Travel

Escape from Alcatraz

San Francisco has been absolutely gorgeous this winter but of course the fog and rain decided to creep in on the one day my family from Peru was here visiting. I was glad to see some rain come in but the timing was classic.  Peruvians aren’t used to rain so it was a toughie! You should have seen my mom out on the ferry posing for a picture with me, rain blowing in her face. I guilt-tripped her into going out there by saying I was dreaming of a gorgeous picture of us against a San Francisco backdrop. Of course, she is sick now so I hope I’m not fully at fault for that one!

We roughed the mist and wind and set off for a day trip to Alcatraz. I hadn’t been to Alcatraz since a school field trip circa 4th grade and it’s always fun to do tourist things in your own city.


That time I got fired and hopped on a plane to Turkey, solo

It has been over six months since my old job broke up with me. That once dreamy gig I thought would make my life spectacular kicked me to the curb. I’ve played the scene in my head over and over and over again; it’s like a reoccurring bad dream. The one where my boss asks to schedule a quick meeting “to talk.” As soon as he asked I had a bad feeling pour over me. Anxiety started to creep in and I messaged my then best friend that I thought I was about to be fired. She thought I must have been over-analyzing.

“We’ve decided to let you go,” he said, or some version thereof. While I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, it’s strange how it still feels like a complete surprise. “You are?,” I replied. I still wish I would have said something different. Asking that question just seems silly now, but of course I always come up with great responses after the fact…

When I walked out that door, I headed to my regularly scheduled Thursday kickball game and tried my best to stay positive and sane. I was sad, mad, shocked, worried about paying rent, and fighting off the vision of me moving back in with my aunt. I don’t have the luxury of moving back in with my mom or dad, but I do have a wonderful, caring, and controlling aunt that would take me in. The down side is she would also mold my life into exactly how she would like it to be, in exchange for room and board.

Clearing my mind

In a way it sounds serendipitous, in another, it sounds just ludicrous, but I actually had my first vacation in a year booked just a couple days after my firing. One part of me knew I had to save every penny in hopes of maybe getting by for a month in San Francisco by wracking up charges on my credit card and using unemployment (looking back that bit about unemployment was overly naive. That check takes ages to get; I think it took two months or more but that is another story). The other side knew that I had already booked my flight to Bulgaria and Turkey and that I could not pass up this European journey.

I am very anxiety-prone and I really believe leaving the country helped me escape all my negative thoughts. Getting out of my routine and not allowing myself the option to mope, cry, and eat Ben N Jerry’s at home, allowed me to explore new sights, apply to jobs online, and I even got some Skype and phone interviews in. Spending time in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque in particular is a moment I really treasure. My mind is usually analyzing, contemplating, and firing non-stop, and I got to enjoy a rare moment of peace and something close to “emptiness,” but not in the sad way. It was a sense of ridding myself of the bad vibes and choosing to re-build.

A shot from the bus
Instanbul sunset
Istanbul sunset from the Galata Bridge
Spice market teas Istanbul
Teas from the Spice Market
Spice Market Instanbul
A festival of color at the Grand Bazaar & Spice Market, Istanbul
Bosphorus Bridge
The Bosphorus Bridge, connecting Europe and Asia
Taksim Square, Turkey
Taksim Square, Turkey. My home base in Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia roof
The roof of the Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia selfie
Hagia Sophia inside
Finding peace

 

Feeling local with the daily çay #tea #tourist #Turkey #Istanbul #Europe #eurotrip A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

That day I got fired was my first time being told, “we don’t want you,” in a work environment (at a job I already had). It hurts but that adventurous, relentless spirit got me through it. I learned that dream jobs, aren’t always your dreams after all, and if you fight and prepare, a better opportunity will come your way. And just like a “person that I used to know,” I am over that old fling, ready for the next move, ready to grow and mold into a better version of me with some more lessons learnt under my belt.

When in Turkey, save enough time for Istanbul. It’s overwhelmingly big and filled with tons to do. I had to extend my stay from 3 to 7 days! I balanced out the big city hustle and bustle with a trip to Cappadocia. It’s known for it’s magical landscape and hot air balloon rides, but alas, being unemployed I decided to just wake up early and snap photos of the lucky folks up above. Then I ended my fun but job-hunting filled vacation with a 2 day beach trip to Fethiye on the Mediterranean coast. If you get the chance, go to Butterfly Valley & Olu Deniz.

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey
Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey
 

The most beautiful solitary hike #Turkey #Cappadoccia #hiking #Europe #eurotrip

A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

The fairy chimneys in Gorëme. #Turkey #Cappadoccia #Europe #eurotrip A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

The best beach I’ve ever swam in, Butterfly Valley #Mediterranean #Turkey #eurotrip

A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

Now that I am back from this remarkable journey, I am ready to tackle interviews with a clear mind, having a better vision of what I want, where I can improve, and what to watch out for!

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