My 2014 in review…

10524734_10203352609635063_5604326074011555205_n<>The selfie of the year. On bombed parliament’s roof in Sokhumi, Abkhazia.

Even my horoscope was telling me that 2014 will be different. It was. It was not easy, very messy, but definitely interesting year. Here some of highlights of the year.

<>The country of year- Georgia, because I discovered it again and it’s in my three top countries list now. And also, because it has Abkhazia.

<>The internship-  I did internship in Youth-Agenda association in Turkey. It was great experience, because it let me step back(and it’s very good step back) to my old life road of being active in NGOs and various projects.

<>The most surprising role - I was working as an English teacher for beginners and I loved it! I had wonderful students that I am missing a lot now. I was enjoying every lesson and it was great feeling to share my knowledge.  Continue reading

My wanderlust in 2014

Somehow I was feeling like I was not travelling enough last year. But reality is different. Most of the time I was exploring something great.

On January I was already in Turkey. I was continue to explore my favorite city- Istanbul. Getting lost, discovering new places  and tasting new tastes. 1507635_10202174393620399_15685403_n On February I hit the road. From Istanbul I traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia. I used many different means of transport- plane, trains, buses and of course- cars I stopped by hitchhiking. This trip that i called “Along the Karadenis coast to Kavkaz”  was really wonderful. I met great people,  I had many adventures and most important I overcame my fear to travel and  hitchhike in Turkey alone. I visited great cities, like Kastamonu, Samsun, Trabzon, Ayder, Borçka, Batumi… 1653802_10202426553204231_82232451_n 1969177_10202432437551336_1791500865_n Continue reading

And when I’m at war with myself … I just ride.

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“I was in the winter of my life…” L.D.R

Last year I experienced the state of confusion where I was not sure what I am doing. These thoughts made me so anxious. I was trying to understand why do I feel like a total mess. Feeling confused and ensure. I was lost in my own personal thoughts.

This feeling of confusion was created in my mind because of conflicting ideas. I was not sure about my next step. There existed so many doubts about my actions. Self-confidence, that my life is in my hands, was lost somewhere. I even didn’t notice how did it happen. I started to feel, like my actions lost sense and meaning, and I am just acting some different roles that I have chosen unconsciously. Continue reading

Thumb up in Cyprus

IMG_9614After I’d left Ercan airport, I started to feel confused of trying to understand which road leads to Nicosia (Lefkoşa). I was not even sure how to cross a road. It took few minutes for me to realize that in this island exist left-right traffic  and I was on the wrong road. How did I miss it while reading wikipedia, I do not know!  After I found the way I was searching for, car stopped immediately  without even stopping it. Old man in the car was asking me where I am heading to. He was from Ankara, but at that time he was visiting Cyprus, because in past, he lived and worked many years here in Turkish military base.

Sometimes I feel really stupid that my Turkish language knowledge is improving in baby-steps, but when I am travelling, people are really appreciating that I know at least some Turkish. It helps me to communicate with them and also… it makes me feel safer while I am travelling.  I can explain myself better and show my nice personality to people.

Continue reading

Cyprus: an island divided by the past

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Cyprus island has really confusing history and still its status is very complicated. It’s even visible: architecture in every town is so different, because this island was ruled by so many different empires.  And of course, today nation of Cyprus is not one type.

Island’s lands are divided between Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and… British. Britain has two military bases which are officially its sovereign lands. Today, no one really has problems with British guys, but if we start to talk about Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, here we come to big troubles. They kinda… highly dislike each other. Especially, after 1974 when Turkish army entered the island and “took care” of  Northern part to ensure Turkish Cypriot independence from Greeks. Many people had to leave homes in both sides and move to ensure safety. And still, Northern part is official part of whole Cyprus, but it calls itself independent Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus. This “Cyprus issue” is one of the reasons which stops Turkey from becoming a part of EU. Also it creates problems for Greek part to get more advantages of EU membership (still not Shengen).

Both nations really dislike each other. From Turkish side, they more hate Greek government, than population. Greek Cypriots also hates Turkish government (they directly talks about Ankara), but also have many prejudices about Turks and Cypriot Turks in personal. I found them very Islamaphobic. They believe, that religion differences make Turks very aggressive and undeveloped.

Greeks blame Turks for not taking care of their churches in Northern part. It’s partly true, because most of the churches are or abandoned, or transformed to mosques. It’s really easy to do: just add a minaret on church and here you already have- Muslim praying house. Meanwhile in Greek side, mosques are not destroyed, but renovated, even there are almost no Muslims.

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People can freely travel to both sides, but different rules, different laws are making it too much complicated. Differences are obvious. Northern Cyprus is not as developed as Greek side. Good infrastructure and international companies can be found just in South part. Also, in North part it’s cheaper to shop (they are using Turkish lira), but in South part  it becomes more expensive (euros).

In North part main economy is …tourism. Not just simple tourism, but mostly- casino tourism. Maybe you know that in Turkey gambling is illegal, so people are travelling to Cyprus to have some fun. Its like a Las Vegas for them (as Batumi in Georgia, next to the border of Turkey).

I thought, maybe my time in Cyprus will let me to conclude about “Cyprus issue” and who’s fault it is. Finally, I guess, that …both sides are fault about current situation…and they will never be together. I don’t know how it was before separation, but now exist big cultural and development differences. So, it would be better to let Northern Cyprus to become an independent state, and 50 years old conflict would be over.

P.S. About Abkhazia I was thinking similar- Just let them to be, they can not join back Georgia. Too many shits are already done. I guess, that’s my usual opinion about this kind of issues “Just let them to be as they want”.  https://scontent-b-mxp.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/v/t1.0-9/p480x480/10292468_10204226384478888_7987230281239361096_n.jpg?oh=e6038c26a2c7f10ad163bf4bf5ad2565&oe=55142572https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/p480x480/10277354_10204207422284845_4602202569204980158_n.jpg?oh=812271a544f0fd70e83b38503af79314&oe=551D3BB1&__gda__=1427315210_fbbf6ab1fdde706680d1eb76e71bce3e

Escape from autumn: the island of Cyprus

I see a sky closer than usually. Clouds are behind me, a map on my knees and the backpack next to me. In one hour I will land in unknown lands that I will try to discover. I am ready to hit the road. To find new things, to experience stories and to calm down my traveler’s soul. It’s time. It’s getting to hard to stay in one place.

My travels start from a moment I buy tickets. I start to imagine and plan future trip and it makes me really exited and happy. At some moment, I understood – autumn is killing me. I bought tickets and since that moment, problem was solved. Travelling heals me. It makes me to feel alive and … happier. Continue reading

Things to do in Istanbul #2 (Balık Ekmek, Çamlıca, Bosphorus, Bazaar, Football)

5. Try the  BALIK EKMEK in EMINÖNÜ

Eminönü is the place where you can experience a spirit of Istanbul. Just sit down next to Galata bridge and watch how people are going in and out of the spice market, getting on or off from the ferry, walking towards the mosque, eating, playing, talking and enjoying life. For centuries fishermen were bringing their catch from the Bosphorus and the Marmara sea over the Golden Horn for sale. No doubts, fish is super fresh here. Years ago, few boatmen had an idea: cook the fish right on the boat and sell it for hungry people. Today you can not miss colorful boats and smell an aroma of fresh frying fish. If your nose and eyes still can trick you, you will hear people shouting “Balık Ekmek! Balık Ekmek!”. It’s very simple street food. Fried fish in a bread.

It’s kinda weird to buy sandwiches from boats bobbing in the water, but also it feels old-fashioned and romantic. Eat this sandwich with a drink called şalgam (pickle juice with some pickled vegetables). It’s sour, salty and perfectly fits with Balık ekmek. Best place to eat it, next to big stairs. There are many places to sit and enjoy the view of Galata Tower. Continue reading

Things to do in Istanbul #1 (Ferry, Sultanahmet, Hamam, Tramway)

  1. TAKE A FERRY BOAT.

If it is your first time visitng Istanbul, don’t miss opportunity to enjoy very daily activity of local Istanbul citizen- crossing from European side to Asian side by ferry. It fascinates me somehow in very childish way. It’s really entertaining! I always feel a risk to fall down to Bosforus water while I am stepping into a boat. Mostly because I am lacking balance and also there are no safety fences or something to protect people from accidents. Also, it’s great to have a cup of tea or glass of french orange juice, meantime enjoying beautiful view of two continent’s coasts. If you are eating simit (circular bread with sesame seeds), don’t be greedy and share it with seagulls (aka sea beggars). They are always following ferry boats… Maybe that’s why Istanbul’s seagulls are so fat. Continue reading

An Ode to Travel

Last days I spent with my very good friend Rita. We are meeting once or twice a year, somewhere in the world. Between these meetings we are not so much keeping in touch, but it’s not a problem to be friends. We are both these kind of people who are connected by stories and adventures which we experienced together while travelling. We cannot stop being friends, because we know too much about each other :) . We are meeting each other to create more stories together or to plan future destinations we dream to visit.

We are vagabonds. We don’t have settled home, but in many places we are feeling kinda like home. We are wondering around without job, but with big passion to experience more. To travel further, to be exited more and to discover unknown places.

We are sharing passion for having a life of travel. Continue reading