A Turkish Vacation
What's that you say? My entire 3-month trip was a vacation? You'd be sort of right. But different segments of my trip had decidedly different feels. Georgia/Armenia was a budget solo ride with little advance planning. Iran was a higher-end group tour where almost every minute was scheduled, but I didn't have to plan any of it. And the final leg? As I flew from Tehran to Istanbul to meet up with one of my closest friends, Isabel, who would join me for the next 12 days, I knew this was going to be yet another kind of travel - an actual vacation.
Travel vs Vacation
Maybe it's just semantics, but to me there's a big difference between traveling and taking a vacation. The kind of slow travel that I did for the first 2 months involved sharing hostel dorm rooms, taking crowded and questionably safe public transportation, and also doing lots of regular day-to-day stuff like finding the pharmacy, buying groceries, and having dinner with friends - most days were not particularly relaxing, and many were not especially exciting. They were just life, lived somewhere different (which, don't get me wrong, I LOVED. I've never been so proud at a drug store as when I figured out how to buy contact solution in Georgia.)
Turkey, on the other hand, was Isabel's big trip for the year. She's a really impressive and important lawyer who's changing lives for her clients seeking asylum, many of whom are survivors of domestic violence. It's a hard job, an emotional job - and she needed a vacation. So we planned out every detail, from the quaint bed and breakfasts to a sunrise hot air balloon ride, for maximum enjoyment in minimal time. As we lounged on the deck of our private boat in a secluded lagoon off the Turkish coast, I joked that it felt like we were on a honeymoon... actually, if you need help planning a Turkish honeymoon, contact me. I have an itinerary all set for you! ;-)
Don't be fooled, though - Isabel and I still managed to cram an awful lot of activities into a short time. Lots of pictures and posts coming your way!
Do you prefer to travel or vacation?