Adventurer: Turku Ekin is a lawyer-turned-traveler

1 October 2021

Visit Turku Ekin on Instagram

About you

My story has become a bit complicated since I finished my internship as a lawyer in Turkey. Till then, everything was going smoothly. I was a very successful and social student who can play violin, sing in multiple school choirs, volunteer in community projects, and travel within the country as much as possible, party with friends, etc. I even graduated from law school with the second highest degree in my faculty.
I didn’t enjoy being a lawyer. I didn’t like my country because of the politics and people’s general mindset. So I ended up in New Zealand on a working holiday visa. Spent one of the most challenging yet rewarding years of my life. I fell in love with an English guy so badly. After dating for 2,5 months, I had to leave him because I didn’t want to give up traveling.
I worked for 6 months in total in different places from warehouses to juice stores, motels to volunteer projects in exchange for food and accommodation. I was hitchhiking sometimes solo sometimes with another solo female traveler from France. Sometimes I was busking with my baglama which is a Turkish folk instrument. I had a hard time finding a job and saving up some money for my return ticket to Turkey. So eventually my mom had to pay for it.
After my experience in New Zealand, It was impossible for me to live in my country and work as a lawyer. Backpacking New Zealand changed me a lot. So I went to Australia to study management for 1 year. I love the country and people very much. So I applied for a second school to study Marketing. In the meantime, I was working as a waitress, house cleaner, babysitter, uber driver… anything really. I also stated to my Youtube Channel which I still put a lot of effort into. After two years of Aussie life and saving up some money, I came back to Turkey to travel around the world for two years with my mom. She also closed her business to make our dreams come true.
But because of the pandemic, the borders were closed and we ended up staying at home for 7 months which was a huge disappointment for me because I didn’t have a plan B.
After 7 months of being unemployed and a miserable time at home, I went to the Balkans and started to travel again. I was back to the game again. Made many videos for Youtube. Did loads of Couchsurfing to save money. Met amazing people along the way and even fell in love with a Serbian guy(well, it didn’t end up well as I was not planning to give up traveling.)
After my Balkan trip for three months, I came back to Turkey and booked a ticket to Tanzania. My mom decided to join me for 5 weeks. Despite the pandemic, we went there and had an amazing time. We had corona but It didn’t affect us so badly, thank god. We did Couchsurfing with mom too to save money and travel like a backpacker!! I always wanted to see my mom with a huge backpack and staying in a Couchsurfing place, meeting locals, eating local food etc. So It was such a funny experience.
After my mom left, I continued my journey around Tanzania alone. Guess what, I fell in love with a Tanzanian guy and extended my visa because of him. So I have been in Tanzania for 8 months now. We moved in together in a very tiny house in a very poor neighborhood. He is doing his internship as a doctor in the hospital. But as we don’t have much money, we live on a budget, wash our clothes by hand, enjoy simple things in life. I kind of gave up traveling for a guy for the first time. I still can’t believe myself. We are planning to get married in December but don’t know which country to live in as we both don’t like our own countries.
As one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, I volunteered in a daycare centre as an English teacher for 3 months. On social media, I collected money for the school, an orphanage, a nearby secondary school and helped so many people and students. It is very hard to express my feelings about that. It was magical.
Oh, by the way, I am 29 years old. And my partner is 25.

Why do you travel and look for adventures?

I love seeing how other people live and think, learning about the similarities and the differences between us. Laughing at the same stuff, dancing together, sharing the same food.. I travel to learn more about myself via other cultures and perspectives.

What kind of adventures do you look for when you travel?

Socialising with the locals in every way possible. Attending a wedding, visiting a school, staying with locals.. These are all an adventure to me as I am the only one different from the people around. As if you are in another universe.

What’s your go-to travel hack?

Don’t forget to smile at people. It opens many doors.

Got any gear you can’t travel without?

My gopro camera, a frying pan, and leave in conditioner

What destination are you eager to go back to?

I have been to 25 countries so It is hard to choose..
New Zealand to do the Milford Sound track! (honeymoon idea 🙂
Australia, Melbourne to see my amazing friends again
Iran to visit more rural areas to experience the culture more
Serbia to see my friends again

How do you stay safe when you’re travelling?

I make sure my phone has an internet and a battery. I download the offline map. I read a lot and watch videos about the city. Depending on the country, I try to be mindful of what I am wearing.
I ask locals. They tell me what to do and what not to do

What’s the best way to experience a destination like a local?

Couchsurfing! I have done it in so many countries and It is the best way for me. You don’t have to stay with them, you can use couchsurfing hangout to meet locals and they will tell you where to eat, where to go as a local. Airbnb might work too. Just make sure you ask them to show the local life, not touristic places.

What’s your favourite word in another language?

”Nakupenda” means ”I love you” in Swahili which is the official language of Tanzania

When and where are you next travelling?

As I have been in Tanzania for 8 months now, I am going back to Turkey for a while next week. My partner will come and visit me there in December and after that, we might go to Germany to study. If we have enough money to travel, definitely Colombia is the first country to go in our mind.

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