Meet Ismael, Our Tour Guide

One of the things that has become very apparent to me when it comes to adventuring in different countries is this: tour guides are everything. And when your spoilt little English butt is traveling somewhere where English is barely spoken and you haven’t the first clue about the local language, well then you bet your spoilt-little-butt that The Tour Guide is a kind of saving grace that you cannot live without. Tour guides not only educate you with fascinating historical tales about the spaces that they share with you, but they also know where all the clean public bathrooms are. And the ATMs. If you get lost, they will find you. If you get hurt they will get you help. And if you get into a spat with a shopkeeper they will save you. They are worth all the gold, people. All the gold.

To that end I’d just like to take the time a pay a little tribute to our guide on the Neon Tours tour we did of Turkey last month. I’ve never done a proper tour before. Not one where you basically just pitch up and nothing is in your control. Of course I’ve done a ton of day trips both alone and with guides, and tour guides really do make a difference when it comes to understanding what you are and being shown where to look. But I was a little bit worried about doing one big tour with one guide and one group of people. My worry was for naught. (more…)

Turkey: 6 Reasons to Visit Right Now

Well, I’ve been back from Turkey for two weeks now and I haven’t settled back to real life yet. I have, however, spent hours and hours (seriously I’m not kidding — probably about 30 hours in total if not more) pouring over maps and trying to figure out how and where to next. Who even feeds my kids when I slip into this kind of obsessive state?

I’m also kind of tempted to organize a whole tour for my family and friends (with the help of Neon Tours of course because they were awesome!) because I am certainly of the opinion that everyone should just drop whatever it is that they are doing and go to Turkey right now.

Yes. Now.

I have wanted to go to Turkey for a long time, so I did expect to love it. But I have to admit that our trip far exceeded my expectations. The existence of Turkey in all it’s exquisite beauty now sits in my soul like a comforting balm. What an incredible place. How lucky we are as humans that it exists.

Here are some of the reasons that I think you should go to Turkey, and why I hope to be able to go back there one day… (more…)

The Introverted Traveller

I’ve been home from Turkey for a couple of days now, hiding my introverted self from real life and prolonging this hermit existence for as long as humanly possible, but I suppose it might be time to wade back into the real world again. If someone could remind me how to do that…

I mentioned to my fellow travellers that I’m very much an introvert and that even though they met me in the middle of Istanbul I am very much someone who barely leaves the house sometimes. I don’t think they believed me. Which I get. The homebody traveller character doesn’t really make sense, does it?

Anyway, I must admit: I kind of expected Turkey to take it all out of me, and it did. I should possibly have practiced being “out there in the world” a bit before I went. Ten days with an itinerary that left almost no down time ensured that I got home completely exhausted with an aching body, blistered feet, and a badly bruised shin that I got from the camouflaged side tables attached to the chairs at the Dubai airport. And I was peopled out. Good and proper.

But guys?

I have so many wonderful stories to tell about Turkey. What a magical place filled with incredible people and amazing food and incomparable scenery. Where do I even start? What do I tell you about first? I have no idea. I guess as I spend the next few days sifting through my photographs I will find my inspiration.

Until then I leave you with just one thought:

Go to Turkey. If you feel like you wish you could travel more but it’s too expensive and you don’t know which destination to choose, go to Turkey.

I knew I would love it because of the research I did before I left, and also because so many people have dubbed Turkey their favourite destination.

All that hype and expectation did nothing to steal from the wonder of this country.

Go to Turkey.

If you’re like me, your introverted self may be overwhelmed by all of it. But your soul will soar. And that’s what travel is all about, isn’t it? Taking your soul out and letting it soar…

5 Reasons We Chose Turkey

Can I admit something daft? I was supposed to go to Italy this year, not Turkey. Actually, even that isn’t quite true. If I take a step back from the idea of going to Italy I have to admit that what I was really supposed to do this year is not go anywhere outside of the borders of South Africa.

And yet here I am. Going to Turkey.

I think I can properly call myself a traveller now, although that still doesn’t feel true. Then again, I don’t feel like “a writer” or “a mom” or “a wife” either. And those things are true. So I’m a traveller now, whether it feels true or not.

This trip to Turkey has evolved from a trip to nowhere, to a trip to Italy, to a trip to Ireland, to a trip to Germany and Italy, to a trip to Israel and Egypt, and finally it settled as a trip to Turkey. It took a lot of ideas to get to where we are now. I feel for the poor folks who had to endure me bouncing all those ideas off of them! I can’t imagine everyone who travels does this, but I can’t be the only one. Am I?

It seems that, when it comes to travel, I have resigned myself to the idea that we will go where we go when we go there. And I’m weirdly ok with that for someone who has a tendency towards control issues.

So this time, we’re going to Turkey. And here are some of the reasons why: (more…)

We’re Going to Turkey

That’s right: We’re Going to Turkey.

I wasn’t supposed to do this this year. Really I wasn’t. We were supposed to stay put this year. Recover a little financially. Travel a lot more locally. And then jet off again next year.

I failed. Yes. I. It was me. And even though we both get to go to Turkey because of it, it is I alone who is weak. The husband would have been happy to tour the back yard with snacks. But no. The wife could not.

But that’s ok, isn’t it? It’s ok to spend too much time on flight apps and Google image searches and to click on Every Single Travel Link cleverly presented by Facebook.

Remember when we went to Zanzibar and our flight home was a nightmare and I said to myself I need a break from airports and flights for a really really long time because I really do hate flying and it will be nice not to be on a plane for a while?

It didn’t last.

And then my silly mom said “I’ll buy you some plane tickets” and now here I am and we’re going to Turkey.

We’re calling it a birthday present to myself.

That’s ok, right?

Oops.

(Ps: I’m aware that my husband should be in this selfie as well but he’s at work and I only took the pic just now so he’s just represented by his passport for now. Maybe I should ask him to send me a happy selfie?)

Update: He sent me his happiness….