This book is about my time teaching English in Istanbul and travelling around Turkey from January 2009 to May 2010.
It includes settling into a Muslim community in a middle class area in Istanbul with all the thrills and spills that you would expect with day to day living. It required making adjustments to my diet, lifestyle and learning to appreciate that the Turkish experience can be very rewarding.
I enjoyed the experience immensely and at one stage started to look at apartments to buy with Bosphorus views. I could have very happily lived in Istanbul for longer but family issues at home brought it to an end.
The Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey have had a very rich, vibrant and often violent history. My students and their friends allowed me to gain a strong understanding of what this was all about.
I developed a strong interest in Turkish politics during my stay and continued to observe issues after I left in 2010. It will be very interesting to see how Turkey deals with enormous problems in the coming years, particularly with terrorism and the tragic position of their neighbours, Syria and Iraq.
There is nothing like living in their community and embracing the Turkish innate wish to provide hospitality to foreigners, particularly English teachers. I should also mention that I met some wonderful Kurdish people and enjoyed their company.
There is no doubt that many wanted to meet me to practise their English but I lapped it up. I guess I learnt much more about Turkey than they did about Australia.
I must give thanks to my fellow teacher, Teresa Hanlon, whos perfect Turkish and generous personality got me out of many sticky situations and also drew me into others. She proved invaluable in dealing with my inevitable scrapes dealing with the bureaucracy and even with my landlord.
Without her friendship and help this incredible journey would have been very bumpy.
I must also thank David Adams for his extremely professional editing of the text. For somebody who still works full time I was amazed how quickly, diligently and accurately he completed this task.