Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Originally Published on The Traveling Jar

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Turkey – a far away land, not generally understood by the average traveler.  Mostly, Istanbul comes to mind.  It is a first-class city being torn from tradition, with “red alerts” issued by the government as “unsafe” to travel to.  Don’t be afraid of what your government may say about it, go if your heart desires and live your life without regrets!

I digress, and back to the Turquoise Coast, folks.  The Turkish coastline that sits across from Greece, bordering the Aegean sea and Mediterranean, is regarded as a cultural treasure trove that provides travelers with a fascinating mix of history, a mythological, ancient past, and beautiful scenery, with great food and a nightlife to boot.

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I was too tired from my action packed days to do much at night other than a glass of wine (Turkish wine is actually quite good), but if you’re looking for nightlife, head to the city of Bodrum.  You can also find many options in the city of Antalya, one of Turkey’s largest resort cities and most populace.


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Our trip took us aboard a gulet – a traditional Turkish fishing boat.  We sailed the turquoise seas with a group of people.  We went Oversea Adventure, so there was a captain, crew, and handful of travelers along with us.

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We sailed down the coastline through the teeny islands covered in vegetation, poking out of misty sea salty waters, unlike anything I had ever seen.

We swam in the crystal clear waters, snorkeled to catch our nightly meal (fresh fish or octopus), hiked into ancient cities, sunned on the deck of our gulet, uncovered pristine coves, and tiny villages with the friendliest people you could imagine, and explored half-submerged ancient cities.

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It was an experience I will never forget.

Beyond fun in the sun, there is some serious history on the turquoise coast.  Nerd it up!  Make sure to stop at Ephesus or as the Turks call it Efes (yes, like the Turkish beer).  If there’s one ancient city you need to see, it’s this!  Efes is the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean.

You can spend an entire day here if you’re a real ruin buff, but if your interest is slight then a few hours will suffice.

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In addition to Efes, there are dozens more ancient ruins to see.  We visited Myra, which was incredibly beautiful.  It was a leading city of the Lycian Union and in early Byzantine times.

Pictured above are ruins that I saw while we were in the Gulf of Fethiye traveling through by boat.  Fethiye is a great option if you’re interested in seeing ruins because you are able to see the ruins from the city center while traveling by foot, car, or boat.  Many travelers opt to do cruises so that you’re able to combine the ruins with nature. The city of Fethiye is also home to the ancient city of Telmessos.  Telmessos was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in 5th Century B.C., and its ruins, the Hellenistic theater as well as many rock cut ruins, can be seen in the city of Fethiye.

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Remember to challenge yourself daily while you’re living it up on the Turkish coast.  Do something outside of your comfort zone, whether that’s diving for an octopus, bartering for a scarf, or trying a Turkish food that you have never eaten before.  Do what makes you happy, be safe, and enjoy the many jewels along the turquoise coast!

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Growing up, the best part of school was summer vacation.  Sure, not having homework and getting to play away each afternoon was pure bliss, but what I looked forward to the most were the annual family road trips.

The family mobile

There was such excitement packing up the Volkswagen Bus (aka…the “family mobile”) the night before, mapping out our course and setting our alarm clocks for an early start the next day.  Visions of adventure would dance in my head until our alarms chimed in at 3:30am.  Even though my eyes were heavy, the anticipation of the day ahead would keep me awake  so I wouldn’t miss any sights along the way.  Little did I know that this was the beginning of my love affair with travel.

Through the years, my love for travel has grown beyond measure, and with each passing trip, I discover yet another reason why travel brings me such bliss.  Below are 25 of the countless reasons why I love travel.

1.  Experiencing Different Cultures
I love learning about different cultures, meeting the people of the region and learning about their customs and traditions.   Without this amazing diversity, the world wouldn’t be the spectacular place it is!

Transportation on the beautiful island of Santorini.


2.  The Local Cuisine
And I’m not talking about McDonald’s either!  When I travel, I love to try the local cuisine and experience the flavors of that country.  I may not be too adventurous when it comes to sampling anything & everything put on my plate (like my husband), but I definitely have an open mind.

Eating raw herring (the Dutch way) in Holland.
I was applauded by the locals for my technique!


3.  New Friendships
I’d have to say the greatest reason for travel is the opportunity to meet new people & make new friends.  The friends I made across the globe are some of the most warm and interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.  Because of them, I’ve grown as a person and have a deeper understanding of their cultures.

My wonderful host family in Lake Como, Italy.


4.  The History

No text book can provide you with the first hand experience and knowledge that travel can.  Growing up, history wasn’t my specialty mainly because I’m a very visual person, and I needed to be among history to really understand and appreciate it.  It makes all the difference to actually be among ancient ruins, touch a monument or stand in a field that was once a battlefield.  Travel is the text book I always wish I had in school.

History at my fingertips…the spectacular Colosseum in Rome.


5.  The Sights & Sounds

When I visit a new destination, I love spending the day just soaking up the atmosphere of that area, listening to the sounds, watching people go about their daily lives,  and just being a part of it all for that moment…it can be quite magical!

The Spanish Steps is a great place to people watch!


6.  Become More Adventurous
I don’t know what it is about travel, but it brings out the adventurer in me and gives me a confidence I don’t usually have at home.  Maybe it’s because all of my senses are heightened, but I embrace the challenges of the unknown, become more daring and throw caution to the wind…and I like it!

Skydiving in Queenstown, New Zealand.


6.  Inspires Creativity
Being a Graphic Designer, there are times when the creative juices just aren’t flowing.  Sure, I can look through some magazines and the internet for inspiration, but nothing makes the right side of my brain come alive more than when I’m traveling.  The sensory overload races through my mind, and I can’t get the ideas into my moleskin fast enough!  It’s the architecture, the people, the food, the cityscape, the colors, the sounds, the landscapes, the language, the culture…everything inspires me in new & exciting ways!

It’s easy to be inspired in Venice, Italy!


8.  Best Version of Myself
Travel brings out the best in me.  At home, I’m more of an introvert, but when I travel, I’m more outgoing and I strike up conversations easily with strangers.  I want to be more involved in what’s going on around me, my senses are heightened and so is my spirit, and I genuinely feel like myself.  Travel changes me for the better.  I’d love to bottle up that version of me, take it back home & put it into practice!

The best version of myself…even in Death Valley!


9.  Learning New Languages
Would I have immersed myself into taking an Italian class if I wasn’t going to Italy?  Probably not.  But I loved the language, and I actually flourished when I traveled solo to Italy.  It’s a rewarding feeling being able to speak to a local in their native tongue…and actually make sense!  Now I look forward to learning new languages when I travel abroad.

Chatting with a few Romans  🙂


10.  Capturing Memories
I admit it…I’m a photo junky.  Photography has been a passion of mine since I was a child, and it continues to be a part of my life today especially when I travel.  When I experience the warmth of a different culture, a beautiful sunset on another continent, or the vibrant pulse of an exotic city, I capture these moments through photography so I can look pack at these moments and relive the magic.

Glorious sunset in Holland.


11.  New Experiences
There’s always something new and exciting to experience when you travel.  Even if you didn’t plan on a particular experience, why not give it a try!  It might turn out to be the highlight of your trip!

An invigorating experience…a Turkish bath!


12. To Find Yourself

I didn’t initially start traveling to find myself…but to my surprise, I did just that!  It was traveling solo that helped me discover that I am fully capable of achieving much more than I thought possible.  It shaped me into the person I am today.  If you want to discover something about yourself – just travel!  There’s really no better learning experience.

I also learned that it’s not wise to wear shorts whilst glacier trekking!  LOL!


17.  Rest & Relaxation
You can’t deny the chance to just exhale, recharge the batteries and enjoy the experience at hand.

A little R&R overlooking the Mediterranean.


20.  Planning the Trip
Yes, you read correctly.  I can’t help it – I love planning the trip!  Some people would consider it “work”, but not me.  Sometimes it’s almost as fun as the trip itself (I said ALMOST.)  I love plotting our course, tracking down that amazing online bargain for flights, researching all of the things we want to do & see, booking our stay at some quaint b&b…or maybe rustic lodge…heck, even surfing on someone’s couch, and looking up train & bus schedules.  It’s nice to have things like accommodations & transportation planned, but I’m not the type of person who has to have every second of the day planned…part of the fun of traveling is…

No trip to Paris is complete without a stop at the Eiffel Tower! 


21.  Spontaneity!
You may have your trip all planned out, but a bit of spontaneity may enrich your experience even more!  We weren’t planning on going wine tasting in Orvieto, Italy, but after a trip to the visitor center, we discovered that Custodi Winery was just a bus ride away.  My husband called to confirm the time we’d be there, &  through his broken Italian, he somehow got his point across, and the owners (husband & wife) waited for our arrival.  We were the only ones there, & their daughter (who spoke English) gave us a personal tour of the winery, & we also enjoyed olive oil & wine samples.  She even personally drove us back to the Orvieto hilltop!  We wouldn’t have enjoyed such a pleasant afternoon or filled our bags with yummy wine had we not been open to spontaneity!

Spontaneity took us to Custodi Winery in Orvieto, Italy.

22.  Packing!
I’m not joking!  Ok so I used to hate packing because I would always pack way to much into one suitcase.  It was a chore hauling around this overstuffed suitcase wherever I went, and it lessened the joy of traveling.  One day I saw a backpacker moving around easily and freely with one small pack on his back.  I thought, now there’s a clever guy.  From that moment on, I learned to pack lightly with the bare essentials and clothing that I could mix & match.  Now I look forward to packing to see how “light” my bag can be.

My husband is an expert light packer!
(And packing light helps when you find yourself in confined spaces!)


23. I Feel the Most Alive!
Travel makes me feel alive and reminds me that I have a pulse.

Cruising my way to Ensenada, Mexico.


23. Romance
C’mon…I couldn’t leave that one out.  Whether it be with your honey or maybe a chance encounter on the road, travel does bring out that spark in people.  Travelers are more open to opportunities and adventure, and that is an attractive quality…don’t ya think?  🙂

My husband & I on the Grecian island of Hydra.


25. To Have Fun!
Enough said  😉

Fun in Cannon Beach, Oregon

So that concludes my list of why I love to travel (although that’s just the tip of the iceberg!)    I’d love to hear the reasons why you love to travel.  🙂

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