“Q: what’s the worst thing that can happen to you right now?
A: you can’t find the restaurant, you retrace your steps, take the ferry back to the European side of Istanbul, back to your hostel, and cry into your pillow case...”
How is it possible for your life outlook and perspective to change so much in just one week abroad? I just spent 7 days between Istanbul and the Cappadocia region in Turkey and was 48 hours into a week long trip travelling around Jordan.
Who would have thought a casual work friendship would eventually lead to an overseas wedding invite and this profound trip of a lifetime?
I had never really travelled before, *gulp*. Sure, I have done some pretty cool family vacays and one trip to England to visit my sister… but nothing like this! All I knew was that I wanted to go to Jordan, and I was pretty sure I wanted to tack on another week somewhere else - and I wanted a travel buddy!
The first amazing thing that happened on the lead up to this trip was that while I was out one night with girlfriends and too much Barefoot wine, I was able to convince Melissa, who at the time was just a friend-of-a-friend, to join me on the adventure! Obviously we were looking forward to the trip, but it turned out half the fun was planning it and letting our imagination take the steering wheel!
The trip was a blur, far too many memories to list here. The experience? Indescribable. I learned so much about geography, history, climate, culture, and traditions… but I also learned a lot about ME! Wasn’t expecting that!
I had always considered myself to be strong and independent. But there’s no way to feel more strong and independent then when you’re wandering through Kadıköy market on the Asian side of Istanbul, solo, with a rolled up Lonely Planet, looking for a restaurant that you had read about.
Melissa and I parted ways for the day and I WAS SO LOST! I was panicking and had to tell myself, “Q: what’s the worst thing that can happen to you right now? A: you can’t find the restaurant, you retrace your steps, take the ferry back to the European side of Istanbul, back to your hostel, and cry into your pillow case...” By the way, I was totally OK with that option too, but I decided to blaze on.
I ended up stopping and asking for help. STROKE OF LUCK! The person I asked for help didn’t speak English, but called a friend of his at another shop over to help me out. That friend hurried over and she almost literally took me by my hand and walked me the 20 minutes to the restaurant.
When I recovered from the shock that I had not been kidnapped, I offered to buy her lunch out of gratitude. She shooshed me off but said she would join me because it was lunchtime. Toward the end of lunch she excused herself to the restroom and again I thought to myself, “well, I think that’s the last I’ll ever see of her, she has skipped out before the bill arrives, but no worries.” (I was going to pay anyway.) WRONG AGAIN, she had taken care of the bill and was ready to walk me back down to my ferry dock.
And if the story isn’t unbelievable enough as is, Meltem and I connected on Facebook and two years later while visiting Istanbul, my brother attempted to take her out for lunch. He too failed as she yet again snagged the bill. We’ll get her back one of these days!
Anyway, I made it, I survived! Not completely on my own, but I created the adventure! I’m more strong and independent than I was when I left, with a new friend, an incredible woman, 8,000 kilometers away.
My name is Kate Meyer. I am a 30 year old woman living in London, Ontario, working in the agriculture industry. Though I’ve done a fair bit of travelling, one of my favourite trips will always be a family vacation we took in Alaska when I was a kid. When I travel, I’m most interested in diving into the local food and entertainment scene, and I like to do A LOT of walking/exploring. My travel bucket list is too long! Two travel quotes that bring a smile to my face, “The journey not the arrival matters” (T.S. Elliot) & “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles” (Tim Cahill). You can contact Kate by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.