Deedra Aynaz Özkaşıkçı is the presenter & co-producer of the travel show “Kesişen Kültürler” on beIN TV. She has been traveling around the globe for years, and now she takes her audience with her to these amazing journeys as well! Aynaz Özkaşıkçı introduces different cultures as she travels to the most beautiful places in the world. Let’s take a look at her exciting stories together!
|Name||Deedra Aynaz Özlen Özkaşıkçı|
|Nationality||Turkish / American|
|Job||Author, Producer, Documentaries|
|Hobbies / Interests||Golf, Scuba, Cooking|
|Number of Countries Visited||? too many|
|Social Media Accounts||Web/aynazoz.com|
How long have you been traveling around the world? Where does your passion come from about traveling?
I began traveling at a very young age. Having parents from completely different continents (my mother is American and father is Turkish) makes it hard to fit all the family into one place. Prior to starting school, we lived in several places. California, Ankara, Saudi Arabia, and Germany. At age 7 my parents divorced and we moved to Texas to live with my American grandparents which were diplomats for the US government. They had traveled everywhere, and the stories of Japan, Holland, London, Turkey and so many more really sparked the need for me to discover the magic of this planet.
How did you decide to do a TV program about traveling? What is it like being a TV host? What are the hardest parts of it?
I love to share stories. Everyone has one actually a million. But what really excites me is the connection that we all have to each other. We all are living the same dream in a different location. Where you were born and the family you were born into defines so much about us, yet the basis of everyone’s life is the same. My show is actually a tribute to the similarity and the additions each culture we pass through make both into itself and onto the world.
I am truly the luckiest of people because I get to meet so many different people and their stories become my stories. Being half Turkish and half American made me live through a lot of misunderstandings. I was always misunderstood. It is difficult to be a bridge because you can’t identify with either. Over time I began to understand that this was what made me special.
Has hosting a travel program on TV changed the way you travel? How did it affect your trips?
Hosting a travel show has definitely changed some of the ways I travel. I have learned to travel much lighter. I used to take so many unnecessary things with me. Now it is very planned out and nothing is unnecessary. Also, I guess this has made me lighter as a person. I am more adaptable and less worried about what we will be doing. I think it’s important to plan your trips but to also stay spontaneous along the way. Let life happen. Sometimes things that you never thought possible just show up. Be where you are and really indulge in the culture. Do what they do and eat what they eat, drink what they drink, and enjoy as they do.
You also have a cookbook. Would you say your passion for traveling and cooking are linked to each other?
Definitely. For me, the main reason to travel might be to eat! I love food. I love to experience the passion people feel for food. And, when you travel and indulge in the culture the best place to feel this is in the food they eat. I always say if you want to find the true story follow the food.
What was the most interesting tradition you’ve ever encountered? Can you tell us about it?
I think it’s hard for me to put my finger on one. Everyplace I visit has some quirky some interesting some crazy tradition. I think it’s important to try and understand them and why they exist.
How many days were you staying in a destination on average to create one episode of your TV program?
3 cities you’ve loved the most:
Moscow, Madrid, Palermo.
Can you tell us your 3 favorite dishes?
Anything with Truffles, Nata Belem, Turkish Meze (all of them).
The country or a city that surprised you beyond your expectations:
Which city would you like to live in other than İstanbul?
What is your favorite way of traveling?
Where else are you most excited to see in the future?
Brazil, Cuba, Japan.