John Lennon famously said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans". The fantasy of travel is that of an escape from life, an excursion into the 'exotic other'. But as Alain De Botton insightfully argues in The Art of Travel, the problem is that we take ourselves with us when we go.
As I sit here on another clear Istanbul morning, I ponder the value and experience of what we are doing. It is a holiday - yes for sure. But it is more. It is not an escape but a response to the invitation to embrace something of what this wonderful world and its diverse people is and are.
We have struggled with our Rachel as she tries to figure out how to meet the expectations associated with her volunteer placement in Fiji. Heidi phones from home for recipe tips. There are bills to be paid and work issues to think about. And amidst it all we find ourselves atop the Galata Tower as the afternoon sun brushes the rooftops and the call to prayer invades every corner of the city. A truly iconic moment.