Unfinished

 Doğubeyazit to Istanbul, Turkey

Standing at the Esenler bus terminal in Istanbul after a 23-hour bus journey, I felt a sense of going full circle.

Istanbul is the endpoint I had in mind for this journey, a city straddling both Asia and Europe, and the Silk Road to its most logical conclusion. While finally reaching it is still an accomplishment I can be proud of, it felt a little anticlimatic, given that I skipped the rest of Turkey yet again and took a direct bus over. But four years ago, I found myself at this very station, taking a bus to whatever was available and feasible (which ended up being Macedonia and Kosovo) in a moment of grief for a friend lost days before our reunion and intended trip. But at the same time, I was confounded by this bus station, with destinations every which way — to Europe, but also eastwards towards Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and connections to other points further. I saw flags around that I didn’t recognise. It may seem tenuous as I didn’t visit any of those places save for Iran, but it really was that one glimmer of curiosity that planted the seeds for this Silk Road trip.

But anyways, where did I leave off? Right, Iran. After crossing into Turkey, I made a brief stop in Doğubeyazit, the town closest to the border.
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Wrong time

Istanbul, Turkey

I was supposed to travel through Turkey with Sally for two weeks.  When I received the bad news, I wanted to cancel my flight entirely.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible.  But with my Schengen zone allowance running out and Istanbul being a good hub city to go anywhere, I eventually decided to take the flight anyway and completely restructured the rest of my trip to re-allot the non-Schengen days I was to spend in Turkey to other countries I hadn’t planned on going to.

I think that Sally probably would’ve wanted me to continue travelling Turkey.  But I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it – and I think my short stay in Istanbul only confirmed that.  I did do some sight seeing, met some people, had a nice time…but the whole time, I couldn’t help thinking of who was missing.  One day, another year, I’ll come back and do Turkey some justice, see it with a better mindset. Continue reading