I already made arrangements with my guesthouse to be picked up, so I made my way through customs and found the sign with my name. I would be staying at the EASTanbul Guesthouse and my tuk tuk driver is the brother-in-law of the owner. He helped me with my suitcase and we were off.
When traveling alone, choosing the right style of lodgings is important to create the type of experience you want. Personally, I will only stay in a hotel if I am on someone else’s dime. Guesthouses and most hostels have private rooms and greatly increase your chances of meeting other travelers. I always choose guesthouses with nice publics spaces, and ideally a bar. Pick good places and finding new adventure buddies is almost effortless.
The guesthouse I chose is run by a Turkish man named Su and his Cambodian wife, whom I found on Couchsurfing. It’s generally not considered appropriate to post paid lodgings there, but he had many positive reviews so I thought I’d give it a go. Plus there were many smiling faces in the photos on the EASTanbul Facebook page.
It turned out to be a wonderful choice, because Su is a very attentive host. As I stepped up on to the deck and greeted Su, he immediately made a point to introduce me to the table of guests seated nearby. They were all enjoying a beer before heading out to Pub Street, and I was just in time to drop off my bags and join them. This was exactly the scenario I had been hoping for, and I spent the rest of my visit hanging out with other guests.