Why do you travel?
Some people travel for the selfies at iconic monuments, bragging rights, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, or seeing a piece of history. You may travel for all of the above. Maybe you travel to relax and dip yourself into pristine waters and sip on delicious cocktails. Others travel and “rough” it; backpacking and experiencing a minimalist life while hiking through the Appalachians.
As I start my adventure, I find there are all these types of travelers passing by exotic cities and unique places. I travel for many reasons (some listed above). However, I seem to find that one of the most impactful things I leave with are the people I meet. My favorite thing to do is pretend I am a native to the place I visit. This can prove difficult depending on the language, size of the city, and culture.
I expected Istanbul to be a challenge. Turkey is a predominantly muslim community, Turkish is a language I could not follow, and I was traveling alone for most of the time. I can’t lie, I was nervous. After my visit, I can tell you Turkey was like a second home to me. Weaving my way through it was easy. I jumped on a train and figured out how to get about the city on my own. Don’t get me wrong, there were some hiccups; I got lost and took the wrong train, couldn’t find a taxi, and got soaked in the rain. On the other hand, I made new friends who tagged along to explore with me. Joining a couple of tours helped my confidence but I also wandered solo. I was not ever afraid or concerned. Strangers were suspiciously kind and I was cautious but nothing bad happened. Istanbul felt like a mecca for all types of souls. It was amazing and I didn’t want to leave because I felt like I was leaving home. Having roommates and an apartment with my own key helped me get acclimated quickly.
Traveling alone encouraged me to meet new people and strike up conversations. I loved it. I travel to see beauty: in history, culture, and best of all: people. With every experience I learn so much about the way of life and I find it enriching. I rather talk to strangers all day than visit a monument if given the choice. But when in Rome…I couldn’t leave without seeing the beautiful historic gems of Istanbul.
Lodging: AirBNB 2 apartments 1 near Taksim Sq, 1 in Cihangir
Tours: Daily Istanbul Tours (Walking tour 1 day), Istanbul on food (walking tour 1 day)
Must: Visited a Hamam for a traditional turkish bath http://kilicalipasahamami.com/