“I had always considered myself to be strong and independent. But there’s no way to feel more strong and independent than when you’re wandering through Kadıköy market on the Asian side of Istanbul, solo...”
Here I sat on a perch overlooking the Wadi Rum Dessert reflecting on the whirlwind week that I had just experienced.
How is it possible for your life outlook and perspective to change so much in just one week abroad? I spent seven days between Istanbul and the Cappadocia region in Turkey and was 48 hours into a week-long trip travelling around Jordan.
Who would have thought a casual work friendship would eventually lead to an overseas wedding invite and this profound trip of a lifetime?
I had never really travelled before, *gulp*. Sure, I have done some pretty cool family vacations and one trip to England to visit my sister—but nothing like this! I knew I wanted to go to Jordan, and I was pretty sure I wanted to tack on another week somewhere else, and I knew I wanted a travel buddy!
So out one night with girlfriends and too much Barefoot wine, I convinced Melissa, who at the time was just a friend-of-a-friend, to join me on the adventure! Obviously, we were looking forward to the trip, but it turned out half the fun was planning it and letting our imagination take the steering wheel!
The trip was a blur, far too many memories to list here. The experience, indescribable.
I learned so much about geography, history, climate, culture, and traditions… but I also learned a lot about ME! Wasn’t expecting that!
I had always considered myself to be strong and independent. But there’s no way to feel more strong and independent than when you’re wandering through Kadıköy market on the Asian side of Istanbul, solo, with a rolled-up Lonely Planet, looking for a particular restaurant.
Melissa and I parted ways for the day, and I WAS SO LOST! I was panicking and trying to calm down by reasoning with myself:
Question: What’s the worst thing that can happen to you right now?
Answer: You can’t find the restaurant, retrace your steps, take the ferry back to the European side of Istanbul, back to your hostel, and cry into your pillowcase…
By the way, I was totally okay with that option too, but I decided to blaze on.
I ended up stopping and asking for help. STROKE OF LUCK! The person I asked for help didn’t speak English but called a friend of his at another shop over to help me out. That friend hurried over, and she almost literally took me by my hand and walked me the 20 minutes to the restaurant.
When I recovered from the shock that I had not been kidnapped, I offered to buy her lunch out of gratitude. She shushed me off but said she would join me because it was lunchtime. Toward the end of the meal, she excused herself to the restroom, and again I thought to myself, “well, I think that’s the last I’ll ever see of her, she has skipped out before the bill arrives, but no worries.” (I was going to pay anyway.) WRONG AGAIN, she had taken care of the bill and was ready to walk me back down to my ferry dock.
And if the story isn’t unbelievable enough as is, Meltem and I connected on Facebook, and two years later while visiting Istanbul, my brother attempted to take her out for lunch. He too failed as she yet again snagged the bill. We’ll get her back one of these days!
Anyway, I made it—I survived! Not entirely on my own, but I created the adventure! I’m stronger and more independent than I was when I left, with a new friend—an incredible woman, 8,000 kilometres away.
Author - Kate Meyer
Kate Meyer is from Canada. She works in the agriculture industry and loves walking and exploring new countries. She has a travel bucket list that's far too long.