My heart goes out to the people of Turkey in light of recent events. Writing this post has reminded me of how lucky I was to visit Istanbul last summer, experience Turkish culture and meet awesome people.
Mattia and I flew into Istanbul from Mykonos, Greece. It was late and very dark outside while we were riding our taxi to the hotel. When it was time to pay, it was dark and I was tired, so I wasn’t paying the closest attention when I handed the taxi driver some bills. He insisted it wasn’t enough and demanded more. I knew something was wrong and said I needed change. It turned into a bad shouting match between us—he was scary and big and kept glaring at me and yelling. Finally he left us, cursing because we refused to give him any more money.
I was disappointed that we got scammed, but knew it was largely my fault for not being more careful. I spent the entire night researching on different scams in Istanbul and got more and more scared—almost anything could turn into a scam!
The next day, I wasn’t in the best of moods to explore the city, but forced myself to go outside. I got more and more excited and happy at every turn—the city and the people were beautiful! I loved seeing so many cultures coming together in one place. I loved meeting kind people and sharing their love of Turkish delight and Turkish coffee. I loved being immersed in the city’s wondrous architecture and energy.
This trip served as a reminder that no matter how much I travel, I can make simple travel mistakes. No matter how much I think I know or how much I think I prepared, there is always something new to learn. I was also reminded to look to the positive in every situation, and not let one setback ruin a trip.