Eleven Days Until Turkey

I’m headed off to Turkey in just under two weeks, for a brief spring break trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia. While the idea of visiting Turkey has always been high on my interest list, the past few weeks have made the prospect of traveling there a bit more daunting. The country has suffered a series of appalling terrorists attacks, including one in the tourist center of old Istanbul, and I’ve found myself more nervous about the prospect of traveling there than I’ve been since I finally took that first international trip a few years ago, when I wasn’t sure that I would have the brainpower and extrovert skills necessary to figure out passport control in a new country.

Yeah, I know. I was awfully new to travel for someone as old as I was.

As my concerns grew about this upcoming trip, I explored options like ending my flight in Paris and spending a week traveling around Western Europe, or even landing in Istanbul and hopping on a flight to another, safer location. A $79 flight to Budapest looked awfully tempting, given how “excellent good” I found the city last fall, but in the end, I decided that I can’t justify not taking this trip or letting fear get in the way of something I’ve always wanted to do.

This post isn’t meant to be some political rant about not giving in to terror. The simple truth is that I am going to make my journey to Turkey, barring some significant event in the next two weeks, not to make any statement or stand up to the irrational forces that make not just travel, but life, more dangerous than it ought to be. I’m going to Turkey because I’ve always been fascinated by the culture, and look forward to making new friends and experiencing new ideas and places. I’m going to make this trip to Turkey because I want to be a better citizen of the world, and I’m making this trip because I want to eat and drink all the delicious things Turkey will certainly offer.

Fear is a powerful force, and sometimes we are right to listen to it, but at this point in my life, with what limited wisdom I have managed to accumulate, it seems that what I should most fear is not doing the things I want, not taking the occasional risk when I do.

So, in a few weeks, get ready for your Instagram to be filled with amateurish photos of mosques, bazaars, spice markets and more, and this blog to be filled with inexpert words expressing wonder at the joy of discovering a new place.