… and intensified times infinity.
This is not an article about rock climbing. There are too many of those out there. Besides, climbing is a personal, intimate journey we all experience and understand differently. So instead of listening to other people’s opinions, good or bad, why don’t you come to Geyikbayırı and see what all the fuss is about for yourselves? No, this one is about vibes, people, change. Now allow me to spill the details…
Life is about choices
Good or bad, we have to live with them and accept their consequences. It’s always like this – you win some you lose some.
No job, some money socked away. What to do? Live off our savings for as long as possible, or make some memories? In the end, it wasn’t such a tough decision to make. “Hell, let’s climb!” All it took was a Fb message in the break of day, and two weeks later we were flying over Turkey, landing in Antalya, and driving to Rido Camp. Only five weeks this time, pretty short compared to the three months we spent in Geyikbayırı four years ago, but it sure felt longer. It was intense, exciting, it swept us off our feet.
Disconnecting and connecting
The first step was to disconnect from all things that were holding us back – worries, work, computers, phone, you name it. Then connect with people. Don’t worry, I have no desire to get overly philosophical or sentimental. The bottom line is we made new friends, something we haven’t done in a long time. We found a second home in an unexpected place.
On any given day, you could see us either climbing, starting a barbecue (or mangal), staying warm by the camp fire, eating late-night dinners, tanning, partying, going to the beach, eating döner on the street, hitchhiking our way to the Sunday bazaar in Ҫakirlar or to Antalya, sipping Turkish tea and Ada ҫay brewed on the wood-burning stove, topping it all off with a Turkish wedding by the sea.
We connected with people we’ve only just met better than with some whom we’ve known for half our lifetime. Strange how life works. And funny how, just as I’m writing these words, a couple we met during our time in Rido Camp is staying with us for a few days, visiting these parts of Romania on their almost one-year trip around Europe. She’s from Turkey, he’s from Spain, they are married and have been on the road for almost ten months now. They only know what their next stop will be, in this case, Bӑile Herculane. The rest is always a surprise.
Kindness still exists
Society teaches us to be educated, to be civilized. But it does not teach us to be good. There are all sorts of people in this world, each fascinating in their own right. Yet kindness is a quality we rarely get to see anymore. Turkey reminded us it still exists. Complete strangers lending a hand, opening themselves to us as if we’d known each other from some past life. Which makes me wonder what is more important, surrounding ourselves with many so-called friends that will forget your name the second you’re in trouble, or hang out with a bunch of strangers that will immediately jump over all social and cultural boundaries?
The first thing we noticed upon our arrival was that there are far fewer tourists than in other years, both in Geyikbayırı and Antalya. In the Old Town of Kaleiҫi, the bazaars once swarming with people are now almost empty. This is what happens when people fight. It is a difficult time for the entire country, and small businesses suffer the most. Still, these people keep their heads high and chin up. It is in the hardest of times that we remember to be human.
The end. Or not?
What was different from four years ago? Everything. From the campsite and atmosphere to the people, weather, even those tricky tufas felt more accessible and easy to read. But most importantly, we are different. We climbed. A lot. I never thought I’d be saying this, but we climbed too much. That was our plan after all. The nice weather in the first weeks allowed us to visit almost all the sectors at the main crag, from Sarkit to Mevlana and Echoes. Yet as tired as we felt in the last two weeks, we still wanted more, and left with an unexpected sadness in our hearts, a feeling of longing. A part of us is still there, and the only way to get it back is to return to Geyikbayırı.