Arriving, Loving and Leaving


“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.”

Dalai Lama XIV

The autumn Istanbul sky is cloudy and sullen. Rain pelts the wall of windows in front of me. It is 5pm in early November and I am seated on the floor of Sabiha Gocken International airport. My legs stretch out in front of me and my back presses against the cool metal of the dividing wall. I have manged to find a bit of privacy where I can slowly sip my third coffee of the day and contemplate the last month of my life. The month I chose to come back to Turkey. Over the past six months, I have used up the entirety of my 90 day Turkish visa but managed to leave the country just before it expires. 

There are a few places in this world where I am scattered, where bits of my heart will remain forever, frozen in the moments when I fell deeply in love. Moments of eye contact, slow dances, new words of new languages, painful lessons, sunshine on bare skin, and the most cleansing kind of tears.  

Inevitably, I always chase after a challenge. I speak three languages and have familiarized myself with the cultures of many different countries. Turkish is not one of these languages, but of course it could be. Or I could go home, get a job, be near my family, and maybe feel less alone. But in this way, my spirit is stifled. I don’t need to travel fast or far or see famous sights or climb the highest mountains. I can find my adventure in other ways – in Friday mornings at the market, using the new words I have learned to buy the things I need to make new recipes with new friends in new and beautifully unique places.

The past month in Turkey has satiated my hunger for the unknown, for the small adventures that feed my soul and make me cry but also make me smile until my face hurts.

But I want more.

I am tired of arriving and loving and leaving. I want to arrive and love and love and love some more. I want to find a home in a place that challenges me every day, even if it is in the form of loneliness and boredom and alienation. I want to live and breathe in another language, in another religion, in a way of life that is not my own. I want to make it my own. I want the world to always be a place that I can learn from and adapt to, no matter the challenges that lie before me. I want to grow every single day and from the lessons I learn, I want to source a life that is full and shining and wonderfully messy.

So today I will fly. But I would like to believe that I may have planted some roots during my time in Turkey. I would like to believe that perhaps these roots just might give me enough reason to finally stay.

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