Friday, 4 April 2008
Istanbul, not Constantinople
What's the opposite of homesickness?
The short story I'm currently writing is set in Turkey and primarily in Istanbul. This is a city I've been lucky enough to visit twice: once in 1998 and once in 2003. As a result I've got my holiday diaries to draw upon for notes (Always keep a diary when on holiday!), and rather a lot of photos (I have 65 photo-albums so far, and now I've got a digital camera I'm taking more and better pictures). I've been looking through them all.
I don't actually like big cities as a rule, but Istanbul is something else. Magical.
Now I've got anti-home-sickness. I want to go abroad, desperately. I want to amble round museums and buy postcards. I want to explore Roman ruins and learn the histories of places I've never heard of. I want to wake up at 6am to the sound of the muezzin's call to prayer, and fall asleep again with a big happy smile on my face. I want that curious mix of insecurity and anticipation, and that feeling of connecting to a wider world. I want to experience the unfamiliar.
Holidays are really important to me. Hey: I spend almost no money on new clothes, shoes or make-up throughout the year, so I don't feel bad about what I do spend my earnings upon. We have a few dedicated holiday buddies that we often travel with, who have similar interests and stamina levels. That's really important!
And when I look back, these trips abroad are some of my greatest memories. And the memories go into my stories.