and then reorganize your day. But, the really difficult part has to do with the ticket to Iran.
See, the company said not to book the ticket before hearing of an approval and award availability had never opened up on the flight I needed (or else I would definitely have booked it as an award). On the visa form, I had to put the flight I would arrive on and depart on. The problem with that is the flight I needed to book to connect with the arriving flight has now booked up and is no longer available. And, the flight that I put down as my arrival flight is also almost full! Uh oh!
At this point, I am fine with it either way. I really, really want to go as you only can do an inaugural once (and I guarantee it would make an interesting post!) but I also have other things now on my plate for next week that I would need to move aside if I am approved. It is kind of difficult to not know at this point so we shall see.
I feel really bad for the other 27 Americans on the list. I would imagine some of them are actually departing from the US and that is really difficult not knowing if you are making this long journey one week (or less!) before your departure!
Anyway, we shall see! I am hoping it works out but I do not have a lot of hope in that at this point. The fun part is treating the marathon as if I am actually running while also trying to figure out some other marathon I might be able to do in the coming weeks if this falls through. That is the tough part, too!
What is the closest to a trip that you took before you received a visa approval?