Our focus on making a positive impact provides numerous opportunities for local interaction as we cover so much ground using all means of public transport. Our professional guides teach the very basics of the Turkish language so that you can have a chat with the locals that you meet along the way on buses and on our special boat cruise in Ayvalik. In Selcuk we visit with peasant ladies as they create delicious Gozleme, a type of Turkish pancake and you can even try to make some yourself. When you travel on this trip you have the opportunity to interact with local hostel owners and small businesses as you experience all Turkey has to offer.
In Ayvalik you also have the opportunity to visit the industrious studio of the cop madam (the garbage ladies) which is an experimental development project for women who have never worked for pay (unless divorced or separated from their husbands), making mostly useful and always fun items out of throw-away materials.
Most of the women have a 5th grade education, if that. They are highly skilled in handcrafts however, so it is possible for many of them to contribute to designs of our products. Our passengers really enjoy the experience and also get to purchase some really wonderful items.
In Istanbul, you can visit our local responsible travel project where we support a local NGO in Balat. Mavi Kalen are set up to help educate children from low income families. They provide an internet room, staff training on after-school tutoring programs, and provide basic healthcare education classes for the women of the area.
We also operate a water refill program in country, where our passengers can purchase a non-toxic drinking water bottle, and refill this bottle as they travel throughout Turkey. In this way we aim to help cut back on the world's plastic waste. All our travelers receive a cloth bag on commencement of the trip that they use instead of plastic when shopping throughout Turkey.
© Copyright images: Cameron Gaze;Janelle Woods