I was en route to Madrid on the afternoon of January 8th after having spent three nights in a city built on the architecture of successive empires, now caught on the borderline of World War III. I was in Istanbul, Turkey, home to the Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia the Blue Mosque and so many architectural masterpieces of Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman origin.
Istanbul is a city of many contrasts, it's where east meets west, Asia collides with Europe and ancient architecture is 'conveniently' located next to McDonalds and Starbucks. Istanbul's historic core is the main tourist drag and it is where I spent my days, particularly in Sultanahmet Square. When I heard this area was bombed, my heart sank; Istanbul is such a vibrant city with so much to see and do. I fear for their tourism industry, which sees 11 million travellers annually, will be severely affected by this attack. Being an islander (Bahamian) I know the severity of lost tourism dollars and its depressive economic effects on a people, as the island I live on, Grand Bahama, has long suffered due to a tourism down-turn for several years now.
Many of my family and friends were baffled as to why I would want to visit Turkey, they said YOU DO KNOW IT IS ON THE BORDERLINE OF SYRIA. IRAQ & IRAN??!!!! I fully understand their concerns and realize the dangers we as a world community face, but however dire the situation, I will not let fear hinder me from experiencing the fullness of life. Turkey holds a special place in my creative imagination as it is the inspiration behind the name, TRAVELLER'S BAZAAR.
Istanbul's mythical shopping market, the GRAND BAZAAR, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops has fascinated me since I was child. The Grand Bazaar is a place where exotic scents, spices, jewels, textiles, and so much authentic artisan goods are sold everyday, it isn't called the 'Treasure Chest of Istanbul for no reason. When I dreamt up the feeling of my blog, I wanted to portray it as a traveller collecting unique - 'exotic' - off the beaten path moments and experiences, I saw myself creating a little world of my own, my own BAZAAR sharing travel experiences and voila Traveller's Bazaar was born.
After having heard of the attacks I still want to encourage you to consider Turkey as a travel destination, maybe not right now, but I do advise if you plan on visiting, please thoroughly check and re-check all travel warnings issued by your home country. Take their warnings seriously and read up online of current events in Turkey prior to your trip. KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.
I think often I walk around with rose colored glasses and that has helped me in so many creative aspects of my life and has even given me the opportunity to see every continent (many times travelling solo) except Antartica, but at the same time it has placed me close to situations I would rather avoid.
However on the other end, war and injustice have sadly always been apart of the human experience, from the inception of mankind, we cannot and will not let fear ground us. We cannot let fear determine our quality of life experiences. I encourage you to travel far and often, to places you cannot pronounce, places no one knows, JUST GO (***After researching, planning, and educating yourself on the historical & current situations / realities***).
I leave you with this, PLEASE PRAY FOR THE WORLD, and let your footsteps be guided by God.
Hi I'm Quinn, creator of Traveller's Bazaar. I'm an architectural designer on a mission to inform, inspire and help travellers like you, plan the trip(s) of a lifetime. Thanks for visiting!