Turkey has many thriving expat communities. Generally scattered along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines, some expats live here permanently while others prefer to split their time between Turkey and their home country. Among them are many nationalities with a sizeable part being the Brits, Germans, Russians, Saudis and Kuwaitis. So obviously, life in Turkey suits a large majority of foreigners who enjoy their time here but what are the possible reasons why?
The sun is good for your health
Most regions in Turkey receive an average of 250 days a year of sunshine. During cooler months, temperatures normally average at 25 degrees while, in the height of summer such as July and August, they rise up to 40%. While this in itself is an attractive lure when thinking about days swimming, sailing or scuba diving, sunlight has many heath benefits of which a notable one is Vitamin D.
This essential nutrient is vital to improving our immune system, easing skin disorders such as acne, strengthening teeth and bone, lowering blood pressure as well as decreasing symptoms of asthma. Recent years have seen an avalanche of warnings and newspaper articles about skin cancer caused by the sun, but in moderate doses, the sun is extremely good for our health.
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet
Often labelled as the most healthy diet in the world, the Mediterranean way of eating is tasty and has many health benefits as well. Think of the nutrients and vitamins in an abundance of fish, poultry, olive oil, grains and vegetables. The combination of food groups helps keep off the weight, lower the risk of depression and even aid the ability to control sugar glucose levels.
On the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, this diet has even been turned into a form of socialising, with Turks often settling down in seaside restaurants for an evening of snacking on mezes (appetisers mostly consisting of vegetables) and fresh fish or seafood. While the fast food concept has slowly come into Turkey over several years, items such as frozen ready meals are often ignored and highly priced because nobody wants them. Weekly markets held in towns and villages all over the country sell an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables taken straight from the ground and sold locally by the farmers. So a Mediterranean diet is healthy, cheap - and a great way to socialise with friends.
Bulk up your wallet
We’ve already pointed out that food shopping is generally cheaper depending on your diet but so is the cost of living. Water and electricity are cheap, with bills coming in at under £50 a month - give or take. Now, if you are receiving an average Turkish wage, the costs would seem normal or high but for those expats living on a pension, the extremely good exchange rate means you are getting a healthy return on your money. Obviously standards from country to country should be compared but generally, the cost of living in Turkey is extensively cheaper, leaving you better off financially.
It’s easier to socialise
Turks have a history of welcoming strangers into their communities and because of this, getting to know your new neighbours and people in the community is easier than the western world that is more reserved.
Dinner invites are plentiful and greetings while passing each other in the street are thrown around like confetti. Although Turks are brutally honest with some issues - like telling you your waistline has increased - they can become close friends over time.
Within most expats communities as well, there is an emphasis on support so local groups such as women meet ups, walking and photography are often formed. Should you wish to dine out often, meeting up for lunch and dinner is a frequent occurrence, so move to Turkey and you will find yourself with a new set of friends and an active social schedule.
Take it slowly and relax
The Turks are just as good as the Spanish when it comes to the “tomorrow” attitude but embracing it can be a welcome form of relief from stress. A fast-paced lifestyle is manageable when we are younger but as we tend to get older, we slow down. We prefer to take longer over tasks and analyse situations more methodically. The “tomorrow” attitude is the perfect way to do this. More often than not, you also realise that stressing over the small things in life is simply not worth it.
Travelling is cheap and an immersion into culture
Over the years, many people have advocated the benefits of travel and Turkey is an extremely interesting country to explore. To brush up on historical knowledge, explore the Ottoman and Byzantine sites of Istanbul. To learn the language, converse with locals who don’t speak English and likewise, trekking and hiking fans will appreciate the Lycian Way - 500 kilometres of coastal pathways that from Antalya to Fethiye.
Culture emerges as people travel from the west to the Kurdish East or Georgian and Armenian Northeast. Travelling in Turkey is easily done because so many beautiful landscapes, experiences and adventures await everyone. Seeing the natural travertine pools of Pamukkale will be a lifelong memory while touring Ephesus, the second largest city of the Roman Empire is an eye opener into the abilities and forward thinking of human beings in our past. Turkey is the perfect country if you are looking to broaden your mind through travel and the best aspect is that sticking to a budget is easily done through cheap transport networks and basic bed and breakfast hotels.
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