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Murat Bilgehan
Turkey Destination Expert & Istanbul City Host
Although Murat studied Economy and Sustainable Development and has a professional background in consultancy and marketing, life had other plans for him. During his graduation trip with his family, he became a tour guide for a day. Or at least he thought it was just for one day as he never left the tourism industry ever since. Murat loves slow travel because it allows him to delve into the culture of every destination he’s visiting and learn in depth about a place’s history and religion and how the two shape the fate of a destination and its people. An avid talker, Murat is also a very good listener. He enjoys people-watching and making jokes, even at his own expense. Murat loves and respects diversity and his wish is to see that everyone else in the world feels the same someday. All these traits make Murat a true traveler at heart and the perfect fit for the JayWay family.

What's your favorite thing about traveling?

Travel grows empathy, understanding, and appreciation of diversity. Being exposed to new cultures, cuisine, and way of life and experiencing new adventures keeps life interesting.

Why do you think it's important to travel?

Travel is educational and helps people gain perspective about life. A good traveler will be wise enough to overcome prejudice and show respect for every person and culture and appreciate diversity to the fullest.

What is your idea of a perfect vacation?

Short enough to avoid being homesick and long enough to learn about the culture and people of the country visited.

What's the best place you've ever visited and why?

Cape Town is my heaven on earth. Incredible landscape, countless activities, and the most giving and beautiful people I have ever met thus far. I left my heart in Cape Town!

What do you consider to be your best finds from your travels and where was it?

I found love in Cape Town once. I believe that counts.

What destination is at the top of your must-visit list?

Japan is the number one destination on my bucket list right now as I've heard so many incredible stories about its people and culture, which motivates me to learn more about this country. I would love to see, hear, eat, and learn more about everything Japanese.

What was the most exotic dining or cultural experience you've had when traveling?

A guide friend of mine took me to the local food market in Siem Reap, where I could taste all the exotic and unusual food that I would not be able to find in my own country. I still thank him for the adventure of a lifetime.

What's something you always bring with you when you travel?

My camera will always be the first thing I pack because I want to immortalize some great moments in my life, to remember and cherish forever.

Best advice for travelers to Europe?

Service in Europe might be a bit slower than in North America and other countries, but you'll be compensated with the warmest of welcomes. Just remember to be a bit patient. 

Mountains or beaches? Why?

Mountains because I love being active. I cannot stay in one place for too long.

Planes, trains, or automobiles? How do you like to travel and why?

I prefer driving over planes and trains, but if the distance is further than five hours of driving, then plane it is.

How do you manage pre-trip stress, anxiety, or unexpected situations during your travels?

I always call someone who can evaluate the situation and give me an outsider's perspective. Sometimes, listening to myself speaking out loud helps me come up with a potential solution.

When you travel are you more interested in history, relaxation, cuisine, or adventure?

I'm always interested in history the most, as I believe that the history of a country helps put a context behind the cuisine, culture, and everyday life. Being adventurous while I savor the most traditional foods of the local cuisine is what comes next.

What were your reasons for choosing to work in travel? And what value do you see in it?

I love meeting new people from all around the world, it helps me grow as a personality and understand and appreciate the world better. It gives me a chance to truly introduce my culture and my country and maybe change someone else's viewpoint for the better.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to try, but haven’t got around to yet?

As a cat father of two, I've always wanted to see the king of the feline family but I never got lucky enough to spot a lion in the three safaris I took in Africa. 

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