As February draws to a close, I realize it’s been over a year since I visited Istanbul, Turkey. Even longer since I went anywhere else except Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary(not like that’s small zemiaky, but, you know, those 3 countries basically all meet at a corner and that corner is pretty much where I was living).
I’ve been in the same country for over 6 months in a row! Where is my sense of adventure?…although I guess that I have been to New York, California, Minnesota, and various spots in between, it doesn’t feel the same somehow. There’s this feeling I get when I’ve traveled somewhere for the first time, and I get back, and some time goes by, and I look at my pictures, and I think, “You know, I could do that so much better now.” Like I got smarter at traveling or something, even if I know I really didn’t.
You see, when I was in Istanbul, I got lost a lot. Or rather, we got lost a lot, dear Willow (travel name) and I.
We took a ferry to Asia with nothing but an address and her iPod’s GPS to get us where Willow wanted to go (we didn’t get there).
We wandered around the bazaar for hours one day, getting heckled by various sellers- “Hey Britney! Hey Christina! Hey insert-popular-celebrity-white-girl-name!”- and then not knowing what we actually wanted to buy.
We tried to get to the airport with little knowledge of how to do so, beyond a rough knowledge of which buses might get us there and some idea of the direction and how long it might take us if we stopped at the Chora church on the way; a trip that ended in us grumpy, almost walking off in opposite directions in some mad competition to see who was smart enough to find the airport.
Shortly after that, we were at a loss for finding vegetarian food that our end-of-vacation budgets could afford, and were only sustained in the end by a strange and mysterious stand right outside the city walls, where a man was sell mozzarella-like sandwiches for practically pennies right when we’d given up hope; I was seriously considering huddling on a park bench and waiting to see if my family or my coworkers missed me when I disappeared.
Willow and I went on several trips that year, sometimes with other people, for anywhere from a day to nearly a week. Istanbul was by far both the most expensive and the most poorly planned. And yet, looking back, I still miss it and wish I could go back and try again, petting the cats and eating the street doughnuts and trying to haggle less pathetically.
Oddly enough, I sort of hate traveling. But I hate staying in the same place for too long even more.