What Long Term Travellers Do For A Holiday
After 16 months travelling non stop around the world, countless thousands of miles, scores of flights, trains and bus journeys we decided to down tools and take a break. The place we chose for our holiday break was southern Turkey, or more specifically Fethiye. So why did we need a rest? Hadn’t we been on one long holiday for the last year?
The truth is despite what you may think, long term travel can take it out of you after a while. No more than two or three nights in the same bed, constant packing, unpacking and researching your next travel hop all require time and effort. Don’t think for a minute we are complaining, but we realised, as more mature flashpackers, our bodies and minds were feeling the strain a little and we decided to have a pause and refresh ourselves before the next leg of our journey.
Where to Choose in Europe as a Nomadic Travel Base
We knew we were heading back home to the UK for a couple of months during the summer to renew our passports and sort out some finance and banking. Our choice had to be somewhere close to home as we intended to travel through Europe before the high summer peak season prices start and put European travel beyond our budget.
You can search amongst all the vacation spots over here to suit the purpose of your trip, but we had to look a little deeper at a few countries to make sure they met our different requirements for a longer term stay. On our initial shortlist were places like Bulgaria or Hungary, they looked good in terms of cheap accommodation and living but lost major points for climate. In April and May those countries are just emerging from Spring and the temperature was not really suited to our new fondness for warm weather and our limited supply of warm clothes.
Southern Turkey seemed to be an obvious choice, the temperature at that time of the year ranged from 20 – 25 degrees during the day and while not the cheapest place in Europe certainly ticked most of the boxes on long term accommodation and living expenses. We also had the advantage of having some friends there who kindly did some apartment scouting on our behalf to find something for us to live in that felt like home and not a hotel room.
Goodbye Istanbul Hello To Our New Turkish Holiday Home
After completing our travelling and sightseeing in Istanbul we took the night bus down to Fethiye with Pammukale Turism.
The bus sets off from Istanbul Otogar at 8 pm and promised to drop us off in Fethiye by 7.30 am the next morning. Like all travel in Turkey the fare was a snip at just 70 Lira. The journey was comfortable and we arrived ahead of schedule allowing us to grab enough sleep to feel like we were alive. The bus makes enough rest stops to satiate both our food and cigarette intake requirements.
Our New Home
Our temporary home was located in Günlükbaşı, a small town nearer to Calis than Fethiye. There is plenty of holiday accommodation on offer out of the main season here and we contacted lots of them through the vacation rentals web sites to see what deals they could offer for a longer stay. However, our friend came up with our eventual choice for £100 per week (reduced to £75 for our second month) for an apartment with en suite bedroom, lounge, balcony and all the mod cons to enable us to play house for a while (washing machine, dishwasher, TV, DVD, WiFi etc).
The place turned out to be perfect and allowed us to rest, recuperate and most importantly give all our belongings a good clean and wash after months on the road. As well as refreshing our belongings we also used the time to do some work on the blog, updating the back end and doing some marketing work which you never really get round to while on the road.
We also had the bonus of the owners knowledge, a Scottish mother and daughter team, who have lived in the area for over fourteen years. They gave us an invaluable insight to the expat life in Turkey (there are lots of them but more of that in a later post). They also had two adorable rescue dogs, so as well as having our temporary home for two months we had some temporary pets too and got daily visits from these playful mutts.
Not Exploring Turkey?
I would love to say that we spent two months exploring southern Turkey, but we didn’t. Instead we did things that we hadn’t done much of recently while being on the road. In terms of blogging we took the time to write guest blogs for other sites and tried to promote our blog on the web. We had some success and even got a feature in the Travel Section of the Chicago Tribune.
We cooked for the first time in months, rustling up home favourites like cheesecakes, shepherds pies, sausage and mash and homemade soups. We even found an import shop stocking real bacon, sausage and black pudding enabling us to treat ourselves to a completely authentic full English breakfast.
We read books (I managed almost twenty), with good internet we were able to find films online and catch up on our love of movies and through my nifty VPN connection we got to watch some UK TV. Masterchef was a particular favourite) and we found another foreign language series on BBC 4 we are now in love with (Arne Dahl from Sweden, if you haven’t watched it, do its great).
We took walks down the beach and around the local hills both with and without the apartment dogs , we borrowed bikes and cycled around the town and generally lived life at a much slower pace than for the last few months.
We watched the warm spring turn into a hot early summer and saw the local resorts burst into life as the first holiday makers of the season arrived in Turkey for their fortnight of fun in the sun.
We also had some good times and far too many alcohol units with our friends who live most of the year in Turkey, they were able to show us more of the expat life here. Many overseas residents living here are officially retired, but some are far off official retirement age but who have sold up everything and decided to eek out their savings, and their last few decades on this planet living their lives away from the hustle and hassles of working life. They are by no means rich financially, but their adopted lifestyles must surely now add quite a few years to their lives as they enjoy the warmer climate and slower pace of life.
A Nomadic Lifestyle
Does this mean we will be ending our travels and returning home to gorge more on these home comforts? No, absolutely not. Firstly our waistlines couldn’t permit this, we must have put on about 2 stones in weight each since heading back into Europe in an extremely short space of time. However, we do realise that in the longer-term we will need to slow things down a little, and find locations like Fethiye, that allow us to stretch our budget and give us time to reflect and plan for future travels.
While the break was welcome, toward the end we were getting a little bored at the comfortableness of it all. Its now two weeks since we left our temporary home comforts, we are already invigorated discovering the charms of Greece and back into swing of the travelling life.
We will be planning in a few more of these regular long term stops along the way in future, if anything they give you the time to remind yourself how lucky you are to have this nomadic life.