Updated: Sep 8, 2018
Prior to my trip to Napoli and Istanbul, my loved ones advised me to be careful. Specifically those who hadn’t been to either country were advising me to stay safe in these cities. I don’t want to get into the nature of their concerns, because it is aside from the point, but the bottom line is that people who hadn't gone to either city were worried I was going to Napoli and Istanbul.
I went anyway.
I fell in love with Napoli’s underground vibe, grimy look and dangerous energy. Perhaps it’s because I love Italian culture in general, but Napoli is a city unlike any other. Take all the poshness and correctness of Milan and flush it down the toilet, add some Roman graffiti and sketchy Termini Station vibes to the mix, with a dash of unintelligible southern Italian accent and you have Napoli. A city where every server wants to be your boyfriend, and the kayak tour guides offer you white wine in a plastic cup to cool down after the ride. As you can see, our loved one’s advisories didn’t stop my friend, Claudia, and I from immersing ourselves in Napoli's lively energy.
Istanbul is a city of chaos. Everything is happening all the time. Being unable to speak Turkish adds an interesting touch to the cities frenetic energy. I fell in love with the Turkish Caj (tea), and easily had six to seven cups a day (Skinny Bitches Club approved). People are just how I like them: they go above and beyond to please you and the city boasts Miami-esque nightlife consisting of arab-influenced house music that goes on until sunrise.
I had an amazing time in both cities, always keeping the advisories in the back of my mind, but making sure to not take them too seriously as to ruin the spontaneity of immersing myself in my surroundings.
The life lesson I learned during this trip:
Don't take on other people's fears
Most times, people advise us to be careful because they would never go to Istanbul or Napoli, therefore, they imagine themselves being in your position and instill their fear in you. I kept their concerns in mind, but I didn't let them influence my decisions. Prior to booking the trips, I knew both cities had the potential to be dangerous (as can be any other city), but I weighed the pro's and con's and I knew most times people sensationalize how threatening a city is, specially when they have never visited it themselves. Therefore, I made a decision based on what I was feeling, rather than what they were trying to project unto me. Not to say that I wasn't afraid, but I felt this fear as a necessary step towards facing yet another challenge during my travels. Is this not the reason we travel, anyway?