B’s travel diary: Turkey

In celebration of Turkey-day, I thought I’d share a little from my trip to — where else? — Turkey.

As the cold sets in here in Chicago, I find myself dreaming about all the warm weather fun I had over the summer.

Back in June, I had the pleasure of spending 10 days in Turkey, both in Istanbul and in a beautiful seaside village called Yalikavak, Bodrum on the Southern coast. I went with a very good friend who is Turkish (and German) and whose family resides either year-round or part of the year in Turkey, so I had the opportunity to view the country from a local’s perspective.

We started in Yalikavak in her Aunt and Uncle’s vacation home, high up on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean. After 26 hours of travel, I arrived to this beautiful and lush retreat around midnight and was welcomed with smiling faces, open arms and fresh cherries and apricots. Things were off to a very good start.

And when I woke, the view absolutely took my breath away.

Needless to say, the trip just got better from there. I took about 400 pictures, but I’ve narrowed it down a bit in an attempt to not recreate the boring-slideshow-of-our-family-vacation-that-none-cares-about-but-me. Hope you enjoy it!

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Turkey is a glorious place. Filled with beautiful scenery, rich history, delicious food (hands down the absolute tastiest cherries and apricots I’ve ever had in my life!), and incredible shopping, it is definitely a place to add to your bucket list.

*And just a note about the animal shots. There is a HUGE problem with stray animals in Turkey. My friend’s aunt says that, in Bodrum, families come for the summer, get their children a pet, and then just leave it at the end of their vacation. So sad :(. My little 10-yr old travel companion is determined to fix the problem and is working on a Sarah MacLachlan-ASPCA-style video as I write this… Save the animals!

Guest Post by Kelsey Kreiling: Favorite places, Camp Wandawega

When you make your living on your computer, there eventually comes a time when you need to go into airplane mode and head for the hills or in our case, the trees. In May, my web developer boyfriend and I decided to grab three precious, internet/cell phone/computer free days at Camp Wandawega. I’d say that I’m afraid to tell you about it for fear that it will become too popular, but with a photo spread in Martha Stewart last month, I think the secret is out.



We drove an hour and a half north to Elkhorn, Wisconsin and pulled into the camp owned by Thereasa and David Surratt who welcomed us, showed us around and introduced us to our fellow campers.

What would follow was three days of camp fires, tree houses, swinging, canoes and cards. We did some catch and release fishing with two awesome kids that happened to be there and slept “the sleep of the just” in our very modest cottage, which Thereasa moved across country and restored. Immaculately decorated in antiques from the era of the camp’s heyday, every corner of the camp holds some secret or undiscovered delight.


Since moving to Chicago, I’ve often wanted to just drop everything, drive somewhere and breathe. I’m thrilled to have found my new favorite hiding place…

and I can’t wait to go back.


To book your own Wandawega getaway:

Wandawega Lake Resort

Elkhorn, Wisconsin






Guest Post by Becky Hill: Read the map, enjoy the journey

When you purchase a map and travel guide it is a good idea to actually read it.  The romance and intrigue of randomly wandering the streets in a new city can actually be quite dangerous if you’re not paying attention.  I am impatient person to put it mildly, and I neglected to carefully examine the details of the “Casco Viejo walking tour” suggested in my book. Thus, I found myself wandering around in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Panama City wearing a halter top. (It was literally 105 degrees so it seemed like an appropriate wardrobe choice at the time.)  “The book mentioned boutiques and restaurants,” I thought to myself as I marveled at the abandoned facades.  As the streets became eerily silent and abandoned it dawned on me that I was reading the map backwards.  My suspicions were confirmed when I turned around to see a man running toward me frantically waving his arms.  He grabbed my arm spinning me in the opposite direction and proceeded to walk me across the street. He pointed me in the right direction, smiled, and walked back to the part town he warned me against visiting.

I have been blessed more times than I can count by acts of kindness and generosity.  But, I have unfortunately come to realize that my actions do not always reflect the same generous spirit. I have lived in a large city most of my life.  A place that I know so well I can tell you the zip code and cross streets if you give me an address.  Running around in my daily life I often see people who are lost, confused, or obviously heading the wrong way.  Then I think about the very few times I have stopped and made an effort to be a guide or a watchful eye.  Being impatient and always in a hurry leaves behind so many opportunities for positive interactions and experiences.  The man who literally ran to help me most likely does not even remember our brief encounter, but I think of it quite often.  It is time to slow down, read the map, enjoy the journey, and take the opportunity to help others along the way.

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check out more of Becky’s photography here at Becky Hill Photography