The competition does not end when you enter the business life. I have many friends who can’t go on leave because they can’t get things done. Many employers in Turkey see annual leave as a luxury rather than a necessity, and if they cannot use the leave, they transfer it to the next year, after all. Not being able to deserve annual leave in the first year of employment, only 14 days of annual leave for the first 5 years, and Saturday being counted as annual leave are among the most striking examples reflecting the perspective of our laws on taking time for oneself.

Another issue is unpaid annual leave (sabbatical). The fact that the competition is high brings to mind the fear of being replaced by someone else if the person wants to take unpaid leave. Apart from these, there are very few employers in Turkey who follow a leave policy. Frankly, if I hadn’t moved to the Netherlands, I wouldn’t be able to travel this much and I wouldn’t be able to take such long vacations. I have 25-30 working days off every year since I first started working and I have to use the majority of my leaves in that year so that my leaves do not burn. In addition, leave is approached as a necessity, not a luxury.

Another reason is that our currency is weak. Europeans living with their families at university or after can travel comfortably with the euros or pounds they have saved. Although Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries I’ve been to, that cheapness is actually not for the euro, not the Turkish lira. For example, although eating hot food for 3 US dollars is cheap for a European, it is not very different for us Turks. A Turkish has to spend much more effort than a European in order to reach the same amount of holiday budget.
Turks are a society that does not give up their comfort too much.

Maybe the geography we live in is effective in this. For example, since the number of sunny days in the summer is very high, we prefer to go out at sunset if we do not have an urgent business. If the weather is rainy that day in winter, we postpone going out until the next day because it will definitely open the next day. What I admire most is that they don’t give up on cycling in the Netherlands no matter what the weather is. A British friend of mine worked with, “The only people I know who plan according to the weather are the Turks.” he found out.

We immediately use this understanding of comfort to furnish the interior of our homes and to commute by car even for the shortest distances. Holiday plans are shaped accordingly. For example, since Iceland is a very expensive country, I prepared my own dinners in the hostel kitchen during my stay. My aim was to see that place and I was never offended by it. With exceptions, I can’t imagine that Turks are traveling on a low budget by camping with their backpacks somewhere outside of Europe.

I was asked “How do you find the money and time to travel so much?”, “How do you travel alone?”, “Don’t you get bored alone?”, “Are hostels reliable?” etc. I see that we are very prejudiced about traveling from questions. Yes, traveling can be very costly if luxuries and comfort are indispensable. I have more annual leave compared to Turkey and I can combine my business trips with my holidays. This way, I can create time for my dreams. In fact, it is easier to make new friendships when traveling alone. Hostels are comfortable places to stay as long as they are cautious (lockers etc.). It is necessary to research the criteria such as cleanliness and location well.

If I were the minister responsible for youth, one of my first actions would be to give an interest-free backpacking loan to university students. Let the young people see the world, experience what it is like to go out of the comfort limit, discover new places and make new friends. Anyway, neither the time nor the budget will allow them to do this for the rest of their lives. Especially in the conditions of our country… I knew that the summer of 2014 was the hardest summer of my life because of the paragliding accident I had, and on top of that, my boyfriend at the time left me alone in the country ‘because we weren’t married’ during the recovery process with a very ‘honorable’ act.

Until the summer of 2019. The summer of 2019 pushed me pretty hard, apart from the heartache. What happened, dear reader? Right after I learned I had a moderate risk of cancer, I learned that I was laid off along with half the office. I couldn’t say get well this time. First, I went to Istanbul in June and had a small operation, and upon my return, I immediately started getting the necessary vaccinations. Since I took the necessary precautions regarding my health, there was not much left to do until the control in November.

We started negotiations with the company with my dear lawyer, whom I hired for the first time in my life. Due to the slowness of recruitment and the scarcity of job postings in the summer, the difficult process has also begun. The hardest part, of course, was the uncertainty. I have not canceled any of my previously planned trips. I saw my travels in Puglia and Russia as opportunities to breathe, even though my brain was preoccupied with uncertainty in the background.