The Update: First Edition

View of Uzumlu Turkey from mountains

Üzümlü, Turkey

Hello from Üzümlü, Turkey and welcome to the inaugural edition of ‘The Update’!

The Update is our effort to keep you in the loop on what we’ve been up to on a more regular basis. Over the past year of traveling we have had good weeks and not so good weeks, when it comes to getting full posts up on the blog on specific locations or experiences. We will still be doing our regular style postings, but we decided including a more regular update would be beneficial. They will be brief snapshots of where we are and what we are doing, so check back now and again.

A turkish flag hangs in Uzumlu, Turkey

Flags in the village

First things first. We joined Snapchat and it is quickly becoming our favorite social platform. If you are already following us, you got to see what a day in the life of pet/house sitting looks like. If you aren’t following us, you missed it (snapchats disappear after 24 hours), but don’t miss anything else! Our Snapchat ID is greatbigglobe. Go, add us now. 🙂

So, our trip started with us leaving for London on August 23rd and we had an 8 hour layover in Atlanta. Luckily, I found a great deal on lounge passes on We spent the day in The Club at ATL complete with free food, drinks, WiFi and showers. It made the layover fly by and soon we were on our way to London.

The Club at ATL airport lounge in Atlanta

The Club at ATL

We flew Virgin Atlantic for the first time. I wish I could say I loved it, but I was actually not too impressed. Our seats were really tight and the food was pretty blah. In retrospect I wish we would have paid $80/each for upgraded seats. They weren’t business class but they looked a lot bigger. In the end, we watched a couple of movies, got a little sleep and landed at London Heathrow ready for our trip.

We used Hilton Honors points to stay at the Hampton by Hilton London Croydon. The hotel is pretty far south, but has quick access to public transportation (5 min walk). Our second day, we hopped on the train and it got us to London Victoria Station in about 15 minutes. We would definitely recommend this hotel for the price and the fact that public transport can get you to many areas of London in no time.

London has been having a beautiful summer, but as soon as we arrived it changed. 🙁 It rained nearly our entire stay. We attempted to do some sightseeing on Tuesday, so we got glimpses of Big Ben, Westminister Abbey and Buckingham Palace between downpours. Oh, and I bought us a selfie stick! 🙂

Alana and Matt in front of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace Selfie

We had hoped to visit the London Bridge or tour Wimbledon on Wednesday, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Instead, we waited for the first break in the rain and bee-lined it for our final London hotel. We spent our last night at the Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick, so we would have an easy morning before flying to Turkey. The hotel has a fantastic gym, so we enjoyed a long workout and bought dinner at one of the airport convenience stores.

The gym at Hampton by HIlton and airport dinner

The gym and what 10GBP buys you at an airport

The following morning we enjoyed some breakfast and got ready to head out on our next flight.

Unfortunately, the flight was delayed as the incoming plane was late. But, it didn’t stop there. There were problems with the pressurization system, so the pilot denied the plane for flying. Now we had to wait for a new plane to arrive. Eventually, after several hours of waiting, we boarded our British Airways flight and made our way to Turkey. Have I ever mentioned how much I love British Airways? The flight attendants are so friendly, they always feed you a meal and drinks are free! Further, the pilot himself came up to the podium to explain and apologize for the multiple delays. When do you ever get all that in the U.S.?

Quick travel hack tip: To score more room on a plane when choosing seats as a party of two, choose an aisle and window on the same side and row. If the plane isn’t full, your middle seat is likely to remain empty as single travelers will choose any free window or aisle seat over that middle seat.

This is my fourth try and it’s worked four out of four times! Of course, if the plane is full you will be out of luck. However, the person assigned to the middle seat will almost always be happy to trade you for your window or aisle, so you can be seated next to your partner. 😉

Enjoying our extra space. Matt is too, even if he doesn't look like it.

Enjoying our extra space. Matt is too, even if he doesn’t look like it.

Since arriving in Turkey we have been getting to know the dog, cats and tortoise we are caring for. All of our days have been spent with them and have included a few hours in the pool each afternoon. We’ve seen many of our friends from the first time we were in Üzümlü pet and housesitting and will see more tomorrow as we head out for a boat trip on the Mediterranean. Üzümlü truly feels like our home away from home!

Uzumlu Turkey


Finally, just a reminder that we love social media. It you are looking for a daily dose of Great Big Globe, you can find us here:





Our Snapchat ID is greatbigglobe or you can simply point your Snapchat camera at this Snapcode and tap your screen to add us!

Great Big Globe Snapchat

About Alana

Alana is one-half of Great Big Globe. She loves animals, the Wisconsin Badgers, exploring new countries and chasing the sun.


  1. Great post! Thanks for the post.Keep sharing.

  2. Great photos! Your “home” is beautiful! Love, Mom

  3. I liked your idea of capturing the extra seat in the plane 🙂

  4. I have to make it back to Uzumlu sometime. I didn’t rate it when I visited and the expat readers living there lambasted me for my write up. 🙂 Said I would give it another chance.

    • Hi Natalie- We have found Uzumlu to be wonderful and we love the local village feel. I read your post and understand your opinion. I don’t feel comfortable weighing in though as I have nothing to compare Uzumlu too. I do hope you make it back sometime. It is definitely alive this time of year!

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