Turkey has been quite an adventure. I have met so many new friends, and had such a mix of experiences and feelings since I have been here. I have had some tears, much laughter, and a lot of new awakenings about myself and my journey.
When I was in Hungary I felt as if maybe I had made a big mistake coming on this trip by myself, and then I came to Turkey, connected with my Fellowship here and realized that I would never really have to be by myself anytime on this trip if I didn’t want to be. There are members everywhere, and I can go wherever they are. Now that I have been with people almost every day, all day in Turkey; I am ready to spend some time with myself to sort through all the stuff that has happened.
Fethiye is a wonderful place, and I would love to come back and really explore this part of Turkey. I think I would want to find a place to stay for a while, but with less British tourists. The town and beach reminds me a lot of Maui when I first moved there in 1987.
I’m writing in the lobby of the hotel, and it’s breakfast time so there is a lot of distraction with people walking by; and I’m finding it hard to concentrate on what I want to say. I leave in a hour or so to catch the bus to Doloman Airport, then fly to Istanbul. I will be at my favorite hotel (IstanbulInn) for one night and then I fly to Beirut. I will only be there overnight in the airport, and then I catch my flight to Dubai. I have a full tour booked in Dubai, so I’m all set for my stay there. I have not done anything about my trip to India, and need to start working on where to stay and what to do there. I really feel like I need to rent a place somewhere for a month or so, and have a base to travel from. That is what I intend to do, but where or how, I have no idea…
I have spent a lot of time in Holland, Paris, Hungary, and here in Istanbul around people who are talking in languages that I don’t understand. In Holland I was with my very good friend, and I never felt uncomfortable with any of her friends speaking Dutch around me. In Paris, I was with my friend from Sydney, so I had someone to talk to in English. In Turkey, I have frequently spent hours with people speaking only Turkish. Most of the people have been wonderful about translating for me, and I know it has been a hard job to translate everything into another language. But my point in this writing is that I have a long history of paranoia about people, and have struggled for years to get over feeling as if people are not to be trusted; and that has been in my own country with my own language. Some of those feelings resurfaced in Turkey, being around people I didn’t know. What I decided to do about it was this…I decided that no matter what thoughts I was having, I would smile and believe that everyone loved me. I practiced for most of the time, and what I discovered is that it worked. The feelings went away. What others really felt about me was none of my business; but what I felt was, and I could change what I felt.
Normally, in my own world, I probably am not that concerned about how people feel about me, but out here in the wide universe it is a different story. I do not have my safe little house, and my safe little group, and my safe little friends, and my safe little world to go to. So, I must create my own safe place in myself; and to do that I have to believe that I am loved and cared for; and that I can trust the universe. So I spent a lot of time smiling and the times when I didn’t I could feel the difference. So much of what I am experiencing is based on trust. I have to trust the people around me, I have to trust the universe, I have to trust myself and my own abilities, I have to trust the taxi drivers!…and I have to especially trust my own intuition.
I’m not sure if I’ve made any sense, and strangely I feel as if all the time I spend speaking simple English to be understood is making it harder for me to communicate in my own language. Probably, most of you would rather hear what I am doing…rather than what I am feeling, so I will try and mix it up.
The first day I was in Fethiye, I laid on the beach for the day, and that night we went into town and had a wonderful dinner at the Fish Market. You go to this open air place where there are fish stands everywhere, then you pick out your fish and take it to one of the little places where they cook it for you. They serve you salad and bread with it, and it all costs about 20 lire (about $8?). The fish is so fresh, and there are tables of people eating, drinking, laughing, talking (they really talk a lot in Turkey!). It’s a wonderful place. I went there twice with friends from Japan, Germany, Turkey, England…one of the best experiences of my trip. I have had quite a few “best experiences of my trip” so far. The culture here is vibrant, and thoughtful, and intellectual, and interesting.
Another great thing I did was rent a bicycle!!...I've wanted to ride a bike since Holland. My friend's bike in Delft’s seat was too high, and it was very cold. Then, in Paris, my other friend never rode a bike and we were doing so many other things; also riding bike in Paris looked like a suicide mission! But when I got to Fethiye, it is a small place with little traffic and they rent bikes to ride along the beach. I tried to talk myself out of it several times, then finally I woke up the second day and said I’m going. My new friend here also had not ridden bike and didn’t want to try; so I did it myself. It was a very old bike, and not in great shape but I rode up and down the beach and back and forth to the hotel where we were all meeting. It was so great because I was sure I wouldn’t be able to do it, and I got on and pedaled away as if I rode yesterday. So, next I will rent a scooter somewhere, and then maybe a real motorcycle!!...I am working my way up. Need I remind you all that I am 62 years old, so it is not the same as trying new stuff when I was 22 years old!!....But the most important thing is to experience life without letting my fears and doubts stop me!!
I am now in airport at Doloman; flight to Istanbul has been delayed 90 minutes due to air traffic. I had to take a taxi from Fethiya because I couldn’t confirm that the bus would pick me up. It is a very long drive over hills and not very good roads. Today it is pouring rain, and there were some mudslides on the way; which reminded me of home, as we have the same problem on the Pali from Lahaina to Kahului when it rains. Also, the mountains here are so green, and look a lot like on upcountry Maui. It is a very beautiful place.
About the rain; everywhere I’ve gone it has been great weather, and then right before I leave it starts to rain. This happened in New York, and when I went to Holland it was sunny and warm in Amsterdam. Den Haag rained one day while I was there, but mostly it was sunny in Delft. When I left Holland, it began to rain and became very cold. Then in Paris we were amazed that it was sunny for our entire week, and then the day before we left , it started to rain. I was in Istanbul for 9 days, and the first 7 were very warm and sunny. It rained and got cold the last 2 days before I went to Fethiya. It was perfectly sunny and hot in Fethiya, and then last night it started to rain and has rained all day today. And now I go back to Istanbul, but I heard it is very cold; so I am off to Dubai, which is warm. So the rain has been behind me, as I travel forward; but it is also ahead of me, with major floods in India, Bangkok, and southeast Asia. I seem to be in a sun zone which I am taking with me, and I hope that continues to work for me. May sunshine, peace, and freedom from fear continue to travel with me...thenomadrena.