My trip to Turkey was short but of my most memorable trips. It was a dream to be in Turkey and the views from where I stayed were amazing. I met a woman on the bus at a conference I spoke at in Chicago and she was so sweet and invited me to speak at her conference in Turkey. Thank you, Julie! Her family was amazing and getting to see Ankara was incredible. I started off by learning that you can get visas to Turkey online, the same way you order your pants. Or whatever you order online. I got an ‘E-visa’ and was on my way.
When I arrived I was greeted by my lovely (Ankara) family and got a tour of their place and the area surrounding them. Then, the next morning, it was time to speak. I spoke to a group of students all about ‘social good’ and how you can create campaigns online to champion a cause you’re passionate about. My favorite part was hearing from the students after the event, they asked a ton of great questions including personal questions about my life and whether or not I liked what I did and who I was. It made me think. This trip was significant for many reasons other than the fact it was my first ‘international keynote.’ It meant more than that, it was a time where I started to question what I really wanted to be doing and whether or not I was happy in my current position. If you’ve followed me, you know how this went, I’m now in a very different position and a totally different work environment so you can say this trip really forced me to be honest with myself.
When we wrapped up the event I had a chance to see the city, it was just as beautiful at night as it was during the day. We went through downtown, then into town, the markets and even an ancient castle. The castle is not in use today but it has been transformed into a restaurant where you can see the whole city. The view was amazing and so were the kebabs. I love lamb. After some exploring I had the chance to visit some families who were related/close to my host family. I got to hear from a mother who left her home after marriage and still dreams of being in the US today but is unable to pass her exams to get into a school in the US and I got to drink a lot of tea. The tea cups are small ‘hour glass’ like cups with two to three cubes of sugar. I always needed more sugar. We visited buildings and a friends’ dad who was also a former journalist and used to take photos was so kind as to take some really awesome photos of me. Thank you (if you’re reading :)) We went into some of the government buildings, got chased off the lawns by the security guards then went to dinner.
Shortly after it was time to get back home and I couldn’t help but believe: there is nothing stopping you from living past your limits, the only limit you have is you. Believe in yourself and your dreams, there are no limits to what you can achieve when you do.
Oh! And there were nap bars in the airports in Germany during my layover, what!?! Yeah, they were cool. You could sleep while you waited for your flight, but I advise you not to, I almost missed my flight because the nap oasis was so comfy.