EXPAT: Why Turkey? Why Izmir? Our 5 Reasons!
In our ‘Learn About Us’ section, we briefly share about our family, vision, and journey to this point. Even a little bit about why Turkey is special to us.
Even more specifically Izmir, Turkey.
In a recent little videos series on our YouTube channel called ‘Meet the Funks’, I shared about who we are and how we met. This blog post is a match to the 3rd part video sharing why we have chosen Izmir to be our expat home for now.
Let’s play catch up first if this is your first blog post you are ready, shall we?
My husband Jason, our daughter Sofia, and I love to share turkey, culture, expat living and a little bit of travels along the way. If you want to learn more about our family you can always check out our about section, check out our FunkTravels podcast episodes 1 to 50 which documents two years of our lives moving from U.S. to Turkey and lastly, catch up on our videos here and YouTube episodes 51 to present day! If you want to continue getting updates about our family, subscribe to our newsletter. It goes out monthly and I like to include little extras that you might not get from anything else.
I hope it will inspire you to travel here one day or who knows maybe even move here just like we did!
Ok, back to the regular program.
Jason and I are both Americans, but we actually met here in Turkey over 10 years ago when we are both living in Istanbul. You can learn all about that and how we met in our Love Story video.
I lived overseas before for 4 years and when I move back to the state, started dating Jason, got engaged…. I hadn’t even been in the states for a full 2 years. I knew that I wanted to live back overseas and that I knew Jason wanted to as well. But we didn’t have a plan in place.
One evening or coming home from somewhere, I remember we stopped at a red light and I just broke down crying. I knew I wanted to move overseas but we didn’t have a plan. I was afraid we were going to get stuck. I’m not saying that getting stuck is bad. I just know that there was this desire to do this and I had vision. However, I didn’t see how we were going to get there.
Jason being the understanding and patient fiancé that he was, he surprised me with a timeline planning out our steps over the next few years and how we were going to work to move overseas. Of course, there were a lot of an Asterix or stars in those plans – like if this happens, then it may cause us to delay. BUT there was a plan! It was one of the best Christmas gift I have ever received.
That was in 2013 and in the summer of 2016, we moved to Turkey!
From the very beginning of our relationship, Jason and I had this intentional dream to live internationally.
First off, 3 major points that made us decide on Turkey first:
If you’ve been around at all, you know how Turkey is a pretty foundational place for us. But before I get into why we picked Izmir, I want to share why we decided on Turkey first.
- BOTH LIVED IN TURKEY BEFORE: We had spent significant amount of time, out of all the other countries, in Turkey. I spent two years here, and Jason spent six months here.
- FRIENDS: The second reason is that we have friends that continue to live here from our previous time! If we needed some support or had questions, then we had some type of support or network of friends that help us!
- BASE KNOWLEDGE: The third reason is that, because we already lived here before, we already some basic knowledge of the country. Things like how to pay rent, how to find apartment, how to pay bills, and bit of Turkish language. A little bit of a base just made it more comfortable a little less terrifying for a lot of people. While is it looks like we just moved here, we didn’t. To be fair, we did live here before and it’s been a huge role into why we are here again.
5 REASONS WE CHOSE IZMIR, TURKEY:
Like I mentioned, when we lived here before, we actually both live in Istanbul. But moving back together as a married couple, we chose not to live in Istanbul, but to live in Izmir. Let’s move on to why we picked Izmir!
1. NEW CITY FOR BOTH OF US
I spent a lot more time in Istanbul than Jason (1.5 years more to be exact). Sometimes moving to a place where one spouse has spent more significant time can actually cause some frustrations between spouses. Jason’s work only required a strong internet connection, so it left us flexible to try a different city in Turkey. That way we’re both starting off on Ground Zero where neither one of us knows anything really about this area and we are having to learn together.
The second reason we looked into Izmir and not Istanbul is the population. Istanbul is a city of almost 20 million when you look at the whole state but whereas Izmir is bordering around 4 million! That is significantly less people and because Jason and I both grew up in small-towns and never lived in a big city in America, we personally wanted a city that was a little smaller but still drew an small expat/international community.
3. EXPAT COMMUNITY
Spinning off of number 2, Izmir does draw a small expat community here. NATO, few military families, universities and many global business headquarters are based out of Izmir. Plus, it is a shipping port and used to bring in a lots of cruise lines into this area. While our goal is to learn Turkish and be with Turkish friends too, it’s also nice to just know that there’s other international folk in the same place as you.
I am a Louisiana girl who up in warm winters. Jason is from Iowa and the winters there are really cold and get snow. We lived in Iowa before moving to Izmir. I particularly was tired of freezing cold winters!
Izmir has hot summers but if you have an AC units bearable. The evenings in the summer generally cool off nicely and there’s always some type of breeze. The winters are mild. Unlink rainy Istanbul winter, Izmir has rain every once in awhile but it’s not every day.
5. HISTORICAL SITES
Finally, we love all the historical sites around this area. Ephesus is a really famous historical open-air museum and it’s within an hour’s drive of our home. Izmir is the old town of Smyrna. All of the seven churches of Revelation are within a 3 hour drive .
Thankfully Izmir being the 3rd largest city in Turkey, offers many direct flights to every major city in Turkey as well as international flights into Germany and other European countries. I didn’t feel like we always had to go through Istanbul to get another city or country!
There you have it! Those are the five reasons why we picked Izmir and have been so completely happy with it!
You can over on our Following The Funks YouTube Channel via our video: Why Turkey?? Why Izmir?? Our 5 reasons!
But I want to know about you!
Comment below and let me know about some of the questions below:
- Are you an expat? If so, where do you live?
- Why did you pick that location?
- Do you want to live in another country? If so, which one and why?