Travel Blogger Interview – Natalie Sayin

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Natalie Sayin is the author of Turkish Travel Blog. And with her passion in history, she shows us the beauty of Turkey through her lens and writing. Follow her travels thru Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; and visit Turkey without having to leave your home.

 

 

  1. First of all, tell us a quick background of who you are...

I am 38 years old, live on the Aegean coast of Turkey and have made it my aim in life to explore as much of the country as I can, with specific aims to learning about the culture and history.

  1. What is it about Turkey that has you obsessed about?

I am really not sure. When I first came to Turkey in 2001, it just felt like home and that vibe has stayed with me ever since. A tarot card reader did tell me once, that I had a past life in Turkey but I prefer to believe that it is because I just feel comfortable and it is my destiny to live here.

  1. What is your inspiration to start your blog?

It was meant to be an online diary so I could track my travels but over time, it grew with readers who also had a passionate interest in the country. Then I discovered that many readers were also researching Turkey because they planned to visit for the first time, and they wanted advice on where to go and what to do.

  1. Of all the places you have visited, what is the most memorable one?

This is hard to answer because I have been to a lot of places which are all fantastic. I really liked the Northeast of Turkey because the area is so green and delving into the traditions and culture of the Laz and Hemsin communities was great fun.

This year, I also did a four night gulet boat trip from Fethiye to Olympos on the Mediterranean coast and that was just surreal. We slept on deck, explored ancient ruins, spotted loggerheads turtles, and docked into scenic coastal villages. I would like to do some more sailing of the Aegean and Med coasts.

  1. Have you ever experienced any challenges in traveling solo?

No, because it is easier to travel solo. I don’t have to take into account the needs and wants of other people. I can go where I want and do anything that interests me. The worst aspect is that unless I take selfies, I am not in many of my holiday photos!

  1. How do you fund your travel?

I am a freelance travel writer so all my trips are good for work as well as leisure. Rather than write generic articles, I can be specific and detailed with information which makes it easier to sell anything I write.

  1. Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?

I don’t fly that much while traveling. Most trips consist of moving onto the next town or district so I use road transport more, than domestic flights. This is something I should look into though because I have heard the concept of air miles is a great way to save money.

  1. What places are still in your bucket list?

There is too many to mention but I would like to visit Gallipoli, which was the site of the Anzac landings in 1915. Now, it is a memorial to the fallen soldiers. Close by is the UNESCO site of Troy. I would also like to visit Bursa and Safranbolu because they are prominent in Ottoman history. The Eastern district of Van is also appealing. It has a large lake and many ruins of Armenian churches.

  1. Do you have any major travel regrets?

No, I have always gained something from every trip or place I have visited. I keep an open mind when traveling and this often provides more memorable experiences, than disappointment.

  1. What has been your greatest learning in travelling Turkey?

That it is impossible to stereotype Turkish culture. From the east to the west, regional traditions are strong and for example, someone who has grown up in Western Istanbul will not think or act the same as someone who grew up in Mardin, which is in the east. The diversity is amazing. I have also learnt a lot about the history of Turkey and it is mind-baffling at times.

  1. What advice can you give to young travelers out there?

Keep an open mind and your experiences will be much more memorable, no matter where in the world you go. Don’t plan to the last detail and be prepared just to go with the flow.

 

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Travel Perks of Owning a Credit Card

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Credit cards are usually stereotyped as a bad thing. From overspending to late fees and consequent bury in debt, many have nightmares when it comes to handling their credit cards. Yes, this is true. In fact, they can be your convenient enemies.

Credit cards, however, have advantages. So long as you pay your bill timely, you will appreciate that they’re free short term loan. They enable you to track your spending easier than cash. More than that, if you are a traveler, you are entitled to enjoy impressive travel perks.

Whether you already have your credit card or planning to get one, learn more how you can take advantage of the special deals that credit card companies provide.
 

 Airline Miles

Airline miles are rewards that you can get from your credit cards. The more you spend, the more points you earn. Accordingly, the more points you make, the more airline miles you have the chance to redeem for flight tickets, booking discounts, seat upgrades, hotel and vacation packages, and other travel-related expenses.
 

Automatic Car Rental Insurance

You don’t need to waste money on insurance whenever you rent a car on your travels. Your credit card company provides secondary coverage against theft and collision. So, decline the rental car company’s waiver insurance for loss, damages and collision; charge your car rental to your card and enjoy this particular advantage.
 

Concierge Staff Assistance

To simplify your life, your credit card company provides a 24-hour concierge staff to assist your personal travel needs. This includes event ticket purchases, dinner reservations, business arrangements and coordination, and more.
 

Price and Purchase Protection

When you purchase an item using your card, you have the privilege to get a refund from an item that you see advertised for less in prints within 60 days. This excludes online purchases and certain indicated items. Also, you are protected against theft, accidental breakage and fire within 90 days from the purchase date.
 

Lost Luggage Coverage

There are credit card companies that cover your lost luggage costs whenever you charge your entire carrier fare to your card. This credit card benefit covers damaged, stolen or permanently lost baggage. Thus, you travel secured and insured.
 

Trip Interruption or Cancellation Coverage

Perhaps you get sick before your scheduled holiday trip or you get yourself into an emergency. If the trip you booked using your credit card is interrupted or cancelled, you receive a certain amount to, at least, reimburse any cancellation fee.
 

Automatic Extended Warranty

When you buy an item using your credit card, you automatically have extended warranty of up to one year from the date of purchase.
 
If you are not yet getting freebies from your credit card, know that you should be. Always remember that your credit card success lies in proper management. So, squeeze out everything that your credit card is worth and enjoy your travel.
 

Amazing Reads of the Week!

Getting the Heart of Fijian Island Culture on a Village Visit The World on My Necklace

Cheap Travel: Granada, Spain, For Less Than $25 A Day - Jessie on a Journey

A Weekend In Cambridge: Day OneEverchanging Scenery

Photos of Venice, ItalyD Travels ‘Round

20 Ideas For Your Winter Bucket List Bucket List Journey

Go Local: A Weekend in Washington, D.C. - Let’s Roam Wild

The Changi Airport Ritual - Glamourous Traveller

Travel Tips For India That You Won’t find in Guidebooks! - Backpack Me

Ludwigsburg: Fairytale Palace and GardensPassing Thru

Absolute-must-do Things to Do in CroatiaChasing the Donkey

The Southeast Asia HighlightsThat Backpacker

This Place Surprised us the Most on our Trip to Canadian RockiesTraveling Canucks

Caribbean Crisis: How Eating Lionfish Can Help Save The Planet - Epicure Culture

Which Country Do You Want to Read About? You Pick, I’ll Go - Be My Travel Muse

Rome Under WrapsBesudesu Abroad

 

 

 

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Travel Blogger Interview – Annette White

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In search of experiences noteworthy in her bucket list, Annette White takes us into her adventures around the globe. Follow her on Twitter, visit her on Facebook and connect with her on Google+. Meanwhile, let us know more about Annette and how her travel passion came to be. 

 

 1.     First, tell us a little bit of yourself…

I’m Annette, the owner of a Michelin recommended restaurant in Northern California, freelance travel writer and creator of the award winning blog Bucket List Journey. As an obsessed new experience collector, my writing centers around exploring the world in search of once-in-a-lifetime adventures.
 

2.     What gave you the inspiration to start your blog?
Initially, I was simply looking for a place to record my ever-growing bucket list and its progress. The pieces of scrap paper and random internet files were getting out of control, so I decided to condense my dozens of notes into a blog.

 

As time went on, the blog changed from being just a practical list-keeping spot to being a place for readers to get inspiration for their own bucket lists. My endless curiosity motivates me to travel the world in search of the best bucket list worthy experiences to share, and it is my hope that these stories will inspire readers to dream and do.

 

3.     How does being a restaurateur influence you as a traveler?
I can’t imagine traveling anywhere where food is not a huge factor, for me travel and food go hand in hand. When planning for a trip, I spend just as much time researching traditional dishes, cooking techniques and restaurants in the area as I do researching major attractions. It’s a running joke amongst my friends that more than 50% of my travel photos are food related.

 

Even though my restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine, you’d be surprised by how much I learn from other parts of the world. With a little ingenuity you can turn a Greek moussaka into a version of an Italian eggplant lasagna.

 

Plus, you will always catch me looking at the bottom of a restaurants dishware to see who the manufacturer is, snapping photos of unique ways guest checks are being presented and collecting paper menus. My passion for food and restaurants is a close second to my passion for new experiences.

 

4.     Have you experienced some challenges to becoming both a restaurateur and traveler?
Of course there has been challenges to becoming each one of these things individually, but owning a restaurant and being able to travel at the same time has been a continuous work in progress.

 

I spent over four years systemizing my restaurant to run without me and my husband. Things like an online payroll system, time clock and security cameras that could be accessed from anywhere in the world with internet were helpful in the process.

 

In the beginning our goal was to leave for an hour just to have dinner, this very slowly grew into an entire day and is now at ten days if both of us are gone and three weeks for just me. I also spend lot of time after returning from a trip analyzing what problems arose while I was away and coming up with solutions to the issues so they will not occur the next time I am gone. It has taken a lot of effort, but I am now seeing the benefits.

 

5.     I noticed you mentioned that there was a time in your life when fear makes your decision, how did you overcome it?
 When it comes to anxiety and fear, there really is no guarantee, so I not so much have overcome as much as I have learned to manage it. After much research, I realized that my fear was created by my negative thoughts regarding a situation. I have worked hard over the years to understand, challenge and change my thoughts. I now know that I have the tools to keep it under control, I just have to put them to use. Some days are harder than others, but at this point even the bad days are pretty good in relation to ten years ago.

 

At the same time, I realize that it is unrealistic to thing that all fear will completely disappear or can be controlled. So, I also made a promise to myself that I would not allow fear to make my decisions for me. If I am presented with an opportunity and want to say “no”, I ask myself if that negative response is driven by fear. If it is, I make myself turn that “no” into a “yes”. This promise has led to some of my most memorable experiences.

 

6.     What has been your bucket list experiences and what was your favorite among them?
I have had some AMAZING bucket list experiences: swimming with whale sharks in Mexico, bathing elephants at a rescue in Thailand, taking a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon, watching wrestler’s practice at a sumo stable in Japan, nibbling on chicken feet at the cheapest Michelin restaurant in the world, etc…

 

I am thrilled any time I have an incredible new experience, but amongst my favorites was going on a four day African safari in Tanzania and swimming with thousands of jellyfish in Jellyfish Lake in Palau.

 

7.     How do you fund your travel?

There are two things that help support my travels. The first is my blog, Bucket List Journey. I make a teeny weenie amount of money by selling advertisements and earning commissions through affiliate programs. But, what has been most helpful in regards to blogging is that many tourism boards and other companies will sponsor my travels in hopes that I will find their activities bucket list worthy enough for me to write about. These “media trips” have been an important part to me being able to accomplish many of the goals on my list.
 
Secondly, my husband and I own a successful Italian restaurant in Northern California that gives me a degree of financial freedom. With that said, we have worked diligently for the past several years in order to set it up to fit around my traveling lifestyle.
 
Let me also say that I believe that some of the reason I can afford traveling is because it is what I choose to be able to afford, it is what I am truly passionate about. I would forgo designer clothes, fancy coffee or a manicure any day of the week if it were in exchange for a memorable experience.
 

8.     Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?
I am a member of almost all the airline mileage programs, but my main airline credit card is the United MileagePlus Explorer. By belonging to their program and actively using their credit card my points accumulate more rapidly. I charge everything on it, even if its only a dollar.

 

What’s most important about using reward cards is understanding all the benefits to your card and knowing how to accumulate the most points possible.

 

9.     What experiences are still on your bucket list?
Even though I have checked off hundreds of items from my bucket list, there are still hundreds more. With so many incredible experiences in the world, it’s hard to limit myself! What’s coming up in the near future is visiting the Christmas Markets in Germany, seeing a Water Puppet show in Vietnam and eating scorpions in Singapore.

 

10.  Do you have any major travel regrets?
The only regret I have is that I did not start traveling earlier in life. But, I am certainly making up for lost time, last year alone I was in 5 continents, 13 countries and countless cities.

 

11.  What is your advice to young travelers who are still controlled by their fear against making their travel dream come true?
Besides challenging your fearful thoughts and living in the present moment, the best advice I can give is to take your goal and break it down into a bunch of tiny little goals. Some times when you are looking at the big picture of a dream it can seem completely impossible. But, by concentrating on taking baby steps you can celebrate each little victory and feel like you are making progress.

 
It doesn’t matter how slowly you are moving towards your dream, it just matters that you are taking steps towards it every day.

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5 Reasons to Take the Family on Outdoor Excursions

The great outdoors can offer a view of the world that many city-folk may be missing. Although electronics and computers help make the world more efficient, experiencing nature firsthand could create memories that will last a life time. Be honest, how much of the amusement park vacation can you remember as opposed to various vacations in the outdoors? This isn’t saying that the family can’t enjoy city life, but there is more to the world than that of the tall buildings and merchandised family entertainment of various theme parks. Why should you pack up the family and look towards the landscapes instead of the glamour of theme parks?

Creating a Bond Within the Family

Unlike amusement parks that are filled with people, staff and security, the outdoors offers the element of the unknown. It’s through this experience that prompts family members to be more reliant on each other for basic survival – even on a subconscious level. This reliance may assist in deepening the bond within the family as everyone contributes to making the most of the vacation. Without various diversions, more interaction between family members can be done helping each understand the other in ways that were never thought of before.

Unique Opportunities

Unlike visiting the same theme park and riding the same rides, outdoor vacations offer a unique aspect with each visit. As nature changes rapidly, each visit to the same location could be incredibly different than the time before. Fishing patterns, wildlife migrations, trails and even scenery can change from year to year offering a unique experience. After you’ve been on an amusement park ride once, you already know the outcome of each subsequent ride. However, nature has a way of changing things up on you in the outdoors. Visiting companies such as Outdoor Traveler, you can find a vacation perfect for the family to offer a sense of that uniqueness.

Exploring Unknown Territory

Humans are inherently curious and many enjoy a good adventure of discovering places they’ve never visited before. The outdoors offers the allure of exploration allowing you to see and experiencing situations that you may be unable to duplicate anywhere else. If you take the family to a locale you’ve never been to, then it becomes a vacation that nobody can predict.

Personal Experience

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then experiencing something first hand would be the equivalent of a novel. Although technology allows people to take stunning photographs in amazing clarity, the personal experience adds more to the story such as scents and sounds. A picture can remind you of the vacation, but the experience is what creates the nostalgia from within. Pictures on the Internet simply cannot add the benefit of four other senses used when standing in the presence of nature’s magnificence.

Stress Relief

The great outdoors offers something that inner-city vacation tourist traps cannot – enhanced stress relief. The air quality of various areas allows for the body to absorb a higher quality of oxygen. The physical aspect of the outdoors provides exercise which in turn creates endorphin in the brain for a more natural euphoric experience. All of this and more can create a less stressful experience especially when taking into account the lack of people hustling about the area.

The outdoors promote a great deal of interaction with those around you. Without the diversions of everyday city life, the family is more likely to engage on an intellectual and personal level. Explore nature with your family and create an experience that will be talked about for years to come.

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Travel Blogger Interview – D Travels ‘Round

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Life is not about living happily ever after, it’s about living. Diana Edelman brings us into her adventures as she travel solo and live as an expat. Keep in touch with her through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

First, tell us a quick background of who you are…

I am a travel writer and an expat living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I run the travel blog, d travels ’round which highlights my solo female travel experiences around the world, responsible tourism, tips on being an expat, destination features, travel tips, reviews and more. I am the co-founder of the weekly responsible tourism Twitter chat (every Wednesday at 6 p.m. GMT), #RTTC, and a regular contributor to Thought Catalog and have written for numerous print and online publications.

 

What inspired you to start your blog?

I have always loved writing. One night after I had returned from a holiday in Croatia, my mind was wild with stories I wanted to write down. So, I turned on the light, bought a domain name and just started typing. Of course, since then it has morphed into something I never would have imagined. But, that initial inspiration just came from wanting to get the words out of my brain and onto my screen.

 

What is it being an expat? How was your life as such?

An expat or expatriate, is someone who lives in a foreign country. I am an expat in Chiang Mai and volunteer for Save Elephant Foundation to raise awareness about responsible elephant tourism.

 

What motivates you to promote responsible tourism?

I know that people read what I write, and if my words can help make the world a better place, then I need to do it. So many people go into their travels without taking the time to research what it is they are supporting, which harms people, animals and the environment. If I can make an impact or influence just one person, then I am happy.

 

I noticed you are an animal lover, how does this influence you as a traveler?

I love to get involved with animals while traveling. I first came to Thailand as a volunteer at Elephant Nature Park and I fell in love, hence my move here.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of solo travel?

I love not having to answer to anyone, but at the same time, it forces me to really get to know me. I used to have a hard time with that, and I think others can face those same challenges. Today, I like to split it up a bit, do some solo travel and also travel with others. I love my “me” time but also want to share experiences with others.

 

What places have you visited so far?

I have visited a lot of places — pretty much all of Western and Central Europe, parts of Eastern Europe, Morocco, Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and more.

 

Of all the places you have traveled to, what was your favorite?

I don’t have just one! I love Spain, Israel, Berlin, Slovenia … so many!!

 

How do you fund your travels?

I work. All of the time. I make money from my blog and largely from freelance writing jobs.

 

Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?

I just signed up for Chase Sapphire a few months ago and went on a charging spree to get the miles.

 

What places are still in your bucket list?

I don’t have a “bucket list” but there are a lot of places I would like to visit all over the world. It’s a big list!

 

Do you have any major travel regrets?

Not traveling and living abroad sooner.

 

What is your advice to solo travelers out there?

See everything you can. Soak up the culture. Meet locals. Say “yes” more than you say “no” and get some good sleep every now and then.

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