Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am very far from being openly affectionate — with friends and with family. I hate, with a passion, the Australian way of greeting with cheek-kissing, even people you barely know. I hate it.
Even though I’ve come to accept it and therefore embrace hugging random friends on a regular basis given its lesser invasive feel, I’m still awkward with showing affection for others except for my boyfriend.
I cursed myself as we walked to the entrance to immigration at Sydney Airport. I was leaving, in a matter of minutes, and Pat wasn’t coming with me.
“This is stupid. Why did I do this?”
Part of the problem with being a free spirit is the fact that I often find myself going alone to do the things in life that make me happy. I was happy to be going on a big trip, but going without Patrick… for 5 weeks… felt like such a dumb idea when it came time to saying goodbye.
I fought back tears. I didn’t cry. I felt so victorious yet so cold hearted to be proud of that accomplishment.
And, I was off, to the other side of the airport in a flash thanks to my speedy business class privileges — on my way to the other side of the world for 5 weeks of solo life.
Besides being privy to certain perks with business class, it was still a painfully long journey to Istanbul, one that took me — from home to hostel — about 40 hours of transit. Stepping off the plane, the first thing that hit me was the cold air — that and the smell of body odor. It was a big difference from the hot days we’d recently been experiencing down in Sydney; a shiver traveled through my body.
I found a taxi to take me the way to my hostel over in Galata. My eyes were drowsy from dryness and just plain being exhausted, but they perked up in the car trying to take in the passing scenery. So, this is Istanbul. Large concrete buildings… adorned with colorful lights… an overcast sky. Yep, the perfect intro before heading to Bishkek. The perfect city to take me to the other side where the Turkish had also made their mark with giant shopping centers and restaurants throughout the city. Istanbul was familiar.
Traffic was a bit of a nightmare. I clenched the door handle at moments when my driver zipped in and out of stopped cars while talking on his cell phone and manually working the gears. Yep, this is the Turkey I’ve heard about before.
I sighed when I safely arrived.