I woke up at sunrise in the hostel in Kadiköy. Today was the day, I would leave Istanbul behind – behind for good. I felt content and happy, having had a wonderful last day and with it, my birthday, in Istanbul. I had porridge and coffee, before visiting Decathlon once more. A warmer fleece was needed for the upcoming weeks of my journey. Then it was time to say my farewells to some of the dear people, I have met in the hostel. Heavy hearted, but ready to leave, I set on the bike pushing the pedals, towards the ferry wharf. After purchasing my ticket, I bought myself one last Simit (a bread crinkle covered with sesame seeds) in Istanbul.
Boarding the ferry I lied my eyes one last time on the skyline of Istanbul. When the ferry left the port, tears were running down my face. I was so grateful for all the beautiful encounters and experiences I had, so touched by this city, the people and the culture – my second culture. Unknowing when I will return, I watched Istanbul disappear in the distance.
The ferry ride was three hours long, I used this time for journaling and investigating possible routes.
When I arrived in Bandirma I stocked up on vegetables and started cycling. How strange it felt, after not having been on the bike for a week. After a short cycle I realised, that the route, I was thinking of taking, would lead me all the way to Çanakkale on the highway. I was not keen to cycle on the highway, after my experience of cycling to Istanbul. I studied the map for possible options, once again, my indecisiveness robbed me valuable time. In the end, I decided to skip the detour to Çanakkale and take a more direct route to the coast. Unsure if this was the right choice, I started cycling on a quiet road towards a barren landscape. Back on the road, back at cycling, I was drowning in doubts and uncertainty. Am I going the right route? What will the temperature be? Will it rain? Where can I get water? Where should I sleep? The list goes on. It started raining, hence I put my rain gear on. Here I was having withdraw symptoms from all the comfort Istanbul had provided – a bed, heating, a space to cook, a toilet, companionship and music.
When it was close to sunset I stopped next to a lake, cooking dinner in the cold and wind. I realised that it is summer now in Australia, oh do I miss the sun on my skin. With the hope for warmer temperatures down south, I set up my tent and withdrew from the elements.
My current frame of mind made me think of one of my favourite poems:
Hermann Hesse – Stufen (Steps)
Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.
Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will nicht fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf’ um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.
Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden…
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!
As every blossom fades
and all youth sinks into old age,
so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
attains its prime and cannot last forever.
The heart must submit itself courageously
to life’s call without a hint of grief,
A magic dwells in each beginning,
protecting us, telling us how to live.
High purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
cleaving to none as to a home,
the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
but raise us higher, step by step.
Scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
only he who is ready to journey forth
can throw old habits off.
Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
maybe life’s call to us will never find an end
Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.
I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone, who has gifted me a birthday present, through my gofundme account. Special thanks to Alex, Andrew, Karen, Vincent, Wim and Mark. I also want to thank Connie, Karen, Andrew, Emily, Debora, Trudy and Sally for continues emotional support. Some of you I have met on this journey and it means a lot to me, knowing that you are supporting and following this journey. Feel free to say hi and leave a comment.
So long – güle güle from close to Kocagöl!