Dave has spent over a decade backpacking around the world, visiting countries such as South Africa, Vietnam, and Croatia. He writes at http://www.whatsdavedoing.com and after ten years has finally decided to put Turkey on his agenda.
He agreed to an interview so I could get an insider’s look at his travel plans and style.
1 – So Dave, you have given Turkey the cold shoulder for the last ten years. Is there any reasonable explanation for avoiding us? After all, as a backpacking destination; Turkey is often first on the list of places to go.
I have no reasonable excuse at all! Now that I’m here, I really can’t believe it took me this long to make the trip. Trust me, it won’t be another 10 years before I’m back…
2 – Readers will ask how someone can financially travel for ten years. Did you
A – Win the lottery and not tell anyone?
B – Are you the secret son of a billionaire entrepreneur?
C – Are you the worlds greatest rip off artist and wanted by Interpol?
D – Are you location independent when it comes to work?
For most of the last 15 years, I’ve mixed travel with work – with varying degrees of success.
I’d work for a while, then travel until the money started to run out, then do it all again.
Eventually I got sick of trying to juggle a “normal” career with a travel addiction, so decided to try to fund ongoing travels via travel writing and other freelance work. So far, so good – most of the time, at least!
3 – Most of the Turkey bloggers like an alcoholic drink after a long day in the sun! The two most popular alcoholic drinks in Turkey are Raki and Efes. Which one are you drinking and why?
I drink a lot more Efes than I do Raki, but to be honest I’m most partial to an extremely cold vodka after a long hot travel day…
4 – Have you seen the film midnight express? It is about a man who is jailed in Turkey for smuggling drugs.
Many people, who have not been here, assume it is a true portrayal of the country even though the director admitted it was massively over exaggerated. What pre-conceptions did you have of Turkey before you came here?
I must admit that I haven’t seen the film, although I’ve heard it referred to a couple of times since I’ve been here. Before I came to Turkey, I expected a lot more hassle from touts and salesmen on the streets than I have experienced – people generally seem genuinely friendly and helpful towards travelers, without an ulterior motive.
Muslim men don’t always have a great reputation from female travelers either, but my girlfriend has experienced very little harassment when she has been out exploring in Turkey, either with me or by herself.
5 – I like to think that your life of travel is teaching you cool things. So tell me the first three Turkish words you have learnt?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first three Turkish words I learned revolved around transport (‘otogar’), food (‘pide’) and drink (‘ayran’). Some days I think I could almost survive entirely with that vocabulary…
6 – Have you heard that annoying but catchy song called Istanbul, not Constantinople? One line of the lyrics is…
Why did Constantinople get the works?
You went to Istanbul, so did you delve into the history of Constantinople by visiting the famous historic sites like Topkapi palace and Hagia Sophia?
I was extremely impressed by virtually all of the historic sites that I’ve visited in Istanbul. I spent several days in the Sultanahmet area, just wandering around exploring the neighbourhood and all of its amazing architecture.
The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Gülhane Park and the various museums were all fantastic, but I also enjoyed just walking around beside the Bosphorus and imagining life as it was under the Romans and Ottomans centuries ago.
7 – Fill in the blank. Turkish people are ___________
Quite remarkable. Warm, friendly and wonderfully welcoming, the people make this country what it is.
8 – Imagine you are president of Turkey for one day. What message would you send to the rest of the world?
Leave your preconceptions at home and come explore Turkey – you’ll never regret it.
9 – How long will you be in Turkey for?
Around six or seven weeks, all up. It seems like a reasonable length of time, but I really feel as if I’m just scratching the surface.
10 – Which places do you plan to visit while you are here?
Istanbul, obviously, then working my way down the coast (Gallipoli, Selcuk/Ephesus) to meet some friends and go sailing along the coastline from Fethiye for two weeks.
After that, I’ll probably spend another couple of weeks somewhere around the southwestern coast before returning to Istanbul to fly out. No Cappadocia this time – I need to give myself another reason to return!
Dave has already posted some articles about Turkey on his blog
To get future updates of when Dave publishes an article about Turkey, follow him on Facebook
Readers Question : Do you have any hints and tips for Dave while he is here?
Additional note- There is a very good reason why Dave wears dresses. He is raising money for girls in Sierra Leone to gain an education. If you would like to help the cause, you can find out more here.