Traveling transports my soul to another level. Being a daughter of a career diplomat I am fortunate to have grown up around the globe and my family still resides in many different countries. Further, being the CMO of a travel documentation company affords me the luxury of business travel both domestic & international that gives a chance to interact with so many different places and cultures. When you travel a great deal you come to realize that people all over the globe have the same daily issues. One gains an appreciation for the business road warrior and all that it entails. Having to leave the comfort of your home can be grueling when you have to deal with global airport security, delayed/cancelled flights and the threat of social unrest. You never know what you can expect when you leave your familiar surroundings. It is still exhilarating to encounter new destinations no matter what the outcome.

I am passionate about certain countries because they jog past memories or take me on a new journey. I am obsessed and in LOVE with Istanbul,Turkey. It is just sensory overload for me to be Istanbul but I crave going back after each trip ends. There is so much written about the convergence of East & West and the city truly has a unique positioning in the global arena. To be on the Bosphorus and watch the daily traffic of cargo ships, cruise lines and ferries is just mesmerizing. From the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, Bebek, Ortakoy to the chic Nisantasi shopping district it is all colorful and exotic.

I am obsessed with the Grand Bazaar with over five thousand stores there are so many unique items mixed with the touristy souvenirs. To just walk around through the streets of the bazaar and get lost is an adventure. There are still local artisans that sell beautifully hand crafted jewelry, hanging glass lanterns and textiles. It is truly a feast for the eyes. The food whether dining in a café at the bazaar, on the water at Lacivert on the Asian side or enjoying delicious kabobs & mezza at Kosebasi in Nisantasi you can’t go wrong. I crave the Turkish tea in the glass cups and adore chocolate covered Turkish delights at the outdoor café in front of the Dolmabache palace. Simple, friendly and what a beautiful view!

Traffic in Istanbul is horrible so either take the tram when available to your destination, a water Taxi or a local ferry. My hotel of choice is the Four Seasons Bosphorus as it is right on the water, a restored Ottoman Palace with a full Spa, indoor and outdoor pools and the most delicious breakfast served facing the Bosphorus. If you have never been to Istanbul you might want to stay in the old city to have easy access to the historical sights which are in walking distance. There is a Four Season in the old city as well as other boutique hotels. I use Dantur for airport transfers and private guides. The local owner Sina Danyal is very accommodating and professional. Enjoy!!!