I took the above picture as I was sitting in the terminal at LAX, preparing myself for the 14 hour direct flight to Istanbul. I had my carry on backpack perfect organized and packed, my phone was charged up, I was in my comfy-but-cute airport outfit…everything was done, it was just a matter of waiting until we boarded the plane and were off. I had those excited butterflies you get between arriving at your gate and boarding, you know what I mean? That buzzing relief of stress after you get your bags checked, get through security and settle in safely at your gate, knowing that there’s no longer anything standing between you and your adventure. The moment is finally here.
The flight was pretty brutal because I couldn’t sleep more than 3ish hours, and then when we landed we had to get our bags and get through customs (which took an hour), take a taxi to the bus station and then take a 2.5 hour bus to Bursa. By the time we got to the city it was just after 3am; I fell asleep in about two seconds when I finally got in bed.
While it’s definitely exciting landing in a new city, taking in the views as you come in for landing and looking around eagerly during those first minutes after leaving the airport, arriving at night was a different kind of thrill. It was a new experience for me…landing very late at night and waking up rested in a brand new city I’ve never quite seen. It was magical. It felt like teleporting there, having been so exhausted upon landing that everything between the airport and Bursa was a blur. When things were clear again I was opening my eyes to the call to prayer ringing across the city, sunlight trickling in through the window.
These are some snapshots from that first day’s wanderings, those first impressions as I tried to drink everything in at once.