Why do we travel? Because the world is out there to be explored. There are so many cultures, languages, festivals, cuisines, locales that are waiting for you to revel in. I always believed that the best way to learn about the people of a particular city is by visiting their markets and eating like a local. In my few travels in India and abroad, I have made this a thumb rule – eat like a local. Languages can be faked by carrying around a dictionary or learning a few essential words. But to really weave yourself into the fabric of that particular city, you need to break bread with a local or simply explore the market place and sample the food on offer.
There are so many reasons why one would want to travel to Turkey and my biggest reason is to dive into a culinary journey of the Turkish land. It was a few years ago that I first saw pictures of my friend’s travels across Europe and Middle East. One country that stood out for me was Turkey. The pictures she took at the Egyptian Spice Market in Istanbul and the food stalls at the Grand Bazaar are stuck in my head. Those pictures spoke to me and just like the magical pictures in Harry Potter, they seemed animated to me. The bustling streets, the scrumptious aromas of exotic spices and meat – I could imagine it all.
My dream has been to experience a gastronomic adventure around the world. It would be wonderful if I could start this journey in Turkey and get the best of old and new world. Turkey’s position on the map makes it ideal to experience a European, Asian, and Middle Eastern/North African culture by reaching one destination. The food here is heavily influenced by this hot-pot of culture and that’s exactly what I want to try. I want to speak with the food stall owners and learn from them about their food and how they prepare it. To be able to learn from these spice masters would be an honourable opportunity that I do not wish to let go off.
Another thing that intrigues me about Turkey is the geographical diversity. In one country you get a vast sea coast with dominated by blue and green, a golden setting in Cappadocia, and a bustling city life. This diversity influences the food culture and makes Turkey absolutely eclectic. Getting the opportunity to travel to a new destination is like jumping into the cool sea from a great height. The thrill of jumping off and having no control for a few moments before you hit the water can be scary. You really have to give in to the experience and trust nature to take care of you. When you finally hit the water, you feel this great sensation that overwhelms you and takes you completely by surprise. I am sure that is how I’ll feel when I land in Turkey.
I am not surprised that many of my peers have chosen Turkey as a destination when they plan holidays. When a country and its ways are so beautiful, you would want to go there. I also want to capture the sights and sounds of Turkey in every way possible. I am an ardent photographer and an obsessive Instagrammer. All my travels and culinary experiences are well documented (and safely stored away) so that when I reminiscence about my life, I can go back and look at it all. Given a chance, I will make the most of my trip and make it the memorable experience of my life.
(This post is an entry in the “Million Stories” Contest sponsored by the Turkish Embassy, India.” • Pleas read the Terms and Conditions)