Reflections / Travel / Turkey

What Am I Doing Here, Anyway?

Thursday marked the end of my first month in Istanbul, and I feel like it’s an occasion that warrants a more verbal update. A lot is different and better than when I first arrived, and I’m excited to see what the next several weeks have in store. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the photos, as it’s been great fun having the opportunity to take them and share them with you. I have many more queued to post and there will be, of course, plenty more later on as well, but my artistic eye sometimes wearies, and it’s important to occasionally take the time to also appreciate things with my mind’s eye as opposed to just my camera’s. I suppose, though, if anyone is curious as to what I’ve actually been doing here, my photo albums can offer a pretty accurate summary.

For the most part, I’m seeing things and taking it slow. I’m here for a long time, and it’s looking like I might have several months ahead without much demanding employment, so I’ve about decided that this summer will serve as a sort of vacation for me. I’ve been asked plenty of times by plenty of people what I’m doing here, or what my job is, and many of you are probably wondering the same thing. I’ve been here for several weeks now, and with that would ideally come some semblance of direction and a source of income, right?

I’ll admit my answers have varied whenever I’m asked what my purpose is in Istanbul, not because I’m inclined to lie about anything, but because I’m still not entirely sure. Sometimes I’ll say that I’m a writer or a photographer. Other times I’ll be a teacher. I plan to dabble in all three at some point during my stay, but I’ve yet to actually find employment in any of those areas. Earning money writing and photographing is difficult anywhere in the world, and success with them comes only with a diligent and persistent Little-Engine-That-Could attitude. Teaching is different, and positions are pretty easy to come by here, but things in that arena have slowed down with the summer months approaching.

But that’s okay, I think. I was prepared to move here and spend at least a couple months submerging myself in the city and culture without worrying too much about finding work. I’m exceptionally fortunate, thanks to generous help from my parents and my own hard work over the past year, that I don’t have to worry about spending all my time and energy doing something to make ends meet. Instead I’m free, completely and totally, to explore Istanbul at my leisure and find ways to pursue the crafts that bring me (and my readers!) such joy. In terms of the writing and photography, then, I hope to create a lot of it, and hopefully in a few months I’ll have a pretty impressive portfolio and a helpful, entertaining travel blog ready to show off. By that time, it’ll be autumn, schools will be opening up again, and if I need some money, I can teach. I’m looking forward to it, regardless of how things unfold.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing some shopping and lots of sight-seeing. I treated myself to a nice leather jacket, which are good quality and relatively inexpensive here, and I also bought a couple Turkish lanterns, in addition to various other clothing and household items to make me feel more at home. I’ve been taking a lot of walks in no particular direction, and I’ve been riding buses just to see where they take me. I’ve been making visits to tax offices and police stations to get my phone registered and apply for my residence permit. I’ve been writing, reading, researching, and posting pictures. Plus, I found a small publishing business that offers transcription services, so I’ve been helping out with that to make some quick change. Not to mention I’ve done all of this completely alone (save some guidance regarding the permit), which really feels fantastic, not only because it’s affirming, but also because if I ever change my mind or want to move at a different pace, I never need to feel bad or consult anyone. In all, I feel relaxed and happy and productive, and things are going well.

My lanterns from the Grand Bazaar. ~$40 for the loveliest lighting I've ever had!

My lanterns from the Grand Bazaar. ~$40 for the loveliest lighting I’ve ever had!

The last few evenings have been spent with çay and LOTR by lantern light.

The last few evenings have been spent with çay and LOTR. If you’re interested in contributing to my fledgling e-book library, please let me know! :)

In other good news, a dear friend (also a writer) I met while in Cambodia will be arriving on Thursday to begin her own global adventure of self-discovery. We have plans to do lots of extended traveling together and to start a travel website, creating a project that revolves around our experiences and helps show others how important and meaningful travel can be. It will be much like this blog, I imagine, but with two classy ladies telling the tales. I’m excited beyond words for her arrival. We shared a great connection in Cambodia, and I’ve missed that, and I think we’ll make a pretty mean team.

Apart from that, there’s not much to report. I’ll have some more photo galleries posted soon. In the meantime, all my love!

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3 thoughts on “What Am I Doing Here, Anyway?

  1. Sara, you certainly can paint a beautiful picture of your surroundings. Sharing your thoughts and pictures is a gift and I enjoy hearing about al of your adventures. Take care and keep posting. Bev at Casper

    • Thank you, Bev! That means a lot, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’m sorry we didn’t have a Chipotle date before I left, but let’s say I owe you one when I return!

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