Natalie Sayin is an internet addict with a passion for the country of Turkey. Deciding to combine the two, she formed the Turkish Travel Blog; her diary of the places she visits, people she meets and the sometimes awkward scenarios that she manages to get into. She tells us more about her home in an Aegean resort town in the south west of Turkey.
I’m sure you’ve never heard this before: where are you from?
I was born in Zimbabwe and then my parents moved to England when I was a child. We settled in the bustling city of Nottingham, famous for being the hunting ground of Robin Hood. I used to love exploring the castle and lace market area in Nottingham but there came a day when I knew there was more to life than Nottingham and I was eager to leave.
And what did you do there, then?
I was a manager for the well-known supermarket chain of Tesco. It was a good job but as I already mentioned, I wanted a life that was different and did not feel so routine. I was also in the financial position that I could not support myself no matter how hard I worked. It was not a hard decision to leave, as I had nothing to give up that mattered to me.
How did you end up in Didim?
I managed to get out of Nottingham by securing a job with a well-known travel company. I was to be a holiday rep and worked in the resorts of Marmaris and Kusadasi before they placed me in Didim. I am not sure how it happened but over the years, it became my home and turned out to be a great base from which to see the rest of Turkey.
Have you lived abroad before?
As mentioned, I was born in Zimbabwe but my parents left when I was seven so my memories are very hazy. I would like to return there one day, just to look back on my childhood. I also lived for three months in Spain and three months in Fuerteventura. On both occasions, I was desperate to get back to Turkey.
So what’s so good about Didim?
Ok, it is truth time now! At one stage, I was a die-hard fan of Didim however lately have become much disheartened with the place. I have to look carefully at the smaller things to appreciate the town. Obviously, we have the famous Apollon temple on our doorstep but out of all the places in Turkey, I would not recommend it to be the first destination that you visit.
And what don’t you like?
Do you feel like an insider or outsider?
In Didim, I totally feel like an insider and maybe that is the problem. I am always fascinated with new destinations but if I develop an in-depth knowledge of the place, I get bored and feel like I want to move on. There is the old-fashioned saying that familiarity breeds contempt and maybe that is true in my case.
How do you support yourself?
I work from the internet and this means that I can always work no matter which destination I am visiting. Freelancing from the internet is not easy when you are just starting out but if you get yourself a good portfolio and references, then customers will come flocking. I am in the fortunate case that I have long-term customers so I do not have to worry too much about finding new work.
Any advice for wannabe Didimians?
Use it as a base to explore. Many people, who come to Didim never, move out of the place. Take a day trip to the old town of Soke, the historical ruins of Ephesus or have a four-day road trip of the Bodrum peninsula. If you want to stay in Didim, do not assume that you are seeing the real face of Turkey because you are not.
Is the move permanent?
I have my Turkish citizenship now so Turkey is my home. I will always use Didim as a base and continue to visit more destinations within the country, which I have not seen before. There is so much out there, to witness with my own eyes and even though my blog will be two this year, I have only just scratched the surface on discovering Turkey.
Finally, tell us about something typically Didim (or Turkey)
To describe the typical Didim, I would use the words “mini Britain”. To describe typical Turkey, I will say “a vibrant mix of traditions and cultures that make it a place worth falling in love with”