Yesterday, this happened:
We booked a trip to Turkey for April 6-19 of this year.
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Hot Springs “Cotton Castle” in Pammukale
Hot Air Balloon Rides in Cappadocia
I was the one who pushed for this trip, researched it and booked it, and it’s the first time that I’ve truly taken “ownership” of one of our travels. Mike usually does the bulk of the research and planning, so I’m proud that I’ve stepped up and taken this on.
I chose Turkey for a few reasons:
- Look at it. Holy shit it’s beautiful. Turkey has a vastly different landscape to anything else that we’ve seen before. The amount of geological, architectural and geographical eye candy is almost too vast to wrap my head around.
- I have never experienced an Islamic culture before and would love to learn more about it and seek to understand it. I will have to cover my head at times, but I have no issue with it in order to just experience something so different than what I’ve lived and seen. I wish to wipe all preconceived notions of the Islamic culture from my mind with this trip and truly make my own observations and conclusions based on experience.
- Turkey is a blend of cultures that manifests in absolutely beautiful and exotic ways that spills into art, architecture, textiles and food. I want to bustle through the markets and experience the bartering, the spices, the atmosphere.
- Food. Come on, you guys know me by now!! Turkish Cuisine is something I don’t have a lot of experience with and I want to learn more through authentic experiences (um…by eating it).
- Anyone who has been to Turkey has said that it changed their life, was one of the best trips they had taken, etc etc etc. We’d like to see for ourselves.
- I wanted a challenge. I wanted something exotic. I wanted a place that would be awe-inspiring and also a place that could cause me to reflect and think on the world in a broader sense.
This is the path we will be taking:
We’ll start in Istanbul and go counter-clockwise through Western Turkey and end back in Istanbul.
Now, here’s for the part where I feel a little…unsure. We’re taking a tour of the country with a group, On The Go Tours. I’ve never been on a tour with others and I feel a number of contradictions inside of me based on this tour:
- I feel like less of a traveler since I’m not DIYing this trip
- I’m nervous to be around other people all of the time since Mike and I have our own pace, rhythm and style of travel. I like not having to answer to a group for anything & doing what makes us happy.
- But…I’m already going to be slightly out of my comfort zone with this trip, maybe I shouldn’t push it and just experience these things instead of stressing about the details.
- This country is huge, there is a lot to see and doing it ourselves could be stressful as it’s unlike anywhere we’ve ever traveled before.
- Renting a car & purchasing gas would be very expensive and if we get lost or have car trouble, it could be a much bigger issue in rural Turkey.
- But…isn’t that a part of traveling and shouldn’t we just do it anyway?
So we chose a tour because we wanted to see as much as possible without needing to stress about details, car rentals, multiple bus rides, etc. And if we don’t like this experience for Turkey, we’ll know better next time to DIY, but we’ll still get to see most of the sites that we want to see on this trip.
Our tour group will be relatively small ( I think up to 22 people) and it will hopefully attract other travelers like ourselves that we can get to know. Since one of my favorite parts of our South African safari was getting to know the other travelers, I am excited to get to know others like us to swap stories with.
I’m very excited!! Turkey will definitely be a very different country than any I’ve experienced before and I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons once again.
We have some other things brewing in 2013 in terms of travel too, so I’m hoping that this will be the first trip of a few this year!