On Turkish Travels and Time

I am glad to get out of Istanbul.  It is a great city, but it requires more energy than I can muster right now.  I have successfully managed to save myself 2 days and 2 nights accommodation expense by night bus-sing it to Ephesus and Goreme - which coincidentally are both incredible places which should be on anybody's Must See list.

But this retrieved time has given me more space to think than perhaps I would like.  I believe that too much education is not good for your wellbeing...it is indeed possible to know too much.  Like with my Psychology degree - the more I learn the more I despair in the Psychology profession and in humanity itself.  So logically - does that mean the more I travel and "learn" about the world, the more restless and unsatisfied I will become?  When education is new it is good.  But not any more.  Will it be the same with travel?  Once it gets old will it just be an unstoppable path of unnecessary damage to my psyche? Is it in fact simplification of life which is needed in order to become contented?  This thought has serious implications for the Master Plan.

What prompted this introspection? For one, this is the first time this year I have had any space to actually stop and think about such things.  And I have some fairly major life events and imminent decisions to process.  Two, I am reading The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner - and such thoughts are a natural outcome of this excellent read.  I am serious about attaining happiness, and I am becoming concerned that it is something I should be considering a lot more in my daily life.

And what is the answer? I have no idea.  But given I have no other ideas - Im going to continue onwards in search of new dreams and hope that I am wrong! Tomorrow is hiking day around Goreme...sounds good to me!

Merhaba Istanbul

So I made it to Istanbul.  Journey from the airport went well - though I wish I knew more Turkish.  Thats kind of a recurring theme through all my experiences so far - but saying it once will do.  So far I have made it to most of the tourist traps of Sultanahmet, but as they really are worth the visit I dont think there is any shame in that!  Hopefully will make it out of Sultanahmet to Beyoglu tomorrow.

I am staying in Istanbul Hostel - its everything you need and has great breakfast as well as a great location.  Only downside is its very quiet - which is obviously as its out of season.  But that means there arent many people around for me to talk to,

After 2 very stressful visits to the Serkeci and Otogar - bus and train stations - I think/hope I have obtained valid information about how to get to Selcuk.  So the next stop will be Ephesus on Tuesday...hopefully.

Favourite experience so far - that has got to be the feeling of my Vibram Five Fingers shoes bending around the curves of the worn marble steps of the Harem in Topkapi Palace.  That and the feeling of utter calm I got when I entered the very first stop on my visit - the Basilica CIstern.  This feeling reminded me just how much I enjoy travelling, and just how much good it does me.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

2010 Packing List

OK...so I am packed. I may not be entirely sure what is in my 35l Regatta rucksack...but this is what I can remember:

  • 2 T-shirts
  • 2 pairs socks & pants
  • PJs
  • Towel
  • 1 dress & tights combo
  • FlipFlops
  • Kanga (super useful Tanzanian clothing which works as a towel, skirt, duvet, bag, shawl etc etc etc)
  • Greece and Turkey guide books
  • 1 book (The Geography of Bliss....as recommended by Tynan)
  • 1 bag shower type stuff
  • 1 bag makeup, first aid, electric type stuff
  • 2l Platypus water bladder (these things are amazing and they have a lifetime warranty - turns out you can actually just go switch them at random outdoor shops without a receipt with no hassle)
  • Passport & tickets (obviously)
And that is just about it.  That bag is seriously small. Im not entirely what is in there...or what isnt in there that should be.  But if its not in there - then I guess I dont need it! Im pretty impressed with how little I am taking.  Although I admit it is mainly because I had no choice.  

This isnt as detailed a kit list as I was hoping to get done - but I have had a 3h exam today and Im pretty exhausted after packing.  Once I get back I will try and get a more detailed critique done of whats good and bad and why - mainly for future reference for myself if Im honest!

So next post will be from Turkey! I cant wait to get away.  The horizon is beckoning.

On Orchids And Achievements

I have always wanted an orchid.  So on seeing a half price mangy looking flowerless one a few months ago I decided to buy it.  Despite containing half a small jungle in my house since the age of about 11 I have always been wary of buying an orchid as I thought it would be too difficult to look after.

My fears were increased when the super-exciting first buds that appeared on my orchid went brown and fell off within a few days of appearing on the plant.  This was probably not helped by the fact that I dropped the plant... 

But finally, I have a flower!!! It is almost fully open so I think I can successfully count it as my first ever orchid flower. I am unexpectedly proud of myself over this - even though technically I dont think I really did very much to help it flower! If anything I probably hindered it from flowering... 

My unexpected attachment to the orchid's flower has got me thinking about the nature of achievements, and how incredibly subjective they are.  For most people, a single semi-open orchid flower wouldnt even register on the achievement radar...but for me it is a far greater achievement than the Distinction I got in my last exam. 

The subjectivity of achievement is important because it shows you what drives people, what motivates them, whats important to them.  So my whole orchid flowers-over-exam results achievements hierachy neatly sums up exactly why I am rejecting all the life choices that I am expected to make, why I desire to experience the unknown above all other things and why almost all the people I know look at me like Im slightly insane whenever I explain my Master Plan to them.

4 days till exam. 5 days till Turkey. Revision...minimal.  Packing...nonexistent.

Adventure Is Imminent

Next Thursday (1 day after my huge and horrible exam) I am off on an adventure! As this is my first holiday in 18 months and my first "adventure" in 3 years I am super excited.

I am going to Turkey on my own for 2 weeks and then my Mum is joining me for a week in Athens.  In Turkey I will be going to Istanbul, which looks like an incredible city that I think I am really going to love; Ephesus, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World; and Goreme in the Cappadocia region that looks unbelievably pretty.  Given that its rained constantly for the last 2 weeks in Turkey Im thinking I might be going to get a little wet, but I dont care! I am already dreading coming home though, this 9-5 lifestyle grates on my soul like you would not believe. 

But beyond the...

"Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and Piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenaments
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars"

...And general joys of exploration, this adventure does have a more serious purpose.  I have recently lost the promise of a travelling partner in my future escapes, and I think it would be fair to say that this has knocked my confidence a little.  So this trip is as much about proving to myself that I can do this on my own as it is about anything else.

I am going to be hostelling and intend to only take a 35l rucksack with me (which looks TINY) - so there will be updates on how it all goes.  This is a pic of the "silly shoes" aka Vibram Five Fingers I have bought especially for this trip. 

I have been mocked mercilessly for these at work - but I love them. They are super comfy and so much easier to wear than trainers. I also hope that they will provide a nice icebreaker! I am slightly doubtful about how they will do in wet weather....but time will tell!

Not sure how much internet time I will get while Im away - but I will try and get at least a couple of posts done.  Or at least write them to post when I get back.  I am going to try and stick to a 2 posts per week rule...lets see how long that lasts!

The Master Plan

So to set the scene for all this... here is an explanation of my master plan.  I will be finishing my Open University undergraduate Psychology degree in October 2012 (which right now seems as far away as the end of time).  Between now and then I need to buy (and most likely do up given my limited budget) a motorcaravan.  I have chosen a motorcaravan as my transport because...I am going to be taking my dog.  And a motorcaravan seems to be the least impractical means of achieving this highly impractical goal!

I hope to be hitting the road soon after I finish my degree - probably right after Christmas 2012.  And the plan is...well Im not quite sure yet! The rough idea will be to stay in Europe to start off with - as to get out of Europe you either have to go through some very hot (and Sally doesnt do hot) or very dangerous (and Id rather work up to very dangerous a little slowly) places.  As we will be in super expensive Europe I will therefore need to work to avoid running out of money very quickly, so the plan is to do some kind of voluntary work for a couple of years.  I have been checking out Workaway (awesome) and Se7en (pretty good) for stuff to do.  Im liking the sound of eco projects in Portugal right now.  As Im going to be going away in winter I need to start off in southern Europe...as I am a lizard-like person who cannot stand the cold!  Any suggestions on any other cool sites for free or low cost voluntary work would be greatly appreciated!

Given that when I leave Sally will be 11 - I reckon I will have a few years to spend around Europe moving from project to project, sightseeing etc etc.  I guess my main aim to start with is just to switch off from my current manic 100mph life in which I have a to-do list thats longer than me and strip it all back to basics.  Im hoping this gear change will get me realigned with my faith and open my mind up to understand what exactly I am supposed to be doing in this life...or something like that anyway!

And then once my best furry friend is no longer with me and therefore there is no-one left to determine where I go or what I do...who knows. I'll figure that one out when I get there I guess.

But right now I am stuck in this manic cycle of commitments, yearning for the horizon to just swallow me up.  But thats the master plan as it stands anyway...

Meet the love of my life

As this is my first ever post...it only seems fair to use it to introduce the most important thing in the world to me. My dog Sally. She is a 9 year old labrador x german wirehaired pointer, and she is the sweetest stupidest mutt you could ever meet. And I love her. I know that aiming her to take her with me when I go is something that most people would consider to be at best stupid - but I wouldnt even consider going without her.  So we are in this together!

And here she is... in a very snowy Cumbria.

  © Blogger template 'Minimalist H' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP