Originally from the USA (Catie is from Louisiana and Jason is from Iowa), both now call Izmir, Turkey home. They currently run the website Funk Travels.
Q + A with Catie and Jason
WHERE YOU ARE FROM IN THE USA? We are both from the United States. I, Catie, am originally from Louisiana, but we settled in Iowa where my husband is from.
WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY BASED? WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE? In August 2016, my husband, Jason, and I made our way to Izmir, Turkey. With a background in computer engineering, my husband owns a software consulting company called Tough Space, specialising in advanced websites and web applications. His work is his hobby, and his hobby is his work. As an example, his newest project, ForeignNumbers, comes right out of our move overseas. Being independent means that he is his own boss and that he can work from anywhere that we have an internet connection. Our international move and our expat lifestyle in Turkey is due to him creating a job that is flexible and allows remote work. I am a travel writer and part time language learner. Through our website, FunkTravels, I share our expat lifestyle, local events, and travel with others. So, basically, we are just living the expat life, learning the language, and exploring all that Izmir has to offer! We host a bi-weekly podcast where we encourage others towards intentional dreaming about internationally living as we share our journey about what that looks like for us! I share with friends and family our ‘normal’ lives, glimpses of daily lovelies, Izmir specific events, and roadie ramblings about our adventures as we are making this transition to life in Turkey.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU OVERSEAS? My husband, who is also an American, and I met in Turkey a few years ago. I was living here for two years and he was doing some volunteer work for a few months. And to make a very long story short, we met and got married a few years later. After we got married, our hearts desired something different than the ‘American Dream.’ It may not always be the case that we are able to live this way and it isn’t always easy, but we are thankful for the time we have now and these memories we are making with new friends!
DID YOU STUDY ABROAD IN THE PAST (OR PRESENT)? IF SO WHAT PROGRAM AND WHERE? In college, I spent summers volunteering abroad in India and Malaysia, but unfortunately study abroad was not popular at my universities. Those summers led me to living 4 year abroad in Turkey and Afghanistan. After living abroad, I worked as a university study abroad coordinator in Iowa. Jason has been on numerous overseas trips as well, Vietnam and China to name a couple. His longest time abroad (before our move) was 6 months volunteering at an English Club in Istanbul, Turkey after finishing college.
ANY WORDS OF WISDOM FOR FUTURE YOUNG AMERICANS? Shortly after we moved, there were a few incidents that happened in Turkey that made us question why we decided to move here. But after reflection we remembered that nowhere is perfectly safe. There are attacks, accidents, and natural disasters in every country around the world. And while we could leave here, there is no promise that we would be safe anywhere else. Jason’s sister said it best: “Be safe but don't live in fear”. We really do try to live our lives that way. Also, give yourself grace! Even countries that speak the same language (say England or Australia) still have lots of cultural difference! There are going to be times that you feel lost or experience culture shock. Take time to reflect and process how you are doing emotionally! I wrote about it here (http://funktravels.com/2017/05/writing-5-tips-for-overcoming-culture-shock/) for those who want to know more about overcoming culture shock. My favorite tip is meet your neighbors and the locals! Creating deeper relationships with locals (or even other expats) helps you understand the culture more. Grace and open-mindedness helps you move past culture shock into an area of understanding and appreciation for another’s home country.