Istanbul – The Empire of Cats and Inspiration
Istanbul, the ancient capital of many great empires and the world’s biggest city situated on two continents, happened to become my home for almost three months. My name is Grace, I am from Dublin, and I am probably one of those who are called “digital nomads” – people who work and travel the world at the same time. Even though I don’t think I deserve such an honorary status yet, I still have a small story to share.
image source: dailysabah.com
I work remotely in the field of Internet marketing and I decided to do an experiment – to live in a different country for at least two months and keep working there. I chose Istanbul, as you might have guessed.
My first impression of this city was cats! They are everywhere! One of them jumped on my laptop when I was in Starbucks, and after that my enter button from time to time does some weird things.
image source: fromwayuphigh.com
My trip wasn’t an easy one, especially at the very beginning. Even though I quickly managed to find a good hostel, many WiFi locations, places with good, affordable food and an Istanbulkart for transport, I was stressed because of three factors – culture shock (this was my first time in an Islamic country), acclimatisation (only for a couple of days, luckily), and, mainly, homesickness. I knew I would start missing my home, but I didn’t expect this to happen on the second day of my trip!
One more thing I was feeling quite miserable about was that I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Yeah, I am a bit of an introvert, which isn’t, of course, a good characteristic of a traveler.
Finally, two weeks after my trip began, I met three guys, all web-designers, and we became quite good friends. One of them even lives in Dublin! I met them in a cafe in Karaköy (Karabatak, it’s a must-visit place), one of the oldest and most historic districts of the city, and I strongly recommend this place for two reasons; one – its many Wi-Fi locations (which is important if you work remotely) and two – it’s a hipster area and it’s easy to find new friends (even for me).
image source: yesiltopuklar.com
If you are wondering where I stayed, then look no further than Second Home Hostel. It was in a great location, had friendly staff and tasty breakfasts.
One more good memory I have about this place is Mike, a traveler with five years’ experience and a new friend of mine. Like me, he too was a ‘Digital Nomad’. However compared to my couple of months experience his five years made him a guru in my eyes. His lesson was to always have a back-up so he made his living through high frequency trading and as Freelance Graphic Designer. He obviously knows what he’s doing as his next destination at the time was Rome, a beautiful but expensive city.
image source: hostelz.com
During my months in Istanbul I learned lots of new things. I became much more flexible and adaptable. I learned about Turkish culture and history, and even improved on my nonverbal communication skills (a handy skill to have when market shopping)
Still, the most important thing Istanbul gave me is inspiration – to work harder, to learn more, to meet new people and to keep travelling.
Written by: Grace D. Beason. Grace is an Internet Marketer, Freelance Writer and Digital Nomad who hails from Dublin, Ireland but whose office can be found anywhere in the world … well as long as it has good WiFi.