This picture has been inspiring me lately. I have a couple of big dreams and plans on the docket for my summer. What about you? What big thing are you going to do this summer? What dream are you chasing?
Wow, where has March gone? I wasn’t expecting it to go quite so fast! The weather in Istanbul is AMAZING this week! It is absolutely gorgeous and is making me want to break out the summer clothes and go on an adventure! Which . . . by the way is what this month’s blog posts are supposed to be about, but apparently they have been off adventuring as well!
I love to travel, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to some cool places. Sometimes we travel because we want to, and sometimes we travel because we have to. But regardless, we generally always love it, whether it is for work or pleasure. Along the ways, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me enjoy traveling even more. Today, I’m going to share a couple of “Before You Go” tips for traveling.
1. Packing: okay. So, I don’t really think you need a whole lot of help in this department, but my biggest advice is to go light, especially if you are traveling outside of America! Once you get outside of the States (in my experience, anyway) you dramatically increase your amount of walking and carrying and changing transportation!! So, I have found a rolling suitcase that rolls, has handles, and also has backpack strips that zip into the back. I love this, because it is a good size (the size of a carry-on rolling bag), but it can expand and it is so easy to carry. I also recommend packing light, and packing more tops than bottoms. Jeans are versatile, and tops are what you notice more in pictures!! Don’t forget to put your liquids and toiletries in appropriate bags according to the guidelines of whichever country you are traveling in.
2. Planning: What I like to do when traveling to a new place is to look up all of the attractions in the area, and then consult with your fellow travelers and rank that top 3-5 things you REALLY want to do. One thing that Jeremy and I have done before that was helpful was to make a list of all of the attractions and then make notes about the price of entrance and what was there. We then marked our top 3 or so and made sure to hit those, but then we could easily see which other things would suit our schedule and budget and do those as well when we had free time. By planning this way, we were able to feel like we got what we wanted out of our trip without either wasting time or not enjoying attractions because we didn’t have enough time.
*Side note: If you have a mobile device, you should definitely search in your app store for the city you are visiting. You may be surprised at how many free app guides there are out there!!
3. Preparing: This is a huge thing that can totally change how much you enjoy your trip. Jeremy and I love this stage!! When we figure out where we are going, we like to find ways to learn more about the history, culture, and people of that area. Some of our favorite ways to do that are to read novels or books about the area and listen to podcasts. One of our favorite podcast series to find little known facts about different places around the world is Stuff You Missed in History Class.
*Another side note: Although this tip was geared towards ways to mentally prepare yourself to really enjoy your trip, I’d also make a point to check out how to get around the city where you are going. If you come to Istanbul, for example, you need to have a travel card or it is going to be ROUGH! So, I would check into these things before traveling:
- currency and conversion rate
- cultural expectations (are their rules that you must follow?
- travel – how can you get around?
- learn a few travel phrases! My top suggestions: “Please,” “Thank you,” “Hello/Good morning/Good afternoon,” and “Excuse me.”
- check to see if where you are traveling has a consulate or embassy and whether or not you should register with them. (For example, there are some places in the world that are currently more dangerous for traveling but you can sign up for updates from the embassy and also let them know that you are in the country.)
- check whether or not you need a visa, if you can buy it at the border, and how much it is. (Also keep in mind that a lot of times you will have to pay for visas and other documents with your home country currency, not the currency of the country where you are traveling.)
Okay, and finally, my top two sites to help you out in the preparation stages of your traveling:
- momondo.com: This is my personal favorite for finding plane tickets.
- tripadvisor: This site has lots of information about hotels and activities to do almost anywhere in the world.
Where are you going next? I’m going to Vienna!!
Haha. Okay, so it wasn’t that extreme. But, I did get to do something super cool that I’d never done before! Life has been strangely relaxed recently what with school being finished and all. I keep double checking myself just to make sure I’m not missing something huge. But, nope, I’m not!
So, first of all, happy day after father’s day to all you dads out there! I am sooooooo thankful and so blessed with the father that God gave me! I’m really thankful to have him! I love having a dad that makes God’s love make sense. I hope you have been so blessed as I have been! And, I am also thankful for my father-in-law, another Godly man that I have been blessed with in my life!
On Saturday, we went down near a castle by the Straits of Bosphorus to watch a Red Bull MotoCross XFighters exhibition. It was awesome! The only problem was that we got there at 7:30, hoping to get good spots for the 8:30 start (which we did), only the wind was so bad that the show didn’t start until 10:00 and then they only did about 20 minutes. So, we were slightly disappointed, but at the same time I was so amazed that it was completely worth it! That was definitely a super fun experience! (And kudos to Jer for snapping such a great picture!!)
The rest of life has been exciting and summery as we are able to enjoy life here in Turkey, enjoy being a part of other people’s lives, and enjoy planning for the weeks to come. Hope you’re enjoying summer as well! What summery things have you done or are you planning to do?
I’m tired! It’s been a bit of craziness around here. This is the last week of school – which is actually extremely saddening when I think of the fact that some of these kids, if not all of them, I will never see again after 4 days. I love them so much!! But, at the same time, who isn’t excited for summer? So . . . I have a feeling this will be one of those weeks where my heart gets stretched in all directions and I don’t really know what to do. But . . . the end will come and go, and new beginnings will start, and there’s not a whole lot I can do other than just enjoy the ride!
This last week was quite exciting in several different ways. We had company on Thursday night – the first night in months that our power decided to go out. Thank heavens for candles and a big street window!
Saturday was, quite thankfully, a relaxing day. I worked on plans for our summer English camp in Senegal that is approaching VERY QUICKLY, went on a walk with my awesome husband, got an ice cream cone, and then another because there was some kind of deal going on – so proceeded to walk around the park eating one and having one melt in my other hand. (They were packaged, so I did take it home and put it in the freezer. And I withheld it from Jeremy because he is allergic to milk. So take back all of those bad thoughts, please!) We also had some pretty good pizza calzones for dinner and watched Sherlock Holmes 2. Perhaps I’ll do a write up about it soon, but it’ll suffice for now to say – I really liked it. It was way better than the first Sherlock Holmes!!
Sunday was busy, but good. We had our end of the year program for the Kindergarten at school. The Kindergarten has about 94 students or so, so it was a big deal. All of the students sang songs, participated in folk dance, modern dance, or ballet, and were part of an English skit and dance from some country in the world. My kids were from South Africa. 1. They were adorable. 2. They did awesome! I was so proud of them. I just stood behind the curtain with my stomach turning and my face smiling as I watched them perform their lines beautifully and then do their dance. It was great! I was so happy for them. Then, we also went to church on Sunday, but left fairly quickly to get home for our apartment complex “Say Hello to Summer” party. It was a great family party with food, games, clowns, live music, and fireworks. There was a particularly moving dance between one of the clowns and a security guard, and I couldn’t help but laugh when Jeremy’s friends pulled him into the middle of the dancing! Haha. It was great. It was super fun to just go out and see all of the other people who live near us, and we know a few of them from either school or sports.
It was a good start to summer – but one more week of school to go until that is official! Hope you’re all enjoying your start to summer! Let me know what your biggest plans are! Ours are Africa – PA – NC – SC – OH – CO – Istanbul, in roughly that order. 🙂 Have a wonderful week! Try to enjoy both the ends and the beginnings, and don’t forget to be where you are right now!!