Friday, July 24, 2009

Making My Own Luck

Every once in awhile, as I'm sitting on a terrace enjoying the magical skyline of İstanbul, or hearing the akşam call to prayer as the sun is starting to set, or hanging out with my new Turkish friends (canım) over çay while playing tavla and almost every single time I cross over the Bosphorus, I think to myself "How lucky am I?" İstanbul is such a beautiful city and here I am, living in the midst of it all! Truly, how lucky am I?

I had such a thought yesterday as I sat in a cafe in Tunel, reading a book (Louis de Dernières' "Birds Without Wings," superb!) in the middle of the day. I thought, "How did I get here? How did I come to have a life where I could just while the days away like this?"

I think back on the struggle I had deciding to leave my job, my wonderful friends and essentially my life in New York, the constant weighing of the uncertainty of the unknown against the comfortable routine I had become so accustomed to. In the end, my need for self-discovery and my simple but unrelenting desire for new and challenging adventures won out.

So here I am, in mystical İstanbul, the current love of my life. My life as is it now has very little to do with luck. I choose this. I MADE my own luck!

I encourage everyone to make more of their own luck in their lives, no matter how big or small. You never know what will transpire and where you might just end up!

And I must say again to my dear family and friends, thank you all SO MUCH for your amazing support and for encouraging me to follow my heart. You are each priceless and I hold you all in the highest of esteems. A special thank you to the Tunaman Parlak
ışık family for opening their hearts, their home and their lives to me. And of course, to my mom and dad, for letting me forge my own path in life. I love you all!

© Connie Hum 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Need Your Advice: Plan My Next Travel!!!

Çok üzgünüm! I have roughly 7 more weeks left in Istanbul! I really don't feel ready to leave this wonderful city yet but I'm also looking forward to more traveling. There's a Turkish proverb that basically says once you visit Istanbul, you have "the finger of Istanbul stuck in your butt" and that you are always compelled to return. Odd as it seems, I completely understand and I know this is only the beginning of my growing love affair with the 'Bul.

I'm starting to think about my post-Istanbul travels and I'm hitting the all too familiar too-much-to-do-but-not-enough-time-in-my-life-to-do-it problem.

With my current travel itinerary, I will have approximately three and a half weeks post-Istanbul to travel BEFORE returning to Istanbul to meet my parents for some traveling WITHIN Turkey (assuming that they are able to make it out here). Originally, I thought of flying to Jordan for a couple of weeks and then flying to Egypt for another couple of weeks, giving me plenty of time to travel around both countries at a very leisurely pace and do a little bit of hanging out.

Now, after further research and map consulting (really, I just looked at a map of the region), I'm considering adding Beirut and Damascus to the itinerary, given their close proximity to Jordan and Egypt. However, this means more travel time and less time exploring each place.

Then there's Djibouti, just further south of Egypt. I've been dreaming of going there ever since I read an article about this small African country in DIVE magazine. It's a bit more out of the way and unfortunately, whale sharks aren't there until December/January, but how often will I be thisclose to Djibouti? To be honest, as I'm typing, the more I'm convinced to save Djibouti for another time when I can dive with the whale sharks since that's the main reason I want to go there in the first place.

So what do you think I should do? Take advantage of being in the region and see more countries in the time that I have or take things slow and stick to my original plan of going to only Jordan and Egypt? Perhaps go to another country that I haven't yet considered? I'm more interested in Beirut than Damascus so maybe I should do Beirut, Jordan and Egypt? Should I take into serious consideration the security issues with Lebanon and Syria? I don't want that to be a reason I don't travel somewhere but it would also be foolish to blindly walk into danger.

There are so many choices! I can't decide! İmdat! What do you suggest I do?

© Connie Hum 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Swim, Eat, Repeat

I had the amazing experience of spending the last four days on a beautiful boat in the Mediterranean Sea with my host family. We left the port in Göcek Sunday afternoon and spent the following four days on the boat. My days consisted of waking up, swimming, eating, swimming, eating, swimming, eating, swimming, eating, swimming, sleeping. Repeat. It was brilliant!

The water was crystal blue and clear, the moon was mostly full during the nights, which didn't offer us great star-gazing opportunities but the nights were incredibly beautiful nonetheless.

I foolishly forgot to charge my camera battery so I wasn't able to take that many photos, but the family took some which I will post on my website shortly.

Even now, back on dry land and sitting at a table, I feel as though I'm still swaying! I'm looking forward to going back to the boat next month!

© Connie Hum 2009

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