My Expat Story: Colin Guest

My Expat Story: Colin Guest

An British expat in Turkey

At Global Living Magazine we want to connect with our readers. We want to know what you’re all about, what you love, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. The best way to do this? Hear it straight from you!*

We received an email from British expat Colin Guest who lives in Istanbul, Turkey. Here is his Expat Story.

ColinGuestWhat’s your favorite part of expatriate life?

A favorite part of expatriate life is the amazing realization that when living in a country other than your own, things are not always what you expect them to be. It is important to realize and understand this, as if not, you will have problems settling into living in a strange country. Culture in Turkey, a Muslim country, is far different than in Europe, with people here much more family orientated than in England where I grew up. Also, they love speaking to and trying to help foreigners who are in need. In Kemer, where I used to live, shopkeepers would ask you in for a cup of cay (tea) and although the intention may have been to get you to buy something, they were not concerned if you didn’t. I have been offered cay in shops, banks, pharmacies and even in a petrol filling station. By living in Turkey, I have enjoyed a far more relaxing and healthy lifestyle than I did in England.

What has been the hardest part?

Despite living here for over 20 years, the hardest part for me living in Turkey has been the language; I am still unable to speak Turkish. I guess in a way this is down to my late wife, who learnt how to both speak and read Turkish quite easily, while I struggled without success. As a result, I became lazy re-learning, as she would handle everything requiring speaking Turkish. Also, when we first moved to what is now the resort town of Kemer, down on the Mediterranean Coast, although less than five people spoke English, we found Turkish people so friendly and helpful, and we managed OK.

Where have you lived around the world? Favorite places?

As a result of my work, I have lived/worked in fifteen countries spread throughout the Middle & Far East and North Africa. I first went to work in Iran in 1978, and was there for a year, during which the uprising that led to the Shah of Iran being deposed occurred. This was an incredible experience, martial law and curfew were put into force, with numerous premises destroyed, and tanks and heavily armed soldiers patrolling the streets. I then spent short spells up to six months in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman before spending a year in Brunei working on a palace for the Sultan of Brunei. It was here I enjoyed several new experiences including running on the Hash, and acting on stage in two amateur dramatic shows. I later lived and worked in Algeria, Turkmenistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia before spending three years in Manila, Philippines. It was here that my late wife and I enjoyed a fantastic social lifestyle. We lived in a beautiful company apartment, along with a live-in-maid (who was also a fabulous cook) who we regarded as one of our family. During 1988 while working in Jordan, I was offered a married status contract in Turkey, and since we loved the country so much, in a matter of less than two months we decided to buy some land and have a house built.

Where do you want to move to eventually? 

I have no plans to live in another country, as after travelling and living in numerous countries, I have yet to find one as good as Turkey has proved to be. Plus at my age 74, it is I think a bit late to move to another country and start all over again.

What’s your sense of ‘home’? 

I regard Turkey as being my home, as I have lived here now for over 20 years. Since living in the house we had built 25 years ago, my wife has passed away, and I recently re-married at the age of 72 to a wonderful Turkish lady. From living in a small village in the country, I now live in the exciting city of Istanbul. This is an incredible city, and the only one in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.

Share anything else you’d like us to hear!

 As a result of living in Turkey for over twenty years, I have written and had published on Amazon Kindle, An Expats Experiences of Living in Turkey (www.amazon.com/author/colinguest). Due to my love of tigers, I have entitled my memoir Follow in the Tigermans Footsteps. This reads more like an adventure story, and I am now seeking to get it published. It covers a wide range of incidents, some crazy, exciting and several life threatening ones, mixed with a blend of humor, which occurred during my working as an expat in fifteen countries spread through the Middle, Far East and North Africa.

Travel broadens the mind and for children, I feel is the best education they can get. By visiting other countries than their own, they can experience a variety of cultures and learn about life from another perspective. As one who has done a great deal of traveling and working with other cultures, I feel it has given me a better understanding of life.

Apart from the fifteen countries I worked in, I have also visited several others. I fulfilled a lifetime ambition when I went on an adventure tour of Nepal and Tibet, during which time I visited the Potala Palace in Lhasa, which was an incredible experience in itself.

I have spent numerous holidays in South Africa, with it here that I first worked as a volunteer at a wildlife rescue/rehabilitation center. I enjoyed this so much I later worked at another similar center in South Africa, and then at the largest rescue/rehabilitation center in Thailand. For me, the experiences of helping animals in need were something really special.

If like me you are interested in nature and wildlife, I recommend you consider taking a working holiday as a volunteer at one of the many centers around the world. By working as a volunteer, I was giving something back to nature that needs all the help it can get. Due to my love of nature and the environment, I belong to several organizations including Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace and Care for the Wild, who I have adopted a tiger for the past ten years.

Find out more about Colin on his website: www.colinguest.com, and connect with him on Twitter @Tigermanguest.

*If you’d like to be featured on our ‘My Expat Story’ section, send an email to Alison at info@globallivingmagazine.com and tell us about your experience as an expatriate by answering the above questions. Don’t forget to include a picture of yourself, your website/blog information, and/or Twitter handle so we can help you connect with other expats from around the world!

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