A lone female photographer from Georgia travelled to Pakistan despite being warned by family and friends to take some really stunning photos.
Teo Jioshvili, 29, an aspiring travel photographer, went to Lahore, Pakistan last year and found it to be very safe.
She said, “I backpacked to one of the most dangerous countries on earth... and had a great time.”
Jioshvili first got the idea to visit Pakistan after her trip to Iran. “When I was in Iran, I met amazing people from Australia who crossed Pakistan - and one of my Georgian traveller friends had also travelled there. Their stories inspired me.”
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Even though her family was against her going to Pakistan all on her own, Jioshvili did not waver in her resolve. She returned home to show them some amazing photographs from what became one of the 'safest' trips she had ever taken.
She said, “I always stay positive, try to appreciate the traditions and culture where I go, smile a lot and I know that everything will be okay.”
Jioshvili said that despite what people had told her about the security situation in Pakistan, she found the people to be very friendly.
“Actually, I felt very protected in Pakistan,” she added.
Recounting her adventures, Jioshvili said, “I was often stopped on the streets and in bazaars someone would ask me to take a picture of him or her with me. Most of the time, people would just give me an apple or an orange. That was just very sweet.”
When the 29-year-old first arrived at the Lahore Backpackers Hostel, she was delighted to be invited to a wedding party by a German girl.
Explaining how the German girl came to be invited to a local wedding, she said, “The day before, that girl had met a rickshaw driver who was a friend of the drummer's and those guys were invited to the wedding to play music. Of course I said yes, left my backpack in reception and went with them. The whole experience was just amazing.”
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Naturally enough, at first the people started wondering who the foreign girls were but they were soon welcomed with open arms and asked to take part in the ceremony.
“The whole wedding party was just an incredible experience with its music, traditions, smiling and curious faces, women in colourful dresses. I am just very happy that I said "yes" to that girl," she said.
Jioshvili did not for a moment feel that she was in any kind of danger during her stay in Pakistan. However, she conceded that there are places in Pakistan that are not recommended for travellers but that she felt absolutely safe in Lahore.
Speaking about her love for photography, Jioshvili said, “I enjoy taking pictures while travelling because it's a perfect way to show my friends and family what I'm experiencing when I'm there. Photos are the best souvenirs for me, so I snap everything around me.”
The 29-year-old's favourite photos are the portraits of Pakistani street artists and street girls.
Speaking about how she was treated by the men in Pakistan, the Georgian said, “If ever any men asked to take a photo with me, they were always extremely respectful.”
Further, Jioshvili added that men would never ask her to take photos with them if she was alone. “If there was another male (another traveller or guide) with me, they would ask him for the permission to take a photo with me. I think that was a really beautiful sign of appreciation.”
The 29-year-old also became a fan of Pakistani food. “Also, I must say that Pakistan really has the most delicious street food I've ever tried. And it's very very colourful. I love that.”
Moreover, Jioshvili said that Badshahi Mosque was just one of the most impressive heritage sites that she had ever visited, but probably what she loved most about Pakistan was that it surprised her.
“I did not expect that it would be so easy to get around Lahore. People were so generous and friendly that I was really impressed. Lahore is a huge city, but I was never lost and I always knew if I got lost that someone would definitely help me, which is a very important feeling especially when you are a lone female traveller,” she added.
This article originally appeared in Mail Online