This Wednesday, I’m going to be getting on a plane. I’ll sit, nursing my battered Bill Bryson book, eagerly staring out of the window and waiting to land in Dalaman, Turkey. Then, I’ll lug my suitcases into the taxi and wind through the Turkish countryside to the stunning Kayakoy and eventually turn a corner that has a view of the hotel I’ll be staying/working at. That’s the plan, anyway.
I use the word “plan” in the loosest sense of the word, however. “Plan”, by its normal definition, usually indicates some level of organisation- some decided design that involves times and routes and prices. Perhaps even booking confirmation numbers. That is not, however, how I intend you to understand the word “plan”, as that would be outright misleading. Instead, the opening paragraph of this blog should be read more as; “I’m going to Turkey on Wednesday. Bugger. I haven’t got the faintest idea what to do”. That’d be much more accurate.
I’m not exactly an unorganised person. I have the flights booked, I have work lined up in a beautiful boutique hotel. I’m travelling through the Work Away scheme, which means I’ll work around 5 hours a day for 5 days a week in return for a bed and feeding. (It’s a really cool scheme, definitely check it out.) So in some respects, I have planned the most important bits.
However, when you realise that you have less than a week to go before you’ll be landing alone in a foreign country and you still have done a majestic Sod All in preparation- panic begins to settle in. I haven’t booked luggage onto the flight. I have no idea how to get from the airport to my hotel. I haven’t ordered any currency. I don’t even have any sunscreen.
As Wednesday creeps closer, surviving on a wing and a prayer is looking like my only option. Perhaps it’ll be exhilarating. Imagine, arriving in an alien country with only the faintest idea of how to pronounce the region I’m staying in. Perhaps the adrenalin will kick in, and I’ll become some sort of super-traveller, instantly fluent in Turkish, with an internal compass that’d impress GoogleMaps. I’ll quickly adapt to my new way of life and will be accepted by locals as one of their own. That, or I’ll blunder about the airport arrivals lounge for a while before being taken for a ride (literally AND metaphorically) by the nearest taxi firm who are driving in the complete opposite direction of where I’m supposed to be heading. I’ll be left to hike up an incredibly steep hill, and I’ll land in a heap, several hours later, on the doorstep of my new temporary home only to find that I’ve left my money on the backseat of the taxi which is now cheerfully steaming away. Unlike Natwest-advert-lady, I can’t phone my mum at four in the morning and brightly ask for £400. Not without being laughed at, anyway.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating. I’ll get my luggage booked this weekend, and if all else fails I’ll just do it at the airport. My currency can be ordered pretty much a day in advance, and I think if I leave it long enough, my gran will eventually buy me some sunscreen. Booking a transfer is probably going to be the biggest problem- I’m toying with the idea of staying in a hotel at the airport for the night instead, and using public transport in the morning to get to Kayakoy. Arriving so late is turning out to be a bigger pain that I’d anticipated, and definitely something I’ll take into consideration next time I’m booking flights. I think it’ll cost me more in trying to get from the airport to my hotel at some unholy dark hour than I ever saved in the first place by booking the cheapest possible flight. Lesson learned.
Either way, this time next week I’ll be sunning myself in the stunning Kayakoy. I might not have any money, a map, or the vaguest sense of what I’m doing with my life, but it’ll be gorgeous regardless.
Have you been brushing up on your turkish? The only phrase you really need is: Chai luften (Tea please!)