STATS – Day: 14 | Distance: 3232.8 miles | Location: Alexandria, VA | Money Spent To Date – Transportation: $83.66 | Food: $51.05| Stay: $69.08 | Play: $67.00

I’ve been back in Virginia for the last 6 days and LOVED the reunion with friends, walking around Old Town, enjoying a bit of luxury with happy hours, lunches and dinners, plus a much needed manicure. My expenses added up fast, but it was worth it.

Now I’m sitting at gate B43 in the Dulles International Airport waiting for my flight to Istanbul, Turkey where I will spend the better part of 78 days. I can’t help but reminisce about my first visit to this wonderful city.

It was all because of a man, of course. Yeah, I know….(Shocker) Haha!

We met at a bus stop in London, England where he asked where I was going. I told him to a cemetery to take photographs. He asked if he could come along and I said yes. We walked and talked taking in the beauty and solace. The afternoon turned into evening. One day turned into four. He was charming, funny, intelligent and sweet. One of those men who only saw “you” – dark hair, twinkling eyes, sharp jawline, mischievous smile.

I was hooked.

He asked if I would come to Istanbul to meet his mother. He said I would love it there, the beauty of the city is like no other. 3-months later I found myself on a plane heading to a part of the world I had never in my wildest imagination thought about visiting. It was only my second time traveling alone and here I am going to meet basically a stranger. In my mind I was saying “are you crazy?”


At least I wasn’t SO CRAZY that I didn’t have a PLAN B and also booked a reservation in a local hostel, just in case, things didn’t work out.

Which they didn’t.

When I got to the airport and walked out of baggage claim, I was met with a sea of men who all had dark hair, twinkling eyes, sharp jawlines, and mischievous smiles. I was in trouble in more ways than one! Turkish Men…..Yowza!

Luckily I found the man I had met in London and didn’t leave with a complete and total stranger. But the man turned out to be a bit of a jerk. I didn’t meet his mother, who was on vacation, and to me, he acted jealous, angry and egotistical. I wasn’t familiar with Turkish culture, but from what I read, they were a kind and friendly people, which didn’t jive with what I was seeing from him. One day dragged on to the next and I was not having fun. After a couple days, I put plan B in motion and went to stay at the hostel.

This was when my love for Istanbul was born.

The name of the hostel was “Planet Paprika” – how could I not fall in love.

It was through this hostel that I have met many, many amazing people over the years, from all over the world. It was here I would listen for the call to prayer early in the morning and walk through the sleepy, crooked streets as they wake to a new day. It was here I would watch the sunlight dancing over the multitude of colored houses and buildings full of clothes lines and flower pots, off the water and the boats.

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Be thankful for all the jerks out there, you never know what wonderful places you might find because of them.

Next Blog: “#LifeOnThePlanet”

Previous Blog: “#TravelMore”

Back to Pipe’s Adventure


4 thoughts on “#Istanbul

  1. Love this! Isn’t it funny how we end up where we are sometimes– for the weirdest, most unlikely reasons? I love how romantic you are Piper! May you never outgrow your sense of wonder. Blessings and love to you in Istanbul, the home city of my favorite author Elif Shafak. I will join you there one day.

    Liked by 1 person

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