One of the greatest thrills I get out of traveling is the chance to finally see all of the cities, monuments, and attractions that I only heard about on TV or saw in textbook pictures. From Big Ben in London to the Louvre in Paris or the Parthenon in Athens, I’ve experienced the feeling dozens of times before, but there is one building in particular that stands out in my mind as the quintessential monument that I felt would forever remain just a picture - the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. At first glance, it may seem a bit strange that out of all the monuments in the world, this Byzantine church, turned mosque, turned museum holds the number one spot in my mind, but it's all the result of an unexpected class I took years ago back in high school.
Viewing entries in
In my old consulting days, at the end of every project my team would summarize our “lessons learned.” Nobody ever enjoyed the exercise, but it was always an invaluable resource for the next team. I did this for work numerous times, but never once took inventory of my own “lessons learned” in life. Now that I’m traveling, I realize the value of writing them down and I feel this is one of the few ways I can give back to readers of this blog.
Today I sit overlooking the Bosphorus Strait from a rooftop patio in Istanbul. I arrived over three weeks ago and this is literally the fifth day of sunshine I’ve encountered. The preceding days were cloudy, rainy, and cold with only a handful of moments where the sun managed to break through the thick blanket of ominous clouds. The weather isn't quite what I was hoping for, but then again, it is the beginning of December. All things considered, I can't really complain since I’m sitting outside in shorts, flip-flops, and t-shirt. As surprising as the weather may be, today marks a far more important milestone - the sixth month anniversary of my departure from the US.