February 8, 2023

Chicby Karina

Think exceptional travel

Women Who Travel Podcast: Walkable Cities with Elif Batuman and Rebecca Mead

Condé Nast Traveler

LA: I think what you said about just thinking about travel kind of being, like, ethically complicated is really interesting.

EB: Yeah, it’s not … there are, these questions don’t have very clear answers.

LA: I think part of it is just-

EB: Not to be a bummer on the travel podcast. [laughs]

LA: [laughs] No, no, this is exactly what I wanna talk about in this podcast. And I think it’s, like, accepting that the important thing is to ask those questions and maybe we just haven’t figured out some of the answers yet.

EB: I don’t remember these questions being asked when I was a kid when I was younger. So, the fact that we’re asking them, we’re, of course we’re not at the answers yet. And it’s important not to be demoralized just because we don’t have the answers right now.

LA: On the subject of choosing places to live, and you said that, you know, you’re based in New York right now, how do New York and Istanbul compare? And do you feel like they each give you something different?

EB: They’re so different, the New York world view and the Istanbul world view. And I did feel like they were a very productive and fun alternation. This summer I was actually, I was in Istanbul and I was hanging out on Burgazada, which is one of the Princes’ Islands, with some friends, and you know, you can go swimming there in the Sea of Marmara. And the produce was so wonderful. And, I mean, they’re having a horrible economic crisis and people are really, really suffering. And as a result, the dollar is very strong. It’s, you know, so, there’s, uh, ethical problems everywhere. But, like, I just had such a wonderful time there.

And the human relations felt so much more kind of, like, organic and it was so much easier to see people and there were more public spaces and outdoor spaces where we could kind of, like, congregate and not feel like we were fleeing from one place where we’re gonna have to pay $23 for a glass of wine to another. And there were children and old people, and I was like, “Okay, this is actual life.” There’s several islands that are known as the Princes’ Islands, and they’re between 40 and 70 minute ferry ride from the main land. So, some people live there all year round, and they’re- they’re popular for vacations. But they’re a part of Istanbul. But you, most of them you can’t drive a car.

LA: I visited one of those islands as a kid, and I still remember the magical feeling of getting to know a place that has no cars. Finally, here’s a lyrical description of an evening in Malta from Genevieve Aron, who sent us this dispatch.

Genevieve Aron: I decided to go to Malta solo, and my most memorable experience was in [inaudible 00:32:32] Bay, it’s a narrow bay with steep cliffs on either side. And the south side has layers of five floor apartments, a row, then stairs down to a promenade, then more stairs down to the promenade. And after dinner I grabbed a gelato to go, and walked over to the steps just above the water to watch the sunset. It was a Saturday night and someone lit candles all along the steps. I’m assuming it’s so you know where to walk once it got dark. And a pop up stage was setup in the corner of the bay where live music played. And, like, even night divers were getting into the water, and I saw their [laughs] flashlights swim by.

There was so much life going on around me, but it was so peaceful at the same time. I sat there for almost a full hour, being in the moment, not even really thinking about anything, just watching diminish of daylight, the growing glow of candle light and town light and the gentle waves. It was a really memorable experience.

LA: Thank you for listening. I’m Lale Arikoglu and you can find me as always on Instagram, @lalehannah, and follow along with Women Who Travel on Instagram @womenwhotravel. You an also join the conversation in our Facebook group. Allison Leyton-Brown is our composer. Brett Fuchs and Jennifer Nulsen were our engineers. Jude Kampfner from Corporation For Independent Media is our producer. Next week, the joys and unexpected adventures of complicated train journeys. For more stories from Women Who Travel, visit cntraveler.com.