Turkey is set to be a popular destination for a lot of other travel bloggers in 2012. I really am excited to follow their blogs, read their tales and also marvel at the amazing photographs that they take.
Everyone’s tales of their time in Turkey, is completely different so when I learned that Dalene and Pete from Hecktic Travels were spending three months, house sitting in Turkey, I simply had to get a greater insight into their travel plans for Turkey and what they think of the food, culture and traditions.
Who are Dalene and Pete?
Dalene and Peter Heck are a Canadian couple who sold everything in 2009 to travel the world. They spent a year exploring South America, settled in Honduras for six months, and then traveled through Europe for another six months.
Most recently, they spent six weeks in New York City and are now settled near Turkey’s Aegean Coast for three months. They tend to travel slowly and do a lot of housesitting along the way, with little bursts of rapid exploration thrown in.
Me : Hi Guys, welcome to the Turkish Travel Blog. You have been travelling for almost three years with no end in sight! Tell us how you fund your nomadic lifestyle.
Dalene and Pete : Thanks for having us Natalie! We fund our travels a couple of ways – we started out living solely off our savings but have been relying on them less and less as we go. We make some money via our travel blog and other freelance ventures.
We have new online business plans in the works and will be launching a few things very soon in order to make our travels entirely sustainable as we go.
Me : So you have arrived in Turkey. How long do you plan to stay? Do you have any special plans of places to see and things to do while here?
Dalene and Pete : We are here for three months, having landed a wonderful housesitting job near the northwest town of Burhaniye. It is a very traditional location and hardly anyone speaks English.
We wanted cultural immersion and we certainly have found it
Even though we have a commitment to look after a house and four dogs, the home owners have thoughtfully lined up someone to take our place for a couple of weeks so that we can go explore. We plan to hit many of the highlights along the Aegean Coast as well as spend some time in Istanbul.
Me : You may have experienced the hassle from the shops in Turkey. It is sometimes a bit over the top. Are you prepared to deal with the hassle or do you end up buying a load of junk because you cannot say no?
Dalene and Pete : We find the hassle from the shops here much more tolerable then in other places around the world. We do get a kick out of the guys selling carpets though, as we always respond by telling them we don’t have a house to put a carpet in.
Most just look shocked, but one guy offered to sell us his house, and another guy a nomadic tent. That’s some ingenuity!
We have to be very careful about what we buy because all we have is the 130 litres of combined space in our backpacks. That means we have gotten quite used to saying no.
Me : In most shops, if a price is not displayed then bargaining is an accepted tradition. How are your bargaining techniques? Are you able to grab a good bargain?
Dalene and Pete : Neither of us are big fans of bartering, which is okay, because we don’t tend to buy much anyways. If we do want something, we find the best technique is to show interest but then walk away from it. The price immediately drops. Keep walking, and it usually drops even further.
Me : I don’t think Turkish cuisine is the best in the world but would still recommend tasting it. Are you sampling culinary dishes such as Baklava and the varied kebab range or are you running for the nearest Burger King at every opportunity?
Dalene and Pete : I am overloading on Baklava. We live near a small town but there are a few shops, and we’ve been sampling them all to find the best. We’ve already tried gozleme, manti, kofte, and more. We also have a Turkish Cookbook and plan on trying to cook a few of our own.
Me : The Turkish language can sometimes be a bit of a tongue twister. Will you be attempting to master the basic words such as hello and goodbye or will most of your holiday time here consist of pigeon English and varied hand signals?
Dalene and Pete : Being here for three months, and living near a town with almost no English, we have no choice but to learn some words. We are actually enjoying it though! It is such a different language from anything we’ve learned before, that in a way it actually makes it a little bit easier.
Also, the people in the shops in town have been quite patient with us thumbing through our dictionary as we try to explain to them what we need, and they are always pleasantly surprised when we sometimes get it right the first time!
Me : I read your post on how you save money by house sitting. Tell us more about this unique way of choosing accommodation for your travels.
Dalene and Pete : Housesitting is by far our preferred way to experience a new location. Not only does it save us money (we typically live rent free, although sometimes we do pay a portion of utilities), but we also get to experience what it is really like to live as a local.
Longer housesits allow us the time to get involved in the community, sometimes even through volunteer work.
We are currently on our 8th housesit and they have ranged from two weeks to six months. For us, it is the perfect way to enjoy the perks of slow travel and keep our costs very low.
Me : Describe Turkey for readers who have not been here before. Is it living up to your expectations?
Dalene and Pete : Turkey is still largely unknown to us, so I am yet to pass much judgement. We spent only one day in Istanbul before making our way to our housesit and have explored this area just a little so far, using the quiet and remoteness of our location as a good excuse to get some work done.
What we do know for sure is that the people live up to the hype – they are incredibly courteous, hospitable and generous. All of our interactions have been so positive, and the local townspeople have been very patient as we stumble through our rough Turkish with them.
We can’t wait to see what the rest of our time here brings!
For some unique stories and photos of Turkey, follow Dalene and Pete while they house sit in the relatively unknown destination of Burhaniye and explore the Aegean coast & Istanbul
Are you a travel blogger who is headed to Turkey in 2012? If so, get in contact with me so I can follow your stories and interview you for the Turkish Travel Blog.
Readers Question : Have you heard or been to the Turkish town of Burhaniye? Any suggestions for Dalene and Pete as they explore the Aegean Coast of Turkey and Istanbul?