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Çiğdem Çalap

The Adventure Company Leader of the Month September 2010

Country:  Turkey

Trips Run:  TAW - Turkey Activity Week,   FTU - Turquoise Coast,   FXTT - Active Turkey  

How long have you been leading trips for The Adventure Company:

5 years

The best thing about being a tour leader is meeting lots of different people and keeping them as your friends and planning for more travel with them! Kaş and Mount Nemrud are some of favourite places to visit in Turkey right after my hometown Istanbul.

What is your travel experience/background?

I started working in tourism in 1989 as a very young transfer girl and worked for promotional companies, cultural institutions, foundations for culture and art in Turkey as an interpreter for visiting artists. I got my tourist guide licence in 1996. Since then, I have been working as a tour guide and an interpreter/translator. I met very interesting people like Bono from U2, Betty Carter, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and so on. It is so nice to be able to meet new people every day!!

What is your favourite activity /event on the trips you lead?

So many!! I looove scuba diving which was kind of scary since I didn’t have the slightest clue about it! I love sea kayaking too. My favourite event is going out at night for dinner at the end of a long but wonderful day with all the lovely new friends that I meet on trips.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is not one but many things actually. It is so nice to be able to work in a lovely town like Kas which is my favourite place in the country now after my hometown Istanbul. My job also enables me to meet new challenges and new areas of interest like many different outdoor sports and brings me opportunities to make new friends!

In your mind, what is the best place to visit in your country?

Best place depends on your interest. Istanbul is one of the most interesting places on the face of earth if you ask me. It has culture, culinary wonders, new events happening every day on every single corner of it, energy so high to last you more than a lifetime. If you are looking for a quiet, local touch with more time at your hands, you should try the Turquoise coast and of course experience the Gullet journeys at least for a few days. If you don’t mind the warmest weather (you will be right on water, right?), you can enjoy the meteor showers in August on a gullet.  Lycian Road, Cappadocia and Black Sea Coast all have many routes for climbers, hikers and all kinds of travellers interested in nature and/or history since Turkey is full of these.

In your mind, what is the most interesting custom in your country?

There are so many! We nod yes in a different way. We raise our head up to say “no”. Our steps into a room has to be with the right foot. We have this custom to share what we eat when we have food in front of other people even if we don’t know them so that they won’ t crave for the delicious food we are having. We kiss each other on both cheeks when we greet each other. In the rural areas, still today, one house assigned in the village leaves the front light on at night in case a passerby needs to ask for help or food or a bed that will be hosted as “god’s guest”.

In your mind, what is the most important phrase to know?

“Teşekkür ederim” which is “thank you” or “lütfen” which is “please.

In your mind, when is the best time to vist and why?

Best time to visit Turkey and Kaş would be late May, June or September and October which has the best weather, no big crowds and then you have to whole town to yourself if you are lucky.

In your mind, what are the most important items to pack for your tour?

You should definitely pack a good pair of sneakers or walking shoes for biking or any other activity. You should make sure you have lotion for sun protection. A hat is necessary and of course you have to bring your camera with you to bring memories back home.

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