Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stamp Collecting at its Best

Hello, my name is Mona; and I am a Stamp Collector. That's right, I am an official member of the Passport Visa Stamp Collector Club (read world traveler). I made my first international trip to Istanbul, Turkey, all expenses paid! Now, I am addicted to world traveling and will continue to collect stamps. My hope is to find a way to combine my love of traveling with writing and a paycheck. I will keep you updated on the progress.

How did a land an all-expense paid trip to the other side of the world? Easier than you think, but not without troubles, frustrations, phantom flight confirmations, and a new best friend at Delta/Air France airlines. When I look back over my trip a few words come to mind...

nervous. excited. anxious. naive. hungry (literally famished). confused. AMERICAN. non-stop flight. 11 hours in a window seat. complimentary wine & beer (yay!). language barrier. Ataturk Airport. $20 for a visitor visa. MY FIRST STAMP. Entry allowed. turkish culture. a muslim nation. aggressive drivers. yellow taksi (taxis). Pointe Hotel. Taksim Square. turkish lira (currency). Metro subway system. CLEAN Metro subway system. NBA Television. BBC. CNN International. Ayran. turkish burre (beer). turkish night clubs. the Grand Bazaar. lots and lots of stairs. the Blue Mosque. Basillica Cistern. Ayasofia. chants of the loud speaker. great food. not so good desserts. hazelnut- they love hazelnut. DAMN YOU - Paris Charles de Gaulle security checkpoint. confiscated turkish champagne. Ah! - AMERICA - home of the brave, land of the free!

On a cold winter day four months ago, I fell in love with the world and traveling. From applying & receiving my passport to photographing my confiscated liquor in Paris, I will cherish the memories and the experiences. If you have the chance to travel, DO IT. There's a big world out there, Cookie. Get UP. Get OUT and get GONE. Travel, travel, travel. You won't regret it.

Say MERHABA (hello) to the world!

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