Caspian Trek is a family run enterprise dedicated to sustainable nature tourism. Since 2008 we have endeavoured to provide unique tailor-made services to discerning travellers looking for mountain sports and authentic rural Persian culture anywhere in this ancient land.
Who are we ?
Khoonegeli, literally translated as the mud house, is the result of years of living in the diaspora, nostalgia and desperation to grow roots, an explosion of creativity after many years of frustration and displacement; it is a shining light in the deepest layers of human psyche.
I was born in the coastal town of Ramsar, although my family are from Shahsavar, -also known as Tonekabon-, and in the summer of 1975 at the tender age of 7 I was sent to a Catholic Swiss boarding school for a month; I hated it. In 1977 I spent a year in England and I was beginning to make friends and grow roots until the victory of the people’s revolution in Iran culminated in our return home soon after February 1979. The return was short-lived and the start of the war with Iraq in 1980 meant we were out again, this time to Austria where I learnt German for a few months at Goethe Institute; and then back to the UK where I stayed, studied, worked, and married until the eventual return in 2001. My wife Alejandra, an anthropologist, illustrator of yoga books for children who speaks and writes fluent Farsi, now spends the summer holidays here together with our two boys who attend Waldorf Schools in Spain.
I studied in Glasgow University Medical School and graduated in 1993, but medicine was never for me: like many of my countrymen I was pushed into it. For me it was too limiting and depressing. I simply could not detach myself from my patients emotionally to function, and I was not going to suppress my feelings and justify staying in, so I left.
I needed fresh mountain air and pristine nature, not just for holidays but for living and for life. So one day I just called it a day and resigned. The change has not been easy. I wanted to go back in time and back to nature, be amongst people from a past socio-evolutionary stage, from tribal times, feudal times, and people with time and space to think, breathe and engage one another, my people.
My paternal grandfather, Rajabali Malaki, owned a tea plantation some 15km outside Tonekabon also known as Shahsavar, a town by the Caspian Sea where I had grown up, and it was passed down to me. Khoonegeli was built on this land.
Khoonegeli is my home, my refuge, my personal and collective identity. I would share it with you, our future guests, those who are sensitive enough to comprehend what has gone into it beyond the superficial aesthetics, and I hope you enjoy it.