Some things about Turkey that I am so looking forward to || Turkey Travel Photographer

This coming October will be my 3rd anniversary of my first trek to Turkey, as well as my 3rd visit since then!

The first time was when my friend Pilar was supposed to go shoot the cover for Lonely Planet Philippines but had a bigger gig she needed to do in Indonesia (Ya she’s that much of a big deal) and asked me if I could go. Heck yes I could go!

That was an 8 day whirlwind trip with a writer from LPP, Madie, who quickly became a friend and we had a blast those 8 days, 7 hotel rooms and 8 flights later. 

It was after this that I knew I simply HAD to go back.

Almost 2 years had passed and I organized last years Follow Your Heart Tour to Turkey - The 7 Church of St Paul. It was an awesome adventure with friendw, new and old, from around the globe coming together for the journey.

During the tour we stopped at a couple of old villages that are still very much intact and the community lives and functions mostly like they did “back then”. This inspired me greatly and I asked my tour guide and friend Yucel, if such a tour could be made, discover the Old Villages of Turkey. Of course it can, he said. Thus began the planning for this year’s tour. And again, new and old friends from around the globe will be along…I cannot wait!

Because this is my 3rd visit, I have already begun to look forward to certain things when I get there. That is one thing I do when I travel - try to fully immerse myself in every way in the culture. 

So I have made a blog post about the “things I look forward to” on this next trip:

TURKISH COFFEE:

There is nothing like the thick, gritty coffee that the Turks make, I tell you! I did buy a Turkish coffee pot on my first visit and have since learned how to make it. ( I love coffee and learning how to make it in every culture’s own way)

I hope to perfect my coffee making skills and ask and watch my local friends for some tips. I shall conquer!

 

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TURKISH DELIGHT:

There is Turkish Delight and then there is GOURMET Turkish Delight. Not gonna lie - the pasalubongs (gifts) I will bring back that will be of Delight, will NOT be the gourmet stuff. (sorry friends!) The first time I had gourmet Delight was last year and I was like, where have you been all my life!?

Seriously. Will be bringing back copious amounts. And if I invite you over for coffee after my travels, you MIGHT get a piece…maybe But you will at least get the “regular” stuff..so be happy. ;)

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BABUSHKAS

If anyone knows me at ALL, you will know my love for seniors and those of my grandparents generation. (Oh wait, my grandparents are all gone…sigh…ok…well…you know what I mean)

Turkish Babushka (which is what we call them in the Ukrainian culture) are gorgeous women. Their lives lie in the lines of their faces and in the souls of their eyes. 

I could photograph them all day long. I promise you some awesome portraits of them from the Old Villages tour. That’s a fact!

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COASTAL VILLAGES AND TOWNS

I think this has to do with the fact that I grew up on the West Coast on Vancouver Island in Canada…I LOVE the ocean. And the coastal village of Assos, below is out of this world magical and quaint and…I am thrilled we get to stay there for one night (perks of helping and suggesting the tour to my Turkish Travel Agent!)

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Also the Aegean Sea…the Medditeranean Sea that Greece and Turkey share. We will be in Kusadasi, a summer hot spot for Turks, for one night. And her sunsets are absolutely breaktaking and fabulous. 

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THE COTTON CASTLES OF PAMMUKALE

What a sight to behold…These mineral deposits are breathtaking…and the view from here looking out to the country side - WOW. I expect to enjoy this again, as we will be stopping over here on our trip.. ((happy dance!!))

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FRESH FIGS

The first time I had fresh figs was when we lived in Vancouver in 2007. I thought I died and went to heaven. And then to find fresh figs for so little cost in Turkey my first trip…I KNEW I had to keep coming back…just for the FIGS! :)

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THE EGYPTIAN SPICE MARKET

Hands down, I enjoyed the Egyptian Spice Bazaar or Misir Carsisi better than the Grand Bazaar. It has basically the same stuff in it, but it’s smaller. Don’t get me wrong - one must visit the Grand Bazaar when in Istanbul, that’s a given. But if I were a local, I’d go to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

Between the pottery and spices and pillow cases and lamps…I just go nuts. I can’t wait to bring home more of all of those. 

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POMEGRANATES

Heaven in your palm, I tell you. I dont eat enought and drink enough of its fresh squeezed juices here in Manila as it’s so expensive. But in Turkey, it’s one of the most affordable drinks and snacks! YES!!! 

Pomegranate overload here we come!!!! And the fact that there are random trees out in the countryside..HELLO! Can’t beat that! 

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OTTOMAN CANDY

On my last visit I was introduced to Tarihi Osmanli Macunu or Ottoman Candy. I must say. I was hooked. And I’m not a candy lover. I shall find a vendor in the Hippodrome and feast again. :)

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So there you have it. My “things I’m looking forward to” list for Turkey. I am sure I will discover a phlethora of new things I will fall in love with, as we will be going to regions of Turkey I have not yet been. How exciting indeed!

Watch out for my next post on my “things I’m looking forward to” list for Italy…I have the privilege of going to Italy after the tour for 6 days to be with family friends and I haven’t been back to Italy in 4 years. I’m so excited!

xotracey

The Shape of me and other stuff | Personal post inspired by Dr Seuss

I lead a pretty full life here in the Philippines. Stop chuckling. I know. 


Not only am I mom to two teenagers — aka lunch maker/out the door in the morning pusher/coordinator of their social events/mom taxi— I am wife to my awesome Love who is the biggest supporter in life I have and who truly inspires me to live the dream. 

Aside from this at-home full time job, I go all over Manila and Luzon (so far!) shooting NGO photos for amazing organizations for my non-profit group, Photogs for a Cause. www.photogsforacause.org

As well we are in the process of starting a livelihood program, Magtayo ng Buhay, or in English translated, Build a Life. More about that another time 

It can be full, sometimes even stressful but definitely fulfilling. 

So then how do I try to lead something that tries to resemble a balanced life?

~I spent some time every morning in a quiet place with my Creator. 

~I am in search of good coffee and food so have monthly dates with like minded friends. And time doing fun things with friends is always a good idea.

~I have a handful of heart friends. Real friends to journey life with, be real with & laugh/cry/celebrate with. 

~ I try and organize travel tours here and abroad to scratch my travel itch which rejuvenates me and keeps me going on with my above crazy life, without spending money we don’t have for me to do that otherwise, by being the host and organizer. 
www.followyourhearttours.com

~And I am always making photos, for myself, not as a job. Either with my iPhone, big camera or Nokia Lumia. 
www.traceylheppner.com

It seems to be working for me for the most part. And some days I don’t get it right. But try and try again 

What are some ways you stay balanced in life?
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Anton & Rina - Lovely Details // Sofitel Wedding || Philippines Wedding Photographer?!

I hung up my Wedding Photographer hat a couple years back. I ended strong and well. But knew I was “finished”.

I have kept in the wedding photography scene by doing some occasional second shooting with one of my dear friends and amazing Philippines photographers, Pilar Tuason.

When Anton’s mom asked me to consider shooting her son’s May wedding back in February, I was a little reluctant. We met together with Anton and Rina as well, and when she told me the reason she wanted me to photograph their wedding I was a little stunned…”I want you to shoot it from your perspective - I love your eye. I want that”.

WOW. Now THAT is a big order to fill! So with nervousness I agreed. :) Thank you for choosing me, Ate Girlie :)

May 31 has come and gone. Pilar, my photographer friend did me the favor and second shot for ME for this wedding. Funny!

So here is the first of many posts of Anton & Rina’s wedding. 

This one is “The Bridal Details”. :)

xoTracey

  

 The next post in this series? Getting ready of course! :)

Bebot & Maymay - Boracay Lifestyle Session || Philippines Travel Photographer

Last month my love and I, along with another couple, went down to Boracay Island for a getaway. It was in celebration of our 19th wedding anniversary! woohoo to us!

I also brought my camera along and did a Lifestyle session. I dont do many Lifestyle session anymore…but when I do, it’s because I can’t WAIT to photograph the couple!

Like these two. Their first time in front of camera professionally and they rocked it. Bebot is actually one of Jonathan’s tattoo artists - he’s amazing! And Maymay is also a photographer and has a super fun job photographing for a local tourist booklet that is distributed several times a year. They also are the parents of a SUPER cute little man!

These are just a few of my favorites. Bebot and Maymay - you are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for being so kind to make beauitful photos of you two - I SOOO enjoyed and loved every moment!

xoTracey

 If you want a fun lifestyle session, email me - I may just be persuaded. ;)

Want some Turkey? Ya..you know you do :) || Travel Photographer

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 The Old Villages of Turkey:

OCTOBER 25 - NOVEMBER 5, 2014
Join us in Turkey! Only $1900 per person for 12 days of magical adventure!

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Imagine with us - 12 days touring through some of the oldest villages in all of Turkey! 


The itinerary is full of history, cuisine, and culture and will absolutely be mind-blowing awesome!

You can access the entire itinerary by clicking HERE.

Our private coach bus, along with our English speaking Turkish guide, will take us from magical village to intriguing town and everywhere else in between. 

Assos and its quaint coast, Bergama and its rustic village, Kusadasi and historic places such as Ephesus and wine village Sirince, Pamukkale and the “cotton castles”, Antalya and it’s Turkish Riviera, Cappadocia and the Fairy Chimneys and hot air ballonons and many other destinations will captivate us! 

Our accomodations are everything from boutique inns to cave  hotels to actual homestays throughout Turkey…truly experiencing a variety of different cultures within Turkey.

And we cannot forget to mention the cuisine - kebabs & koftes, meze dishes, baklava, Turkish tea & coffee and of course, lokum, or Turkish Delight!


For all of the details of the tour and the logistics you can click HERE.


What others have said about Follow Your Heart Tours to Turkey: 

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My husband and I were looking to explore a new country with different culture and customs without having to do the leg work of planning the trip. The FYH Tour organised by Tracey Heppner fulfilled our goals! We loved being guided through the historical sites, and having our knowledge base expand so much by a very informative and effective translator and guide. From the historical sites to the sleepy coastal towns to the busy streets of Iistanbul, we loved every moment and can’t wait to go back to Turkey to find out more! Thank you to Tracey from FYH for being such an organised, easy going and flexible guide intuned with keeping all of us happy for eight days! (;” Jeanie & Ian Graham, Vancouver, Canada

I do hope you will join us. Time is running out to reserve your place on this tour and I hope you will join us. Invite your friends along and have an experience together like no other!

Contact me today. And please share this with your friends and family!

xoTracey


Founder & Chief Traveler, Follow Your Heart Tours

Travel Workshops this August & September || Philippines Travel Photographer

It’s true! I’m offering freaking RAD travel workshops! Contact me for more info at tracey@traceylheppner.com!

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Stepping into Norcia, Umbria || Follow Your Heart Tales

 This is my first intentional attempt to short stories along with my photos…mostly photos, of course.

Follow me to Norcia, Umbria, Italy…

xotracey

As we stepped out of the vehicle, the crisp autumn air fully welcomed us and the anticipation of all we were told of Norcia continued to grow.

Each step on the cobblestone street below our feet, the shopkeepers setting up their outdoor displays and the locals gathering for their morning cappuccinos, made us wonder what this medieval Umbrian mountain town must have been like 100 years ago. It was in that instant that we stepped into another world— the world of an Umbrian local.

 

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Organic Farmers in Kalinga || My KLM On Assignment Submission

Every year KLM and Digital Photographer Philippines (DPP) magazine do this awesome travel contest for photographers and writers.

I have entered 2 times - the first time i was in the top 20, an insider told me - that one was a trip to Toulesse, France. The second time I was in the top 6 and was in the shoot out to see who would go - that one was to ITALY!

This year it is to Paris. So after much thought and a day to spare, I decided to enter. What do I have to lose? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

So without further delay, here is my submission, which is up to 15 photos (12 min) and some words to string the story together. And then my “pitch” why they should choose me :)

Photo Story Words

In the mountains of Kalinga in Northern Luzon atop a hill overlooking rice fields and mountains in the distance, is a small mountain Butbut village.

The early morning fog is almost tangible as you look out to the mountains and rice fields. A hot steaming cup of Kalinga brew takes the chill off and sets the morning straight, as a group of farmers from the village, come together as they do every week – prepare their organic sprays for their rice crops.

The fathers and the sons, the mamas and the babies, the young girls and the old women, all come together as a community from early morning until just before noon.

Some cutting banana tree trunk into thin slices, others mincing fresh ginger as more peel the skins out of egg shells and crush them, while others still fill bamboo with cooked rice.

  

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All of these ingredients make up the concoctions for the organic sprays that are used. These sprays that are a fraction of the cost of store-bought chemical sprays and are 100% organic.

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Cathee, a 3rd generation Butbut, lives among them with her American husband and their 2 children. She has started this co-op for organic farmers in their village as well as surrounding ones. She sees what the future holds. She has a heart for her people. She has learned from the ones who have gone before her, and she is the bridge to the younger ones.

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The generations coming together and farming how farming used to be in years gone by, all while building a beautiful sense of community. 

Why you should send me On Assignment

Some of you judging know me already. Some do not. I don’t like to talk about myself or like gloating or bragging. So this part of the submission proves to be somewhat difficult for me.

I will say this: I know how to connect with people. I know how to document life as it happens. I know how to see beauty in things others do not. I always have a good time, and I know how to write a story with photos. I know that I can deliver whatever you need me to deliver.

 Sending me to Paris to do your story will be a win. You will get kickass photos. I will travel which is something that fuels my passion. So you can see…it’s a win win. :)

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Doors of Umbria || Italy Travel Photographer

A small look into my vast collection of DOORS of Italy…

 

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Doors & a Deli in Norcia, Italy || Italy Travel Photographer

 One thing I have always found captivating is doors. The shapes, the design. But what I really love? Old doors. 

Italy has enough old doors to keep anyone who has a door fetish for a loooong while.

Here are a few I found in Norcia, Perugia, Italy.

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As you wander the streets of Norcia, the storekeepers invite you into their shops with simple smiles and waves, beckoning you to come and see what delighful goods they have to offer…

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I definitely didn’t mind the little detours into the shops. Not one bit. :)

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