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:
1.)The visas are uncomplicated.
All you need to secure your visa is an internet connection. This was a big plus for me. I haven’t gotten a Schengen visa since 2004 so my biometrics aren’t saved. This means that to visit any of the Schengen countries (besides Germany) I would have to travel to Cape Town or Joburg to sort it out. So not only would I have to incur the costs of the actual visa, but I would also have to spend time and money getting myself to Cape Town and back. The thought alone is overwhelming. I’m hoping that this might change soon. There have been rumours that it might change in April – let’s hold thumbs!
2.) The plane tickets are cheap
I’m not sure exactly why but plane tickets from Johannesburg to Istanbul are relatively cheap (compared to other destinations). I try to keep my plane ticket spending to under 8k per person. This means that I need to keep my Joburg – wherever flight under R6500 because a flight from Port Elizabeth to Joburg is going to cost me around R1500.
3.) People who have been to Turkey love Turkey
Turkey seems to definitely be a favourite among travellers and I’ve wanted to visit there for a long time. After a bit of research, it seems to me that Turkey, like Thailand, is quite a straightforward place to visit for tourists. As far as I can tell it seems like there is going to be a lot of variety.
4.) The promise of good food
Guys: when I travel food is everything! As much as I loved my trip to Zanzibar, the food was quite meh. I already know that I adore Turkish Turkish delight. I already know I adore their apple tea. I can’t wait to try everything else. Apparently they’re really good at ice cream too. Oh my gosh! Other travellers all seem to manage to be skinny. How? New cuisines are life!
5.) The Lira is affordable
As a South African the exchange rate can be a killer. When you’re me, in other words someone who should technically not be traveling at all because international holidays are for people who earn international salaries, this is a very important factor. I can’t afford pounds or dollars or euros. I know this. It’s best to keep to the currencies that allow my money to go as far as possible.
Do you consider these sorts of factors when you travel? Do you consider others? What are they?
After all the planning and juggling that went into making this trip happen, I have to admit that I am exceptionally pleased with the choice. I can’t wait. How I am going to stay sane for the next two months?
And the biggest question of all: Is it too early to start planning the next trip?