By Pat Robitaille, 3-time traveler & Vacation Ambassador, Huntington Beach, California
I began traveling in 1968—first with my mother, and then with my girlfriends—prior to getting married. When I met my husband, Arthur, we realized we shared a love of travel, and since then, we’ve explored such wonderful destinations as China, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Egypt, and most of Europe. Arthur and I even created a “must-see” destination list with all of the places we dreamed of traveling to one day. We loved crossing each new destination we explored off of our list.
So when Arthur passed away, I found myself without my usual traveling companion. I’d traveled with my mother and girlfriends in the past, but had never taken a trip without a travel “partner.” I was ready to get out and explore again—and this time, I wanted to visit Turkey. I taught history for many years and knew this was a perfect place to learn about the Greek and Roman ruins. I asked my circle of friends if they’d like to come to Turkey with me, but none had any desire to go. In desperation, I decided I’d still go, even if it meant traveling by myself with a group of people I didn’t know.
As a former history teacher, Pat enjoyed seeing all of Turkey’s fascinating ancient ruins—including her visit to the Library of Celsus in Ephesus.
I had a few fears about the prospect of traveling alone: First, I was worried that I’d have no one to talk to—but after first meeting my fellow travelers, I realized how friendly everyone was … and I had nothing to worry about. And because of the free Single Supplements (which was another reason I had no hesitation reserving my trip), there were many other single travelers—both male and female—in my group. Almost everyone was a seasoned traveler, and we all enjoyed sharing our memories of places we’d gone in the past.
I was also nervous that the group would be too large. I had traveled previously to Thailand with OAT, and was used to the smaller group size. I didn’t want to feel as though we were cattle being herded from location to location—but I never once felt that way. Since we were experienced travelers, we were always on time, no one got lost, and we were respectful of everyone else’s time.
One of Pat’s favorite moments was her hot-air balloon ride over the unique landscapes of Cappadocia.
My trip to Turkey was a complete learning experience for me. Although I have a master’s degree in history, my Program Director was extremely knowledgeable and taught me things that I never knew. Turkey is literally located where East meets West and has a history of more than 4,000 years. It also contains a diverse range of cultural and historical influences: Hittite, ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Turkish, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. I’ll never forget ballooning over the incredibly strange landscapes of Cappadocia, or the beauty of the ancient Greek statues in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. It truly was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
Upon returning home, I was able to cross another destination off of our “must-see” list. As I glanced over the places still untouched, I saw New Zealand—a destination that had always been high on our list. So I booked my trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji with one of my girlfriends for this past September. Although we traveled together, thanks to Grand Circle’s Single Supplement, I enjoyed a room by myself again.
Even though I’m getting older, and I’m not able to travel to the more “rugged” destinations I once enjoyed, I’ll continue exploring new destinations for as long as I can. And I’ll look forward to crossing at least one more destination off of our list.
Uncover the historic treasures awaiting you on our Crossroads of Turkey vacation.