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Published: Wednesday April 16, 2014 MYT 5:51:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday April 16, 2014 MYT 6:25:18 PM

Experiences money can’t buy

The Ocak Guesthouse in Goreme, Turkey

The Ocak Guesthouse in Goreme, Turkey

One of the things my husband and I are passionate about is exploring the world with our children. We love the adventure that travel brings and the thrill of discovering new things together. Being in new places, picking up another language, meeting new people, and sampling different food are just intriguing.

Travelling is definitely an experience I find worth spending money on. Somehow, spending on material objects does not give me the joy that I get from travelling. Going to a new place always opens up whole new horizons, It makes me see things from different perspectives and appreciate differences as well as similarities between my world and that of others.

It also teaches me to enjoy the moment because when I travel, I want to make the most out of every second I have and create fond memories out of it.

It’s also good training for me to learn to let go. Once when I lost some cash on the second day of my trip I made a conscious decision to not let it set a negative tone to my journey.

I consciously chose to move on and take it as a lesson to be more careful and alert.

The way I travel has changed compared to my first trip abroad 14 years ago. Previously, when I visited a country, my aim was to see as much as I could. Nowadays I prefer to take my time to soak in the beauty of my surrounding instead of rushing it or trying to do too much.

I am just happy sometimes to sit in a cafe watching people go about their day.

My family and I recently went to Turkey to explore some parts of the country. This is our third week here and while my husband had to go back for work after a couple of weeks, my kids and I are staying for a month.

The writer's children with Ethem and Muso Polat, the couple who run the Ocak Guesthouse in Goreme, Turkey

Travelling is also an opportunity to exercise patience and understanding towards my children. There were times when I had wanted to go to a certain place but because my children were tired, I decided not to. When travelling with children I realised it’s important to pace ourselves. It’s not about the number of things we do or see but having fun and making memorable experiences.

Another thing I enjoy is connecting with the locals. When we were in Goreme, a town in Cappadocia, Turkey, we stayed with the locals at a cave house. The family of four owns and runs Ocak Guesthouse/homestay and we stayed with them for three nights. It was definitely one of the highlights of our journey.

The town has everything to offer its visitors. For example, the incredible rock formations that look like fairy chimneys, hot air balloon, cave houses and an ancient underground city nearby.

The couple who own and run the place Ethem and Muso Polat made us feel like we’re part of their family. What made our stay even more memorable was being able to enjoy traditional living experience with them.

The guesthouse is rustic and the family practices traditional living. They recycle and use natural resources like firewood to cook, keep themselves warm and heat bath water. We also get to be in the kitchen with Muso to help her prepare dinner one night. My husband once followed Ethem to collect firewood for cooking dinner.

Ethem, the husband, took time off his busy schedule, so he could drive us around to see historical sites and attractions nearby The couple work very hard to run the guesthouse and restaurant as well as maintaining their cave house which had been around for four generations. They were constantly doing something and I learned a lot from observing them.

Because of their hospitality and kindness my family and I got to experience Goreme for what it has to offer - an adventurous and mystical town. To me, some parts of the town, for example, the cave houses and the rock formations which appear like fairy chimneys, looks like a scene out of a Star Wars movie.

Experiences and friendships are something special, especially if we allow ourselves to trust.

> The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.

Tags / Keywords: Goreme, Turkey, travel

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