WHY I ChoSE Istanbul as my FIrSt solo trip: EXPERIENCES AND LESSONS!

 If you don’t get out of the box you’ve been raised in, you won’t understand how much bigger the world is.” – Angelina Jolie

20170215_104546Bosphorus cruise at night with a glass of wine with a nice view of the Bosphorus bridge and the Grand Mecidiye Mosque

Travelling and seeing new places, meeting new people and learning what lives in them gives me so much joy and puts a long-lasting smile on my face. Adventure ensures I stay in touch with the world, ensures I keep sane and best of all it ensures that I keep my adrenaline running. Someone rightly described me as an “adrenaline junkie “and  that’s by far the best description anyone has given me. I love it!

Let’s delve right into it. I decided to go on my first solo trip and I choose Istanbul! hurrayyy! Why Istanbul?

I wanted my first solo trip to be a place where I will NOT be willing to go on my own in order to challenge myself. Istanbul had amazing architecture filled with mazes and houses underground such that you are sure to get lost at some point. This was the reason I picked Istanbul. The choice was between Morocco and Istanbul, but Istanbul was closer. I made a choice not based on comfort but on discomfort. A choice to challenge my fears and to let loose. Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” – Caroline Myss

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Istanbul at night…. outside my hotel happily getting lost in the maze of buildings (spot the Galata tower)

Flying blind into an unpredictable situation makes me excited, however travelling into an unpredictable situation alone was filled with mixed feelings of excitement and fear of the unknown. Erica Jong rightly puts it: “I’ve not ceased being fearful, I’ve gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says: turn back, turn back, you’ll die if you go too far.”  And as if not knowing what awaits me was not scary enough, I decided to go there all by myself. what I learnt was that travelling alone required a higher level of awareness of my environment and taking charge of myself. Istanbul thought me to walk looking forward and at the same time picking clues from my environment without being awkward.

This piece is for all those who have been on solo trips around the world. Cheers to you brave and adventurous hearts! To all those who are scared of even the idea of going to a new world all alone, please please please get up! pack your bags !and set sail because once you do, everything changes. – As if it were that easy right? 🙂 it’s not and that why you have to do it at some point in your life. The world you leave behind will nonetheless stay the same but trust me a whole lot would have changed. Listen to the vice of Maya Angelou if not mine and go!  She said; “I love to see a young girl (boy) go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

My first solo trip to Istanbul was everything, why? because I gave it an open heart. Adventure has always been an adrenaline booster for me so going to Istanbul was the most exciting experience ever. Solo trip will teach you to express yourself and learn to enjoy your own company. You decide where to visit, where to eat and who to talk to. Travelling alone, if given a whole heart, will teach you to see the world with your heart and not fear every human but rather love each stranger equally.

Travelling alone ensures you get to express your individuality and also inspires your creativity. You always try to find ways of solving the unexpected situations you meet along the way. This helps to keep your creative juices flowing. When I landed at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, I was totally lost as to how to get to my hotel. I have a habit of picking hotels in the city centres that are closer to tourist destinations so I get to walk around a lot and stumble on other discoveries along the way. So my main hurdle is usually how to get from the airport to my hotel, returning to the airport is never an issue because I get to know my way around by then, albeit after getting lost a few times :).

I finally found my way to get a train with the help of an old lady at the airport and then another gentleman. On the train I was totally mesmerized by the view of the amazing Bosphorus bridge that I almost missed my stop. The key to finding my way through the maze of building was my ability to interact with strangers and ask for directions. My hotel was so close to the Galata tower so the night view from my window made me forget about all the hassle I went through to get there.

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The next day, I woke up and planned my day with specific places to visit. I usually don’t use mobile internet so, when I’m out of my hotel’s Wi-Fi zone, I’m technically blind!

Here are three methods you can adopt to ensure you don’t get lost out there on your solo trip

  1. Try to google the places you plan on visiting whiles at the hotel and screenshot the google direction for later.
  2. If you do get lost along the way, just find a Starbucks, McDonalds or KFC, grab yourself a cup of coffee or a meal deal and use Wi-Fi for free!! Hurray!
  3. If you can’t find any of the above where you are, just drop into any hotel and grab yourself a cocktail wink whiles you are at it, try to ask the bartender for the Wi-Fi passcode.

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A cup of latte for WI-FI not so bad a deal right… i get to read my novel and occasionally watch people passing by

You see, solo travel makes you a problem solver and a creative thinker and that is how I developed my own pointers above so go ahead and dare to travel alone, dare to get lost and find your way creatively. When you are out there on your own , you get to be responsible for you, move around unencumbered and enjoy your own company as much as you can

“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.” – Roman Payne

I got lost in the bazaar, and made a new friend, I tried finding my way from Hagia Sophia to my new hotel and I found me another stranger for keeps -yes I changed the hotel for a new view. It was planned.- I made a new friend at the blue mosque at night because he helped me to take a picture. I’m sure you are wondering how I get to openly do that. My answer to your question is that; when you go out there and meet new people, you learn to see the world with your heart and not your eyes. As the bible states so clearly; there is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear. Istanbul thought me to smile at every stranger even the one that looks suspicious. Most of the friends I made in Istanbul still chat with me and others even call me till date.

“Traveling solo does not always mean you’re alone. Most often, you meet marvelous people along the way and make connections that last a lifetime.” – Jacqueline Boone

Watch out soon for my next blog on "Ideas of what to do whiles solo travelling in Istanbul" with lots of pictures!

Any comments corrections or suggestions are always welcomed!

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14 thoughts on “WHY I ChoSE Istanbul as my FIrSt solo trip: EXPERIENCES AND LESSONS!

  1. Interesting! A very inspiring piece.
    In many ways, this write-up has inspired me to see the world from a different perspective – i.e. grab it by the lapel and kick its ass. After reading your experience; I have this sudden burning desire (in fact it feels more like a need) to go on a solo a trip, not necessarily because I have received a cure to my fear of travelling solo, but because I want to get out of the “box I was raised in”, and feel the magnificence of the world. I really like your tips on methods to prevent getting lost on a solo trip – they sound funny but true tho. Thank you for sharing your story! Indeed, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” (Maya Angelou, 1928-2014). I hope I am using Maya’s quote in the right context. Either ways I know you get me. 🙂 Teşekkürler Dorice!

  2. Truth be told,,Instanbul was the last place ,I actualled planned on visiting ,never crossed my mind but with what I’ve read,,I’m itching and now yearning to go there…..thanks so much for this blog

  3. Great! I knew this definitely had to be a great read 😉! One thing I know for sure is that it is inspiring me to go on a solo trip too. Moving out of my comfort zone and getting some serious adventures should be on my checklist this year. Thank Dee 😘

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