The last seven years, the first seven months
After seven months of blogging, I’d like to look back at the last seven years traveling as a couple that have made this moment possible. I have never thought we’d come this far and the blog will become such an integral part of our family.
We had just landed in Izmir, exhausted after seven hours’ delay followed by three hours’ wait in the airport for lost luggage. As we started driving away from the city lights onto the motorway, and then into pitch darkness on the way to Ildir, I could smell the freedom. It was in the invisible presence of the sea, in the summer wind, in the loud, peaceful song of the crickets, in the bloomed begonville, celebrated by brightly lit minarets and by the tired, excited happiness of our first holiday together. I had just met the love of my life and within the substance of our relationship was – and still is – the liberating opportunity of being ourselves in each and every circumstance. It is this feeling, beyond anything else, that makes us tick as a couple, and which we substantiate best in our travels. We are a well-oiled entity when we travel, from dreaming and planning to booking, packing, overcoming pitfalls, and diving into the unknown. During our first two-weeks holiday we discovered Izmir and the Aegean shore of Turkey – from Cesme and Alacati to visiting Ephesus and Meryemana Evi, driving to Karaburun to eat fish, and exploring every isolated beach around Ildir – followed by a drive to Antalya over the steep roads that cross the Taurus mountains. Mineral springs in Pamukkale, fresh figs from Denizli, souvenir shopping in Antalya’s Kaleici, moon rises over Apollo’s temple in Side, sunsets in the ancient theater Aspendos, lazy days at the beach, the Kursunlu national park, Manavagat’s bazaar, Alanya’s Damlatas cave and castle – ample opportunities to discover ourselves and the feeling of borderless opportunity for growth, of unencumbered freedom, one only gets from being in the right place, at the right time, with the right person.
Dream, Book, and Travel is, alongside our memories and experiences, the tangible expression of this feeling, a never-ending drive on the motorway towards well-known or novel destinations, towards the fulfillment and richness that only travel can render, towards our better selves. It takes shape seven years later as it needed its own time to evolve from mere feeling to a life-changing project. Immediately after our trip to Turkey, I took a job as a molecular biology postdoc in Vienna, the logical next step in my scientific career. One year later Sinan found a similar position, which for us meant two things. That one, we would settle in Vienna and start calling it home, with all that implies – and two, we would use our resources to travel extensively and enjoy life to its fullest. During these years we grew into the habit of looking up destinations suggested by a book we read randomly, a restaurant we tried in Vienna, or a wine we drank. That’s how we discovered Florence, Portugal, or Provence, respectively. We would spend the winter months then collecting information, pouring over books, maps, websites, planning itineraries and budgets, booking solidly. We believe thorough planning gives room for more freedom and improvisation at the destination. This is how, over the past years, we have traveled to more places than we can count in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Greece, Macedonia, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Austria, Turkey, and Romania. Our travels have been as much about touristic sights, history and architecture, as they have been about culture, mentality, food, drink, and customs. Equally extensive as our list of memories and experiences is our list of dream destinations, travel projects and ideas that we have not yet materialized. One of the aims of Dream, Book, and Travel, is to make you a part of our process when these plans become reality. We would like to talk to you as if sharing a glass of wine in our kitchen while planning together your and our next trip.
Seven months ago, coincidentally also seven months pregnant, I left my postdoc job. Literary the next day I started Dream, Book, and Travel. The time was right, the idea was ripe, and the fulfillment both maternity and the website bring has made these past months the most exciting ones in my life. I feel as free as when I was driving on the motorway towards Ildir, without leaving my Viennese neighborhood for days on end. I have to confess, this freedom is due to our daughter Ilinca Yagmur, who has taught us to cherish the moment rather than look into the future. Don’t worry, we still plan our and your next itineraries, but at the same time, we will also write about how we spend uniquely personalized days in Vienna, and the short trips we take. What Ilinca Yagmur also brought in our lives, besides inexhaustible joie de vivre and curiosity, is an unparalleled intensity in everything we do. She transformed our routine into a carousel of feelings, small achievements, insightful moments, that make us so much richer at the end of every single day. It is primarily to her that I owe the fast pace at which Dream, Book, and Travel grows and evolves. The project took shape in October. One month later our daughter was born. In December I took the first leap and published a family photo on our facebook page, wishing our more than 900 followers a Happy New Year. In January my first guest post was accepted, while in February we designed the first free personalized itineraries. In March I took the next big step and decided to hire a web designer to give Dream, Book, and Travel the proper home it deserves. In April I registered to attend my first conference as a travel blogger, while in May I took the biggest leap of all when I added to the website a section called Blog. This is to make Dream, Book, and Travel not only about personalized itineraries, sightseeing, and wanderlust. It is to make it about myself/ourselves, the inner challenges we overcome while traveling, the way we sometimes travel deeper within during a single day trip. The Blog is about our personal development while traveling, and what we learn from planning a trip, living it, and remembering it. Serendipitously, my first Blog article is published during the most magical holiday of all, a Romanian celebration of plenitude when the skies open, fairies dance, young girls dream their future husband, and plants acquire healing powers. I hope some of the magic will be bestowed upon Dream, Book, and Travel – my dream of seven years and seven months.
Although much later than originally planned, I timed the first blog article to also coincide with the launch of www.dreambookandtravel.com.
It is the best way I thought I could say welcome – in the world of our adventures, of our readings, of our future plans, of your next perfect holiday. Welcome into our kitchen and our soul, we are happy to share our experiences and grow richer together, through traveling!