What being home means.

Take one. The wind.
Take two. Long way down dreams with the best crew.
Take three. Catching up a million years in sixty minutes.
Take four. Bumping into adventurers. Take five. Saying goodbye over and over.
Take one. The wind.
The wind defines this peninsula. The Aegean blows up in summer, currents between the islands and mainland become difficult and make sailing some feat. When I open up the veranda doors in the early morning, the room fills up with cool air that tussles your hair and make you shiver.
And in the evening, Chios island stands tall as the boats come in the harbor. Sun takes its leave and the wind starts again. We go to eat fish and always bring along shawls and jackets for the nonbelievers that temperature will be six degrees cooler than reported.
We locals will not reside in a village, Won’t even discuss with friends who insist on buying from alacati, but rather smile, eat, live, be only near the sea.


The wind brings the smell of thyme, fishing nets, salt and the myths of the Aegean. We share the wind with each other. This is why we live love and dream here.
Take two. Long way down dreams with the best crew.


Photo is taken in El-Alamein near Alexandria, Egypt, right after the revolution. We got on half functioning KTM bikes and jeeps and hit the road out of Cairo to the Mediterenean Coast. We were Egyptians, Turks, South Africans, Lebanese, Austrian-Iraqi determined to breath in the desert. Middle East was on fire then as it is today. Regional conflicts abound, none of us knew what would that turmoil bring; and we still do not. Our energy was amazing and we kept at business and life no matter what. We met in Cesme few years following and had a tremendously grand time every second we would be together. We imagined our next trips whether be the Atlas mountains, Big Sahara or The Great Rift valley…


Being in Cesme, and contemplating my next big trip on wheels—I can not help missing my dear ones madly wherever they are. Maybe long way down? 


Take three. Catching up a million years in sixty minutes
My die-heart friend of 32 years comes over and decides to convince me that a plant in South America has the ability to make any human see above and beyond worldly things and find a holistic meaning in the universe by only stimulating certain parts of your brain. And I tell him of my factual genetic dispersion theory of the past million year, although not statistically applicable to behavioural evolution patterns of humans, and have a long discussion on what consititutes collective intelligence. We debate long enough to merge the two and eventually agree in one hour. The intellectual stimulation won over by affiliation and empathy, only in Izmir.
Take four. Bumping into adventurers


Several things will bring you home when you live abroad. During the home visits I try to live those short moments in abundance, line them up one after another, store them to take me for a long while. But real reason is the hope of coming back one day and only finding those wonderful things that make you come back.
This year I piled up an amazing memory in my head. I met two phenomenal people. One of them is originally from Izmir and his wife became ‘Izmirli’ over the years. I met them through a common friend who fervently advised our outlooks in life would be quite similar and made the introductions. We met at a restaurant in Urla port, probably my most favourite place in the world to have fish, with boats and fishermen with their nets at the bay, went to an unpretentious ‘real’ place like I would go with my family on Sunday nights, and ate barbun (the red mullet of the Aegean).
We first discussed what our conscious told each of us to do for others. It sounds banal and old fashioned to discuss those. It didn’t at all with these two people. On the contrary it was very liberating because we had zero common business interests; rather we were exploring to become friends. We each recognized this burden of responsibility we carried; and dived straight into potential things we cared about, forking out common interests, common dedications, common connections. Being from Izmir means you have a stand in life and usually you are very proud of that. We explored women issues, we explored small business ventures in eastern turkey and how they could survive on their own, what role technology and further education can help.
Then all of a sudden a new page turned. I discovered that they are adventurers! I told them being in the Gobi desert was exactly like being in the sea. Sailors themselves—they knew exactly what I was talking about. Travelling within non existing routes; where time and space optimizations doesn’t work; a mountain you saw could take an hour or a day or you could not reach it at all. That it required absolute discipline, patience and ability to hold a crew together to make it through. And you travelled because it was there, no other reason. They understood me thoroughly. Then there was their plan to cross the Atlantic. My adrenaline shot high.
We ended the night discussing the Castelli di Ama bottle they got from Tuscanny looking over the old stone houses near the port with a glimpse of even more hopeful days for Izmir.
I breathed the sea, the salt smell of the Aegean, and enjoyed pondering what other beautiful and unexpected wonders being home would bring to me in the future.
No space for hopelessness in this part of the world!

Take five. Saying goodbye over and over

We have intensive conversations with Dad on his interests and mine. Thankfully they mostly are the same! We discussed this book upon my return from Mongolia that I had for years; the Turkic speaking peoples, and on Dogan Kuban who is 88 but writing columns on variety of subjects still. And then Dad said goodbye and left until next time. And it is very difficult every single time.


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