Turkey…Settling In or Not?

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For six years I have been on the road circling the globe in search of what, I ask myself.  Have I really been searching for something, someplace or have I just been wandering for the sake of wandering.  This is the question most of my friends ask me…why are you doing this, how can you do this, what is the end game. And these are all valid questions that I don’t have a ready answer for.  When I started out I just wanted to find a new, different, interesting, low cost place to live. I was going to be a typical expat…find the perfect place, settle down, duplicate some form of my previous life and that would be that.

However, It was not in my makeup to settle in one place…I wanted more.  Of course, I could not and can not define what the more is…more different, more exotic, more perfect, more of the world…”more” is one of those ephemeral notions so hard to define.  So I started to wander from one expat haven to another…Ecuador, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Sri Lanka…with many stops in between. Always looking for “the perfect spot”

Turkey…settling in.

Harbor at Antalya, Turkey

When I left Myanmar in the spring I headed to southern Turkey…Fethiye…to live on the coast and experience living by the sea. It is quite a lovely little town with a scenic harbor set in a sheltering bay and I thought this could be it “the place”.  This could be a place to settle in for a while make some new friends, get a nice apartment and build a life. It is an easy life here by the sea and surrounded by the Taurus mountains. The highest peak in the region is 3016 m and when I arrived  at the end of February the mountains were still snowcapped while the lower elevations were filled with roses, orange blossoms and  spring blooms . All around the skirts of these mountains valley’s, deep clefts and canyons hollowed out by rivers flowing to the sea line the coast. Some of the most beautiful of these valleys, such as Butterfly Valley, are only accessible by the sea.

Turkey…settling in.

Turkish women selling produce in the Fethiye market

In between the mountains, sea and valleys you have small fertile plains where Turkish farmers grow every fruit and vegetable imaginable….except celery.  For some reason it is not part of the turkish diet and I have looked high and low at the markets but there is no celery to be found, The farmers markets are a delight to shop in. For the most part we shop with the growing seasons except for tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers which are staples of the Turkish diet and are grown under glass during the cold months.  Turkey because of its mild climate and almost constant sunshine is the major supplier of tomatoes to Europe and Russia. Along the highways in the south you will often see greenhouses for miles all filled with perfect tomatoes waiting to be harvested and shipped. Aside from the variety and superb quality of the produce I am bowled over by the low prices…huge cauliflower or broccolis for 2.50 or 3.00 TL (.080 or 1.00 $), tomatoes 1.5 TL per kilo (0.50 $), oranges for juice 1TL for a kilo (0.35 $) I go to the market and buy 3 kilo of orange every week so I have fresh juice every day and plenty of tomatoes and lettuce for big salads…always a treat.  I never know what will be this weeks “in season” produce…strawberries, , peaches, blackberries, apricots, figs but I can’t wait to find out and give each one a try.

Turkey…settling in.

The seafood market in Fethiiye, Turkey

You see examples of history all around the city and up in the hills. The city was first known as Telmessos and was founded in the 5th century BC and was an important city in Lycia. It went through a series of rulers through the centuries …Ancient Creek, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans…all leaving behind remnants of their culture…tombs, amphitheaters, temples and long forgotten cities. It is easy just walking down the street to run into an example…the Tomb of Amyntas carved from the stone face of the hill above the city, a 13th century fortress built on the foundations of the acropolis of Temessos by the Knights of St. John or a Lycian tomb in the middle of a paved road. Everywhere you go in Turkey you are presented with evidence of the Ancient Civilizations that evolved and melded together to form modern day Turkey.

Many evenings I head down into Fethiye from my apartment in the hills, on the edge of the forest overlooking the town, to sit by the sea and have a drink with friends while watching the sun set and think about is this “the place” for me to settle in. One realizes, unless they are in total denial, that there is no one perfect place…the weather is either too hot or too cold, it is too dry or too wet, the town is too small or too large, bad food and or a dearth of culture…and so it is that one can find a never-ending list of what is wrong with what started out to be “the perfect place”.

Turkey…settling in.

Young Kurdish footballers who wanted me to take their foto.

I also know this about myself…settling in is not the same as settling down and no matter how much I think that this is “the place” the open road calls to me. But I do have high hopes for 2017 as the year I find a place that suits almost all my needs.  Wish me luck…but don’t hold your breath.

Turkey…settling in.

Happy rug merchants in Kas, Turkey after making a sale.

Since writing this the political climate of Turkey has changed and a general feeling of unease is palpable.

About Larry Bosco

In 2010 I had one of those “Is this all there is” moments and so in January 2011 I retired from Real Estate Appraising, sold off all my worldly goods and headed out as a solo traveler in search of a new place to live. Since then I’ve traveled around the world, made new friends and had many great adventures and some not so great. After staying almost a year in Cuenca, Ecuador I have headed back to South East Asia where I began the journey in 2011. Currently I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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16 Responses to Turkey…Settling In or Not?

  1. David Donaldson says:

    Larry: Louis and I loved Fethiye, and I recall that there is ( or at least was) a substantial English community already established in the area, so language is probably not a huge barrier. (Turkish itself is nearly impossible to learn) I watched a film the other day called Winters Tale, that was in Turkish with English sub-titles and I simply can’t imagine mastering it. I remember a place just above the town that served “typical English breakfasts with sausages, eggs, and of course stewed tomatoes.
    So… it sounds as if Fethiye might become home for at least a while? Louis and I rented a car for the week and I realize how useful it is to have your own transportation. The areas outside of town are just spectacular, as are the towns along the coast. I have written this before, but have you ever gotten to Yeddi- Barunular (not quite sure of the spelling) but that remarkable hotel high on the cliff above butterfly valley. It is definitely a place that I would go back to.
    Louis is now partnered , and he just moved in with Stuart. . Of course Louis and I are still the best of friends, -partnered or not-so I see both of them quite often. If you actually manage to establish roots in Turkey, perhaps all three of us can all come and visit.
    I will be going to Baltimore at Christmas time and staying with Maggie. She seems much happier having left Cuenca. She is planning a four or maybe five weeks trip to Europe this Fall.
    Anyway, delighted that you found a place to settle—at least for a while.
    David

    • Larry Bosco says:

      David, Good to hear from you and glad all is well. Give Louis and Maggie my best will you. Turkey will be a short lived stay I fear as the political climate of the country is getting pretty grim. But there are always new place to try and cultures to explore. All the best, Larry

  2. Frank Perrone says:

    Hi Larry, Good to hear from you. You’ve certainly visited and lived in some beautiful places. My travel comfort tolerance is way too low to move around like you. I guess I’m not the adventure seeking type. I’m sure your travels are giving you many life enriching experiences though that you can’t get any other way. I guess discovering one’s self would be one of the best assets, huh?
    Take care and be safe. Frank

  3. Claudia Hammer says:

    You are a wanderer, wether it is jobs, people or places. I guess your hobby is wandering. Turkey does sound nice except for the current political climate.
    I am working on paintings to put into a “New Members” show at Pyro. I will email a picture of my latest painting. Been busy with teaching and painting. Cooking dinner for Marie this Saturday and we will both talk about our projects and goals. We do this about once a month and take turns on dinner. She has a good idea for a children’s book about louisville and wants me to illustrate the book but with my commitment to Pyro, teaching, and doing some daily paintings (to generate quick income?), I don’t see how I can fit it into my schedule. It would require at least 18 spreads.

    I love seeing pictures and reading about what you are doing. I would say, if you are happy wandering and exploring new and old places, go for it. As long as you can fit it into your budget, why not! It is your life, your adventure, live it large!!
    Claudia

  4. Stefanie says:

    Really nice story Larry. I wish I had come for a visit before you take off. Unfortunately, Turkey is not the place to go right now. Hopefully will see you sometime soon… somewhere…
    Stef

  5. LindaRose says:

    Love the fotos of the kids wanting their foto taken and the carpet salesmen…..you are a rolling stone…..

  6. We are in Kona now for my 70th birthday. We also now have settled into a home (frank Lloyd Wright style) and finally feel like oregon is home. Hawaii still has the allure to us only on the big island but we are not ready to make this permanent. Would be interested in what you find about the recent events in Ankara and Istanbul concerning the crack-down on anyone in opposition to Erdowan. Sounds a little scary to be in turkey right now but we enjoyed it several years ago. Stay safe and enjoy your travels. We do appreciate your blog!

  7. Levi Lemberger says:

    I must say you are an excellent travel writer. I am also on the road for 6 years. I never try to setlle in for more than a few months. I salute you and see you along the way

  8. Robert Weston says:

    Hi Larry,

    Maggie is an old friend of 45 years, from London. She’s sent us your blog as we know Turkey very well, driven and sailed all over it and have good Turkish friends in Istanbul. My wife, Georgina will be going back near Fethiye soon to her annual yoga camp week.

    We love traveling, although we’re still working 24/7 as Designers.
    Our favourite places are Transylvania, Albania, Sri Lanka and Syria before the war. We don’t worry about troubles – just go and experience everything first hand! Our next adventure is a rather tame Gulet trip on the Adriatic to Monte Negro.

    We were in Sri Lanka 2 days after the Tsunami and had 2 further trips helping a school’s children get back on their feet, as most of their fathers had been killed. We raised several thousand pounds to put them all through their education.

    5 years ago, we were the last London flight out to Syria, when the Foreign office said no more travel, and we’d had to do some talking to get my US sister in law to join us – she suggested some place safer like Barcelona, but ‘I said I’ve already been’! We were there 10 days and saw the last of the old Syria, traveling the length and breadth of the country with our 2 drivers. But we were all so incredibly glad we did see it before it was ravaged!
    By the end of the stay we were going through road blocks of bulldozed earth on the highways, tank emplacements and the posters of Assad beaming down at his people in his suit and tie had been replaced by him in army fatigues, cap and dark glasses! Wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but after Viet Nam, I’m a fatalist and believe when your time is up it doesn’t matter where you are!!

    Good luck with your wonderings – there is NO perfect place, they’re all perfect for a while but travel and exploration is the perfect place… to have new learning experiences and to broaden the mind so one doesn’t become xenophobic!!

    Kind regards,
    Robert & Georgina

    • Larry Bosco says:

      Robert & Georgina, I am envious of your trip to Syria. I was scheduled to go there 5 years ago when the troubles broke out and I canceled my trip..a cruel twist of fate. I have spent 3 months in Sri Lanka and enjoyed it a great deal. I would go back except there are so many places I have still not been to that are still on the list. I’m going to Budapest this fall to check it out…although I have been there several times before I have not been with the idea of living there so this time will be more of a in depth look at the city. Thank you for writing and I hope to meet up with you on the road one day. Regards,

  9. Susan Birkenshaw says:

    Larry – here’s irony – you and I met in Cuenca and now I am looking at a photo of my favourite Carpet Guys! Michael and I have collected many of these beautiful carpets over our travels and now you are showing me a photo of the men who happily sold me the most vibrant one that we own – it is on the floor in our living room! In Cuenca!

    This is what travel is all about – no borders on adventure and small world stories!

    • Larry Bosco says:

      Susan I remember you and Michael quite well from Cuenca…we were introduced by Jeanne Roberts who I think I will be seeing in Thailand this winter. I would tell you that we are down to two degrees of separation. That rug was bought by two friends of mine that were visiting me from Cuenca…you would like them I am sure. I fear that you will soon be some of the few people left in Cuenca from my time there. Hope all is well with you.

  10. Geoff says:

    Hi there Larry- we met at the Mulberry Tree last week and it was great to talk to you- especially the adventure you are on. You are doing what very few are able/willing to undertake! I just wish we had longer to talk as I am sure we would have put the world to rights! As a resident here, your description of Turkey and Fethiye was was spot on.

    I will keep checking in from time to time to see how you are getting on and of course reading your on-going adventure story.

    Bon voyage,
    Geoff

    P.S. Good luck with the celery hunt…

    • Larry Bosco says:

      Geoff, I will be here till the 13th of Sept. if you wish to meet at Mulberry Tree one day for breakfast or lunch. You can get in touch through my email or a facebook message Thanks for getting in touch.

  11. Julie Wright says:

    How interesting to read all these comments and to realise how different people are.

    Before I set off my 13 month Round the World trip .. on 8K…that’s very little money but makes you be creative…anyway before I set off a neighbour of mine remarked….

    “I would rather go to prison for a year than wander the world alone with a rucksack”

    She is 3 years younger than me…

    I heard recently she is living in a nursing home!

    Grab it all while you can Larry and keep moving on.

    See you on the road soon I hope.

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