It’s 5am and the call to prayer wakes me. Different from morning strains I’ve heard in Delhi and Marrakech, here in Istanbul, the “muezzin” is more melodious in his clarion call. He sings for just a bit longer.
The first day on the ground is always the toughest. I powered through the jet lag until bedtime, rather than napping. A cold shower is my short-term balm.
Traffic reminds me of Calcutta, where my ancestors are from. So much chaos. Cars, people, bikes, animals. All jammed in the intersections and somehow avoiding catastrophe. I came ready for the bluster of 96 degree weather, but the night air is cool here in the city formerly known as Constantinople. Street to street, the architecture reflects the many thousands of years of inhabitants that have lived here since 660 BC: Byzantine, Genoese, Ottoman.
Dinner last night was a meal of camel meat.
“Our signature dish, madam,” said the waiter.
Spiced to perfection, the cumin melted in our mouth. The restaurant smartly paired its exotic dishes with a stunning view of the Bosphorus, the only waterway that straddles both Europe and Asia. It’s my fourth trip to this hemisphere in 2023, but I never lose my awe of air travel, bringing me to new worlds in a matter of hours.
I’m here in Turkey this week to host the annual sail for my women’s leadership platform. While members of my premium level Mastermind were at a villa in Chianti back in May, I have another level of the Mastermind (“Mastermind lite” and this trip is for them).
Saturday, we start a 7 day sail of the Gulf of Fethiye, in the South of the country.
Three things I consider when putting a trip like this together:
1. The risk profile of the attendee. Someone who is going to fly to Turkey, where the number of Americans is “not many” and board a boat for a week in a closed eco system is going to be a certain type of person. Their risk profile is generally higher. But as one of my C level women said to me, as she signed on, “This seems like a once in a lifetime experience.”
2. I work a year in advance. I started researching vessels with a boat broker last July, just as we were coming off the last sail in Croatia. Price, headcount and destination are the three factors informing the search in the very beginning. Turkey proved challenging as the boat construction is a ‘gulet,’ a style native to the country and many of the vessels are older. My community, as risk prone as they are, would still want modern amenities. January, I switched brokers in order to view new inventory and found the yacht we will be on this week. Wooden on the outside as a traditional gulet is. But constructed in 2022, so completely new on the inside.
3. Details matter. The details of populating a boat are far greater than a traditional ground trip. Provisioning for food and drinks happens before we leave port, which means, Its a pure act of leadership to get everyone to critically think through what they want to consume months before we board. It’s a little harder to demand a ‘ham sandwich’ midway through. I also have folks’ children and spouses on board for the annual, which adds another layer of complexity. High chairs, pack and plays, snacks, all have to be accounted for.
I said to a friend last week, “In the end, folks never really appreciate the amount of work that goes into a trip like this.” She said, “ya and they never will. its not their job to.” She comes from the interior design world and was moving a client’s family for the third time. “Its our job to insulate the client from all of the work and just show a great result, which in your case is an amazing trip.”
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