#4 Yves and Cagla “Short Visitors”
14 minute read
In this latest ‘people’ feature I’m taking it full circle and returning to the theme of travel. And speaking of themes, the two people that I’m about to introduce you to are very much following a theme of their own.
Meet Yves and Cagla, a Dutch-Turkish couple who were previously based in Istanbul but are now starting a new life together in Wiesbaden, Germany.
They both have a passion for travelling and a real zest for life, and like many travel enthusiasts they decided to start up their own blog to share stories of their travels.
But this is a blog with a difference.
For many of us, including myself, time (or lack of it) is often an issue. Very often we just don’t have enough time to see everything that we’d hoped to see, and this can very often leave us feeling frustrated. If only we knew how to make better use of our time!
Enter Short Visitors; a website that has been created with these people in mind. Yves and Cagla are making it their mission to make the most of every moment that they have, and they’d like to help you do the same.
Elliot – Welcome to Lossul.com! It’s great to have you both on here. The message that your website carries is really inspiring; encouraging us all to make the best of the time that we have and focussing on how much we can still fit in when travelling over shorter durations of time.
Would you be able to start by giving the readers a little bit of your background story, and also explaining what inspired you both to create the ‘Short Visitors’ website?
Yves – First of all, thank you for having us! The pleasure is all ours and we feel flattered to be mentioned in your ‘people’ section.
To answer your question, you first need to know a bit about us. We used to both work in aviation; Cagla as a flight attendant and myself as a commercial pilot. And yes that is how we met as well, haha!
Basically in aviation you don’t get weekends like in a normal work and relation environment, where you both have the weekend and could do something together. We always had to make our ‘off-days’ in a request system and could only request three consecutive days as a maximum, one time a month. Aviation isn’t always that glamorous you know.
You can see the idea of Short Visitors taking shape here.
We always only had three consecutive days a month, and of course some other separate off days, but we wanted to use those three days to do what we love most; travel.
As we got started, travelling pretty regularly, we noticed many people around us were kinda shocked that we “travel so much”, or “how we find the time” to travel so often.
Mostly people feel like they don’t have ‘enough’ time to travel, because at some point in your life, money is not the biggest obstacle anymore. We’re not saying money isn’t an obstacle, because it can still be one, however time seems to be more relevant to people.
That’s when we thought, maybe we can inform other people that you really don’t need like two weeks off from work to travel a bit. We came up with the idea of a travel blog, but had no idea where to start. I just started to read about programming and ‘building your own website’ books and Cagla started to write down what we did during our trips.
Basically that is how Short Visitors was born.
Elliot – I really like the positive spirit of your story. You’ve taken something that many people would perceive to be a problem (only having three days to travel), found a solution to it and then created a valuable ‘short-visit’ blog as a result of that. You made the very best of your circumstances.
Did you both have a love of travel before you met, or have you had an influence on each other which has brought that passion out?
Yves – I’d always travelled with family since I was a little kid, so the travel bug had infected me very early on. Cagla always had that need to travel, but never really found the opportunities to do so. However, my personality is quite disciplined and I am a complete control freak about a lot of things. I really couldn’t just go somewhere and ‘see what happens’. While Cagla is much more a go-with-the-flow kinda person and take things the way they come to you.
The way we influenced each other in our travels is also coming from our personalities; I would come up with an initial idea for a destination by searching through a lot, and Cagla pulled us over that obstacle in your mind that tells you to stay comfortably in your home, because she really wanted to travel and enjoy life.
Again, the main focus for us was (and still is) to just get out and enjoy life, mostly by travelling; even if it’s just for three days a month. I think we compliment each other in the way we plan and make our travels.
Elliot – It really does sound like both your personalities blend together really well and that you bring out the best in each other, and from the gallery of photos on your website you also seem to have a lot of fun together. Ultimately you both seem to have the same aim; to get out there and make the most of life!
A lot of people that I’ve met and spoken to have been solo travellers and I’m aware of the positives and the negatives that come with travelling alone. What would you say are the best things about travelling together as a couple? Are there any drawbacks? And can you provide any words of advice as to how other travelling couples can get the very best out of their time together?
Yves – Well, both ways of travelling have some pros and cons in my opinion.
For me, travelling solo was a huge achievement to begin with; it’s not easy to travel alone and face your fears. You face the unknown and start asking questions like, “what if you don’t like it at all”, “what are other people going to think about you”, and “what if something goes wrong or you need help?”
To get a bit more into detail about that, I travelled solo to Switzerland once for hiking; that was my second solo travel but it still felt like such an achievement, to not let fears stop you from what you really want to do. Particularly at that time, none of my friends had time to travel along but I had 5 days off from work. At that point you either have the option to give in and say, “ah well, I’ll just stay at home”, or to face your personal fears and see it as a challenge.
However, and that is quite an important side-note on travelling solo, it does require a bit more preparation and vigilance. Because you should ask the question, “what if something goes wrong?” Do you have the equipment to call for help for example? Or to at least take care of yourself, after falling or spraining your ankle or whatever.
Long story short, pros of travelling solo; it’s a challenge waiting to be done and it has been one of the best achievements in my life. I would advise everyone to travel solo at least once. It improves your self-knowledge, it’s a great adventure and you grow as a person.
Another perk is not having to deal with the interests of a fellow traveller. If you want to see X today, you go and see X. You don’t have to contemplate about Y, because you personally prefer something else.
Now some of the things I named as perks in travelling solo, can definitely also be achieved when travelling together. However a biiiig pro in travelling together (that is automatically a con in being solo) is sharing.
There are some moments best enjoyed solo, but the majority of moments you wish to share with your loved ones, family, or best friends.
Of course the company along the way, having someone to talk to, growing towards each other, are also things that make travelling as a couple really exciting.
Now sharing is only special if the moment is something special, right? Wrong. It completely depends on both your way of perceiving the trip. We always try to feel blessed (or lucky) when travelling. Even if it’s raining that day or the stupid taxi driver screwed you over. Rule number one, stay positive!
When you actually REALIZE what you are both doing, whether that is in Cape Town, Berlin, or in your garden; if you realize you are enjoying life and taking opportunities, that’s when you’ll share the best moments together. And I remember all of those realisation moments together with Cagla, because they are the moments you truly enjoy, and more importantly, appreciate life.
Elliot – I can totally relate to what you’re saying there. I do like that with solo travelling you can do whatever you want and whenever you want, without having to give too much consideration to what another person wants to do. But at the same time, it’s a wonderful feeling when you have somebody there to share the highs and the lows with, and to create new memories that you are always able to look back on together.
What I’m getting from your responses is that you have a real love of life and a sincere appreciation for all the moments that it has to offer, and that comes across in the writing on your website too. Would either of you say that there was a time in your life when you said ‘enough is enough’ and that you had to make changes? If so, what happened?
Yves – About 2 years ago I found myself in a situation where I kind of took the people around me and the things that happened in my life for granted. I slowly started to realize this and had to make a really difficult decision to literally remove myself from that situation and just take some time for myself.
During that ‘me time’ I made my first real solo travel to Cappadocia and I had that exact moment where you tell yourself…
“Enough is enough. I have wasted too much time taking my life and my loved ones for granted. Now it’s time to start living and to start enjoying life to the fullest.”
Unfortunately I lost some people in my life and they would give anything in the world to see what I am seeing now.
That can also be seen as a big advantage of travelling solo, you get time to think; a lot.
After accepting myself and my flaws in life, I decided that would be the last time to be ‘ungrateful’ or to waste any time on things I don’t really want. From there on things went upwards relatively quickly. I also met Cagla in that same period and she had that ‘no nonsense’ attitude that I had just found in myself.
Although Cagla will probably tell you she had some more ‘problems’ with her career perspective, but her vision of life has always inspired me and still does.
Cagla – I had just one of those ‘enough is enough’ moments. It was about my ex. I think so many people have had that time when you don’t really think you match with each other yet you continue for some reason. Your dreams are completely different but you don’t see it for a while. Well, at the end I said we don’t share the same dreams, and it is time to say goodbye!
After that I saw what I had around me, what I am capable of and what I want. I spent some time with those feelings.
I was a flight attendant and I found Yves. So now I think if I wouldn’t have said ‘fuck off’ to my ex then I wouldn’t have made my dream real; to travel and to travel with someone you love, and to share all these moments.
Then after some time I realised that I actually hated my job. I hated having to deal with a minimum of 600 people in one day. There were so many benefits; money, career, travelling, socializing. I talked with Yves and wanted to take another step in our life.
I always wanted to be a ‘foreigner’ somewhere, to start a new life, to learn a new language, to make a new career.
And now here we are in Germany.
Elliot – And it is those times that have ultimately led you both to where you are now, and that cannot be a bad thing. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
What do you think holds a lot of people back from following through with their dreams, from saying ‘enough is enough’, and what stops people from making the best of the time they have?
And finally, what steps could somebody take right now that would start moving them closer towards the things they really want in life?
Yves – We guess what holds many people back is their comfort zone. It is much easier to stay inside a safe and comfortable place, where you know what you have and what to expect, rather than going into the great unknown and leaving behind the things that feel so cosy and warm.
In how people can get what they really want and stop postponing their hopes and dreams, I can only speak out of experience, because I think this is different for many people. But when you realize how fragile life can be and also to always stay positive.
It hurts to lose things in your life, but it’s also rewarding to find new things in your life that are worth fighting for. And having regrets is forever, as well as having a great experience that you had because you took the jump into the great unknown. The difference is, a regretful feeling is negative and the other one is generally positive.
Elliot – Thank you so much for the answers you’ve given us so far, I think it’s really given us all a wonderful insight into your lives and what inspires you to do the things that you do.
Taking things back to ‘Short Visitors’ now, your website includes a lot of useful information and suggested itineraries for a whole number of different destinations. How much of this do you plan before you set off on your travels? Or do you just visit somewhere new and wait and see what happens and take things as they come?
Yves and Cagla – Actually we try to find some information about our destination before going there, like the highlights, tips from other travellers, things not to see, and the basic information. Then we decide which things we definitely want to see, but we don’t have a very strict organized plan.
Most of the times it’s easier to decide once you are there; how much time you have, what’s worth spending a bit more time at, etc.
At the destination we have a certain set of things we want to see depending upon how much time we have, but if we see less, then we see less. But if we can see more, then we just wander around and find really nice new things as well. Generally we are easy going when it comes to that kind of planning.
Elliot – It appears that you enjoy planning out your trips to a certain extent, but then once you’re there you like to go with the flow and just see what happens. That sounds like a great way to approach things and that it blends with both your personalities.
Out of all the places you’ve been, would you say that there is an absolute favourite, and if so, where is that and what made the trip so special for you?
Yves – That’s right!
Well, we both have our personal favourites. For Cagla that is Cape Town, because it was so exciting; a beautiful and unique natural world and lots of recently important history. It was really a country and a trip with many feelings and emotions.
My favourite is Tokyo, because the culture was so completely different. And Tokyo itself was a city of extremes, in the world of craziness with fighting robots and karaoke, but on the other side an enormously spiritual world within the same city. I have never seen those in one city or even in one culture.
However these destinations are not so easy to get to for everyone.
If we look at Europe, I think both our favourite is Montenegro and to be more specific, Kotor. We guess the reason for it is because we had very little expectations and didn’t know that much about the area. Then when we first really saw it, driving down the mountains, it absolutely blew our minds. It taught us that although these small places that might not be that familiar, they are definitely worth it. And you shouldn’t just try to see the big famous cities, but also these small gems.
Elliot – It’s amazing that you should mention Montenegro as that’s a place that’s been appealing to me just recently. In fact it was only just last week that I was looking at how to get there, so thank you for the recommendation.
Now this next question is something that I’ve been really excited to ask. As ‘short visits’ are a real area of expertise for the two of you, what advice and tips could you give to other short visitors that would help them to make the best of the time that they have when they travel?
Yves – Well there are some things you should consider and realize to make the best out of a short visit to any place. Since you want to use the time you have as efficiently as possible, be honest with yourself if something is worth staying there a bit more or not.
Try estimating how long you will stay at each of your highlights. We generally plan one hour as that’s a good average, since some highlights take only 5-10 minutes, but other ones you want to spend at least two hours at.
Also when you are at your destination, figure out what’s the most convenient and effective way to travel; city bus, train, taxi, walking?
We always take a city map with us and plan a route to take and which transportation to take. With this, don’t be afraid to spend a bit of money, since it will give you more time at the point of interest you want to see, and after all, what’s more important, time or money? Walking can be a great alternative, but not if there is not much to see or visit along the way and you feel like you’re just running around the city.
An easy tip: get up early. You’d be amazed at the energy you can have and the things you can do before the clock even reaches 11.00am.
Then finally, realise that even if it is just for two days, don’t feel down because of that. As we said earlier, try to use it as motivation. Do you realise how many things you can see in 48 hours? This is a difficult task because you might feel rushed, but relax and take all the beauty and experiences you are seeing with you. And if you can’t overcome that rushing feeling, plan a (lunch) break at one of your highlights. It will fill you up with energy again!
Elliot – Well thank you for all those helpful tips and I’m sure all the readers will appreciate you sharing your knowledge with them.
As we start to bring this feature to a close, could you share with us what trip you have planned next? And what can we expect to see from ‘Short Visitors’ over the coming months?
Yves – We will be having quite a busy time starting up our new lives in Germany, but as we said before, that’s actually a good motivation to keep travelling in the little time we have!
Some places we want to visit in the short term are Prague, Rome, London, somewhere in the northern part of Scandinavia (for the northern lights) and in another category, Disney Land in Paris!
On another note we also planned a trek in Nepal, the famous Annapurna Circuit Trek. At first this doesn’t sound like a short visit, however, it’s been on our list for a very long time and we want to see what time you need to complete it (most bloggers/travellers use around 21 days, which makes it quite inaccessible for most travellers).
We also plan to go to Bali and Cuba later in 2017 and of course we’ll add that content as well, but maybe in a different form? We’re not really sure about that yet.
After about two months I’ll start again with learning more about programming and coding with some homestudy courses, which can hopefully make Short Visitors more appealing. Cagla is going to study German, starting in 2 weeks and in the meanwhile keep adding content about our trips.
In short we just hope that we can keep building on these first 8 months and in 2017 keep developing ourselves and our concept.
Elliot – Well you’ve quite a few adventures lined up there and I’m looking forward to hearing about how these trips turn out.
Go ahead and give ‘Short Visitors’ a plug and let the readers know how they can get in touch and follow all your latest news and features.
Yves – Then first let us take the opportunity to thank you again for all your energy and effort and time. We feel honoured and appreciate it a lot!
For people interested, they can find us via the standard social media ways; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. We’re not sure yet about YouTube or Snapchat; that might be something we will work on in 2017. Firstly we could probably use a good course in Marketing!
Also of course they can find us directly at www.shortvisitors.com.
Elliot – Thank you so much for your time and for having been a part of Lossul.com! But before I let you both go there’s a little tradition that I need to uphold, and that’s to ask a completely random and totally off-topic question to round off the interview.
So, here goes, and I’m asking this question to both of you.
Imagine that you find yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and you’re in a huge DIY store. Zombies are steadily approaching and you need to find yourself a weapon to fight them off. What would your weapon of choice be, and why would you choose that weapon?
Cagla – I’d take the nearest drill as a defence and an alarm system. The motivation for that? An alarm is always so annoying, so maybe it could annoy them as well and they’d get confused or something.
Yves – I’d grab the closest mirrors and build the mirrors around myself, that way the zombies would think there are just some other zombies there and they wouldn’t bother eating each other right?
Now that’s what I call thinking outside the box!
Thank you for taking the time to read this feature. Please do check out Yves and Cagla’s website for lots of inspiration and useful tips for your own short visits, and feel free to follow up with them via any of their social media pages or directly via their website.
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