Turkey Through the Lens

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like an answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.”

We started our Turkish adventure in the rain, though thankfully, along with the rain came a whole lot of friendly people and chai.

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A Turkish Homestay: Living in Van

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

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It was 2C but it felt a whole lot colder as we began to climb yet another small hill. We were soaked, absolutely soaked, and the chilly wind and pouring rain wasn’t helping one bit. We knew we had seventy kilometers to go until the largest city yet, Van, and since we knew we couldn’t camp inside such a large city (and since we were desperate for a shower and electricity to charge our electronics) we were going to try and find a cheap hotel to stay in for the night. I jokingly told Kevin that if an empty truck stopped to offer us a ride at any point (because we looked so pathetic) we would accept, and sure enough, that’s basically what happened.

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Amerika, Diapers, and a Kurdish Fighters Funeral

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.”

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Now that we have been in Turkey for two weeks we have begun to see some patterns. After we tell people where we are from, nearly all of them answer with “oh good!,” “I love Amerika” (with a k here in Turkey) or even, “thank you.” This is especially true in the east predominately Kurdish region where we have been cycling because the United States is currently helping the Kurds to fight off their greatest enemy… ISIS. One Kurd also thanked us (on behalf of his people to our people) for helping to secure some land and government representation for the Iraqi Kurds who are no longer as oppressed as they once were. Though politics definitely aren’t our thing, and we are often hesitate to go around shouting we are from the USA since we definitely aren’t a unanimously loved nation, it has seemed to be a pretty good thing so far over here.

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One Day I’ll Be a Shepherd Too

“But that’s the glory of foreign travel… Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”

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Though we have seen (and slept in) shepherd’s huts before here in Turkey, the dozens of small stone huts all clumped together like villages really got my attention throughout this vast and desolate area. Though we have seen a few of these nomadic “villages” near the road during the past few days, today we were able to stop and sleep in one of these huts as they provide a wonderful wind shelter. After ditching our bikes we walked for half an hour up the nearest hill and what we saw on the other side amazed me – village after village of these makeshift stone huts scattered throughout the area. Though the (predominately) Kurdish people who inhabit this area are no longer full time nomads as they once were, they still travel for months on end with their sheep, a few donkeys, and their large sheep dogs for protection.

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Behind the Scenes: Kevin’s Side

“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated.”

Though we are traveling as a couple, you really only hear one side of the story since I happen to be the one recording it all. Because of this, Kevin decided to write a post for y’all to enjoy, a sort of insider look into a few funny stories I may have left out.

You have heard our stories, seen our pictures, and experienced our adventures through the words of Shirine, but there is another side to our trip which has been left out. By giving you a glimpse of our life through my eyes I hope to bring to light some comical and interesting behind the scenes information.

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Call Out to Turkey!

“A wise person knows there is something to be learned from everybody.”

It’s incredible how many people – from Bulgaria, to Thailand, to France – have emailed me inviting us to stay in their homes when we pass through their country. These invitations, and staying with locals in general, is definitely our favorite part about the way we travel but unfortunately I haven’t kept a comprehensive list of where the people are who have offered. Because of this I’m going to start giving a little shout-out before each country, and since we will be entering into Turkey in a week, here is the Turkish shout out! Kevin and I would love to cook you breakfast, do the dishes, or work in the garden (etc..) as a thank you for your hospitality, in fact, we insist! Feel free to comment on this post or send me a private email letting me know where you guys are at, and after looking at a map, I’ll get back to you with an approximate about when we will be there.