We parted ways, unsure if we would see each other again.
Once in Kurdistan, I found myself thinking of Esme.
Iran has a huge amount to offer adventure seeking backpackers; a rich history, incredible Islamic architecture, beautiful people, plentiful Couchsurfing, the best hitchhiking in the world and some serious bang for your buck; Iran is one of the cheapest countries in the world to go traveling.
It had taken four days of hitchhiking to get to Tehran and I was still getting used to a country where I had yet to see another backpacker.
I had accepted that backpacking Iran was going to be a very different experience to traveling in any other country I had visited before.
We talked on the beach and I leveled with her; I had fallen in love with her country, and with her.
A couple of months later I saw her again: she flew out to join me for a backpacking adventure in India and we raced a multicolored rickshaw 2500km across the country.