On Wednesday afternoon, my folks treated me to a goat cheese omelet, took a stroll around the garden with me and helped me remember last minute travel stuff. They drove me to the airport and dropped me off, and with that I started my pre-job trip. Many people have smiled at me knowingly and said, “Oh, good, one last trip before you start working.” For some reason, this always rubs me the wrong way, although it’s meant to be kind. It is not a last trip, though, it is just the next trip! And the idea that work begins a time of no travel makes me feel unnecessarily uncomfortable. So, this is not my last trip before starting my job, I say! It’s merely the next in a line of travels that will hopefully last for many decades to come!
My eight hour flight to London was uneventful and sleepless, for some reason. And although I napped, my four and a half hour flight to Istanbul seemed long and tiring as well. On arrival, though, I felt a smile pulling at my lips and got that glimmer of excitement that travel sparks in me. It’s been an odd few days leading up to this trip: no real giddiness or irrepressible excitement, really, until the day my travels began.
After a crowded subway and tram ride into the city proper, I found my hostel – Neverland – and checked into my four-bed dorm. It’s a pretty chill place, easy to walk right by somehow, but very themed around revolutionaries, activists and music. If I knew anything about music, I’d probably have appreciated the lobby’s selection more. As it was, it was relaxing to sit there and lounge on one of many lounge-able sofas, futons and chairs.
Then came a few hours bumming around with Matt, a guy I met at the archaeological dig in Israel last year and who has been living in Turkey teaching English to a rich couple’s four-year-old daughter. We had dinner and then he took me to a park overlooking the Bosphorous, where we could see the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and many minarets lit up in the night. We just chatted, catching up and telling travel stories. At around 11pm I returned to Neverland and promptly fell fast asleep.
Now I wait to start my trip to Colombo, which will take a four hour flight to Dubai, a four hour layover and another, five hour flight. At about 4am Sri Lankan time, I will have arrived!