I haven’t done much travel abroad. Well, “difficult traveling” that is. I’ve spent two spring breaks in London and Paris (which may as well have been as diffıcult as goıng to Maine and Quebec) and been on a tour of China with my family when I was 14 (a very very organized tour with 6 other American families). So while I may claim to have seen parts of the world outside the US,  lessons in actual autonomous traveling have not really been my thing.

Needless to say, getting off the plane in Istanbul 72 hours ago, armed only with a backpack, some magazines, and an old burrito (don’t ask), I’ve learned a few things since I’ve landed.

1.  Some airports are baggage claim, then customs, then exit. Some are customs, then baggage claim, then exit. Assuming one order over the other (or forgetting about customs entirely) is foolish and makes meeting up with people much more diffıcult. Note to future self: being super specific never hurts.

2. It takes me some time to adjust to a different setting. But not because I am overwhelmed with the foreignness. Actually I tend to focus on the similarities. “Hey they also have Fanta! and Starbucks! and BP! And this neighborhood reminds me of a neighborhood in New Jersey!” It may be that I have held the experiences of others too much as “other”. I think if I am going to absorb any culture, I’m going to have to force my eyes open and find the differences.

3. Small naps are the best way to beat jet lag.

4. I think the guy who does subway announcements in New York could take a few lessons from his older brother who lives in Cappadocia and does the call to prayer here. Seriously New York dude, no one can understand you.

5. These thoughts aren’t anything unique or spectacular. It has only been 72 hours. Actual life changing events should be coming up.

— steph



- At time of posting in Cappadocia, it was 14 °C - Humidity: 94% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy


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June 2011