To learn more about Mustafa, visit his website, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Born and raised in New York to Turkish immigrant parents, I’ve been exposed to many different cultures, cuisines and fashion styles throughout my life. To further enhance my worldly knowledge I’ve also been fortunate enough to have traveled to more than 18 different countries. Growing up I’ve had both a U.S. and Turkish passport ever since I can remember and my parents were big on exposing me to Turkish culture. Thus, most of my summers were spent in my their hometown of Izmir, along the Turkish Aegean coast.
Some of my favorite travel experiences include hiking the Eyjafjallajökull volcano glacier in Iceland. This is the same volcano that erupted in 2010, causing enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe. Swimming in Cleopatra Island (Sedir Island), in Turkey was also amazing. The world class beach contains organic sand brought in by ships from Egypt for Cleopatra. The beach is now protected by the government to prevent any sand from being removed by visitors. Also, working / living in a refugee camp in the Palestinian West Bank for 3 weeks was quite a humbling experience. Me and a group of 30 volunteers from around the world help build a school yard.
In my opinion, the best thing a person can do for him/herself is travel. It will change you like little else can. It will force you out of your comfort zone and help you grow as a person. As long as you have a passport there is no reason to not travel. With the amount of great websites like Travelzoo or Sherman Deals, there are always good opportunities out there. Also, if you don’t mind the cold weather, traveling during none peak seasons can be very rewarding as well. The main reasons being the low airfare / hotel prices and the short waits at all the attractions.