I have never been in Turkey and I only have a vague perception of what a trip to Turkey would be like. I have an image in my mind of ‘all inclusive, sun sea sand resorts’ for which you could go anywhere in the world, without knowing in which country you even are. I’m more the ‘nothing is included: let’s explore’ type. So, let’s explore! The only way to get a unbiased image of Turkey is through own experience. This week I am going to Bodrum, Turkey!
NOW? Is it safe to travel to Turkey?
‘Unsafe’ has also been added to my image recently. But my image of is based on what? On media and opinions of people I talk to, who mostly consume the same kinds of media. The news doesn’t have a very positive outlook: attacks in Istanbul, tension in the border region, politics, Syrian migrants, and terrorism threats. We hear about nothing but sadness and trouble. Should I really go there?
I should exactly go there. Right now.
24/7 thousands and thousands of messages get pushed at us through our digital devices. We have to be selective in what we read. And what do we feed ourselves with? We consume the negative stories. Because eventually we want to be safe and survive so we inform ourselves with the trouble situations.
We don’t hear about the disrupted lives of the local beach chair vendor, the jewelry maker, or the tour guide on how much they are affected by the massive drop in tourism numbers. They just want to feed their family and have a life. In the past years, close to 30 million people have been visiting Turkey yearly. Today millions of Turks are dependent on tourism for their livelihoods. With tourists and travellers starting to perceive Turkey as a no-go zone the impact on the locals is extremely harsh. Bookings have dropped 50% compared to the same period last year. Russians used to be the largest visitor group, now this is practically zero. Desperacy among the local community grows. We can support, by choosing Turkey for the next holiday, spend, and lend a hand. With dropped prices, less crowds, locals will appreciate our visit more than ever and our experience will be enhanced. This is the moment to visit Turkey.
I’m not ignorant. The things that are happening are terrible. But if there’s an attack in Paris, should we also stop going to France? After two earthquakes, Ecuador may be too risky too? Or perhaps avoid the whole of South America, since they have the Zika Mosquito now? Brussel, Paris, London, Boston might seem safer but, what happened there? Yesterday I almost got killed on the Dutch highway because of an aggressive driver who decided to cut my way. He’s definitely not the only roadpirate out there. I will feel safer in a coastal town, than zig zagging through hectic traffic zones where everyone is rushing to make a living, instead of live. Statistically, the most risky part of travel is the ride to and from the airport. And if you look at more stats, the number of terrorist attacks in Turkey has actually dropped since 1992. We only know about it more now because of the hyperconnected world we live in these days.
Of course I follow the advice and avoid travel to areas near the Syrian border. But this is thousands of miles away. It’s like avoiding travel to Spain because in the UK there’s trouble. Now we all massively go on holiday to Spain or Italy. But now Spain is said, by the media, to become a target because ‘everyone’ is going there instead. So where can we go where it’s still “safe”?
Nowhere in the world it’s 100% safe. But if we’re going to fear all this, would this world become a better place? We are led by fear these days. We can’t let fear dominate our lives. We have to live, not just survive. We should cut out on media consumption, get out and explore for ourselves. We simply never know what’s going to happening because we’re living in the NOW. With the world getting overpopulated, more environmental and social events will stress our lives. It is extremely likely, if not a fact, that only more is going to happen. As Jim Carrey puts it, “You will only ever have 2 choices. Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”
So I’m going to Turkey and I’m super excited about it. I want to experience the real essence of the destination, get to know the cool local spots and places, discover the adventure potential, meet the locals, and get cultured. So I can base an image on my own experience.
I’m looking forward to absorb the ambience in the streets, figure out cultural differences by interacting with the locals, admire new landscapes, and try the Aegean cuisine.
What will the beach scene look like? What shall I discover underwater? What do the locals eat? Which flowers will I smell? How is the street ambience? How does a real turkish hammam work? What are the Turkish dreaming of? What does the local newspaper say? What does Turkey do in terms of reducing, re-using, recycling? How can I help and contribute to the local scene at the best I can do?
Armed with my reusable straw, filtered waterbottle, and freedive flippers to minimize my footprint, i’ll be off to Bodrum.
I will get the absolute most out of this Turkey adventure. Not just for myself, but for the places and people I’ll be visiting that are in most cases less fortunate than I. They live there so I’m going to live the place as well.
FOLLOW THE ADVENTURE #TIMEFORBODRUM
About Suzanne, the author
Suzanne is an ambassador for adventure and advocate for sustainability. With her extreme curiosity for discovering new cultures, places, she has been slow travelling around the world for +11 years now. As an ocean adventurer and advocate she’s always looking for the next cool coastal town, water play potential and ways to protect the playground. With her blog DestinationXploration, she aims to inspire and broaden minds, to make others aware how they can get the absolute most out of active travel and (long-term) adventures. Not just for themselves, but for the places and people they are visiting, that are in most cases less fortunate than the traveller.
About me: www.TheOceanpreneur.com