I am Ivana Hanjs and I am a writer behind storiesbehindtravels.com.
This is my story.
It was windy when I embarked on my first solo trip to the East. All alone in a city of 15 million people I took a wrong map and threw it around Sultanahmet area. I sat in front of the Hagia Sophia when I got approached by a sixty something year old. He had little hair, but big smile with all teeth.
“Can I sit”?, Mr. Ali asked.
An hour later we were drinking “çay” (a tea) in Gulhane park, watching Turkish wedding and talking about life, love and friendship. It was a sunny day. I was rather quiet, allowing him to open his heart and get rid of the words. There was something Mr. Ali said that struck me straight to the core.
When returning to a hostel all I wanted was to preserve his words. So I started writing.
When I was little I wanted to be a tourist guide and a journalist. To write and be able to travel the world. To be somewhere else, with someone else, in between, to document what I see. But I thought I couldn’t. Until the morning I woke up and decided I could.
It took me two years of working so I could save enough money to buy a one way ticket. I gave up a lot of things. Why is that so? I was finishing my master’s in Journalism and as I come from Croatia, I had to work twice as much from someone in a more developed country, for half the income. Was it hard? YES! My soul was hungry for freedom. I wanted to move wildly. To be on the road! But I had to wait. Was it worth it? Hell yeah!! It was a life I chose. My own screenplay.
Some told me that choosing a nomadic life is crazy. For me, it was just following my own path. I heard my inner voice whispering:
“You are capable of finding a home in places that others can’t”.
So I followed it.
I surrounded myself with people who were only lifting me higher. Others I let go.
I filled my heart and mind with positivity. Giving up was never even a thought, though sometimes I felt pain for losing my life due to my work. But I knew it will all be worth it some day.
This day is today. I am able to go to places and to meet people. What I love the most is to inspire you and encourage you to awake your adventurous spirit and get wonderfully lost.
Thank you for reading my stories. They are all dedicated to you.
p.s. Remember Mr. Ali from the beginning of this story?
“You gotta live your life”.
These were his words to me.