Turkey smells like Oranges and Cigarettes. I love it.
It sounds like yelling Turkish grandmothers who shove food and tea in your mouth
and gentle waves from the sea bumping into fishing boats.
It sounds like the 6am-ish Call to Prayer, that still catches me off guard every time I hear it echoing through empty streets with dim light.
It looks like
cats wandering and rubbing up against boots;
shades of gray and black- jackets and scarves and dark winter mornings.
Turkey looks like a really warm, uneasy smile.
I try to smile at everyone because when I was 11 and I told my mom I wanted to be a cheerleader, she told me that at her high school, the cheer leaders were elected by the entire school. And she wanted to be a cheer leader too. So she started to smile at everyone. Just a nice, friendly, smile. So that when election time came, even people who didn't know her thought of her as the girl who smiled. I always thought that was really beautiful.
My mom has a beautiful smile. I digress.
So. I smile. And Turks? They smile back. Confused, usually, but welcoming, shyly, tentative yet warm.
Turkey feels like a really warm kitchen full of fresh bread (so much bread). Turkey feels like fresh bread and a mid day nap and the wind hitting your face during a really long run. Turkey feels like the most kind and attentive flight attendant you've ever met pouring you your third cup of hot tea. It feels like long, winding conversations with someone you haven't seen for years but every time you see them, you pick up right where you left off.
The most English I spoke during my week in Izmir, aside from helping a 6 year old read Dr. Seuss, was repeatedly saying the word 'English?' with a trying to be cute and innocent but probably comes across more as silly and ignorant smile, to every person I encounter that I have to interact with.
Traveling alone is weird but freeing.
It's quite the paradox:
like, there are no rules.
None. I can do whatever I want, go where I want, answer to my bank account alone.
Except that, there are tons of rules. Like always know where your passport is.
And be constantly aware, especially if you're going to fall asleep on the bus.
And always have a snack with you. Always. This rule might be most important.
Now, I'm in Kas (pronounced Kash and I only say that to help y'all avoid the embarrassment I went through trying to buy a bus ticket).
Let me tell you, the South of Turkey > the South of France. Maybe that’s the Portland hipster in me, but Got Damn, it’s beautiful.
I think one of my favorite things in the entire world is arriving to a new place when it’s dark outside and falling asleep because traveling is exhausting and waking up and realizing
YOU’RE IN A TOTALLY NEW PLACE AND THE WORLD IS FULL OF ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE YOU ARE A SOUND OYSTER OR HOWEVER IT GOES.
But really, it’s such a great feeling.
I’m going to end this with a question:
Why do we travel?
I’ve been contemplating this for a while and I think it must be the most natural question anyone asks when embarking on any sort of epic quest.
Example: Why do you climb mountains?
Answer: Because they're there*.
*right? I'm actually also still trying to figure that one out...
I have my theories, my hypothesis if you will (for Connor and the other Logicals out there). But honestly, I don’t really know why I decided to do all of this.
Help a girl out, won’t ya?
Why do we travel?