A Bad Week for Turkey: In Which I Defend My Right to Travel

Poor Turkey.  Between the U.S. Embassy bombing in Ankara and the death of Sarai Seirra in Istanbul, it’s having a very shitty week.  I’ve been following Sarai’s story through Twitter since the day her family flew to find her.  Obviously, it interests me because of my upcoming trip where I too will be traveling alone to Istanbul.  There is a lot of mystery here and I don’t think we are being told the whole story.  Well, of course, we aren’t – it’s an ongoing investigation after all.  I just mean I hope to learn something from all of this that can be helpful (beyond my usual travel paranoia).  Did she make some bad choices?  Trust the wrong people?  Or was this a completely random crime?

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not victim-blaming.  But if you read the comments below any of the dozens of stories about this, you will find plenty of people who are.  And sadly, they are mostly Americans of the ignorant variety, who are terrified of foreign travel because it is so… foreign.  These people believe the U.S. is the safest place in the world and that a woman should never travel alone or she deserves what she gets.  That a woman’s place is in the home or by the side of her man.  That all Muslims want to kill Americans.  People who only eat white bread and American cheese, and believe ketchup counts as a vegetable.  And so on.  I am taking great offense and it’s all I can do to not leave a hundred comments about what morons these people truly are.  What they say about her is essentially what they are saying about me and it really pisses me off.  To them I say:

  • Not everyone is a people-loving extrovert who draws energy from those around them.  Some people enjoy being alone and need that peace to recharge.
  • There are plenty of reasons why I sometimes enjoy traveling alone.  None of them have anything to do with running away, cheating on my husband, smuggling drugs, being an amateur spy or whatever other bullshit people are going to charge Sarai with next.
  • Why would a mother and wife travel alone?  I’m not a mom but it doesn’t take a genius to answer this.  She’s a mother and wife.  Duh.  You don’t ever want to get away from your loved ones that you are constantly caring for?  Don’t lie – you dream of a vacation by yourself.
  • Oh, you’d never actually go?  Maybe that’s because you have a defeatist attitude and have given up your dreams because society tells you that they are worthless when compared to your responsibilities.  Wake up.  It’s a big world and if all you’re seeing of it in this life is South Podunk, you’ve already died a little.
  • I don’t HAVE to go to Istanbul.  I could travel in this country, which I already do.  And I could just as easily come to an unpleasant end here.  Some would argue MORE easily.
  • Being a woman doesn’t take away my right to travel anywhere I choose to, even if it is going to be alone.  And as my sister pointed out, I am probably more in danger during my annual Mardi Gras trip than in Istanbul.

I don’t know, I don’t even know where to begin with how angry I am when I read those comments.  SO. ANGRY.  So many idiots. I’m not going to hide in my house, cowering in fear.   I guess that’s all.

About deepfriedyankee

I am a parade of one. A seeker of bathtubmarys. A lover of Mardi Gras, bacon and marbles. I have the patience of a saint. A very, very flawed saint.
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3 Responses to A Bad Week for Turkey: In Which I Defend My Right to Travel

  1. eastandbloom says:

    Don’t worry about traveling to Istanbul alone. This comes from a local woman from Istanbul. Like every huge city, Istanbul too has places which are better to avoid night or day. There are 15mn people in Istanbul – of course some of them are criminals. I have traveled to the US many times as well as many European metropols and I have used common sense every time to stay away from places I do not know. I am very very sorry for Sarai, a mom of two little ones, may she rest in peace. But I also find it strange to blame Istanbul or Turks as I have seen in some of those reader comments you mentioned, This could have happened in NY, in London, in Zurich… If you ever have questions on Istanbul, I would be happy to help. Have fun – Istanbul is one of the most amazing cities in the world….

    • Thank you. I have heard nothing but good things about your city since making my decision to visit. It’s frustrating to hear the negative views of people who have probably never traveled outside of their own state and are the perfect picture of “the ugly American” that I strive NOT to be when in another country.

  2. ali delli says:

    Come to İstanbul,don’t hesitate it is less danger than nyc.don’t worry, be happy.

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