On Travel, Home, and Balance

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Personal, Turkey | 4 Comments

Istanbul home

Recently I was gushing to my friend Masha about how happy I was to be back in my apartment in Istanbul surrounded by my plants, and how thrilling it felt to fall back into my routine of work and coffee dates around Kadikoy.

“Weren’t you just complaining about being stuck in Istanbul?”

She was right. I spent most of March desperately looking up plane tickets out of the city, preferably to somewhere warmer. I sent screenshots of cheap flights to any friends who I thought would be spontaneous enough to join me. I almost went to Bulgaria for a day, by bus, just to be somewhere different.

These are the two sides I work hard to keep in balance. The adventurous fleet-footed traveler, who constantly craves new places and new people and new journeys, and the creature-of-habit homebody, who likes knowing the baristas of the coffee shops by name and cooking in her own kitchen.

Istanbul home

Mid-April to mid-May fed my adventurous soul, with a week-long hike along Turkey’s Lycian Way quickly followed by an intense two week trip in Tunisia. Now, back in Istanbul for the next month, I’m reveling in the return to routine. I can attend the intimate writing class I take in a Syrian cultural center, return to my weekly swing dance classes, go to yoga, sit in my favorite cafes with a cat in my lap and make small talk with the regulars.

Leaving Istanbul constantly lets me love it fully, because every trip away reminds me of all the special things in this city, and gives me a break from its madness. Even after 4+ years here, I still feel so struck by its magnificence sometimes. I take a ferry across to Europe and marvel at the vastness of the Bosphorus.

Istanbul home

And I celebrate everything small, from the mindless way I can navigate the familiar streets of my neighborhood to my minimal Turkish that nonetheless carries me throughout my day. I am constantly grateful that Istanbul– resplendent, wild Istanbul, the seat of empires, the center of the world– is my home. Traveling is wonderful, but coming home is pretty wonderful too. It’s all about keeping both in balance, like the most splendid of see-saws.

4 Comments

  1. Kareemah Ashiru
    May 23, 2017

    Oh don’t I know the feeling! This was how Madrid was like to me <3. Now I am struggling to re-adjust in the US. I shall find a replica of Madrid, soon :)

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      May 30, 2017

      Best of luck readjusting to the US! You will, just give yourself time. :-)

      Reply
  2. Bij
    June 17, 2017

    Your shots turn Istanbul even more nostalgic. Films go well with the traditional ways of the city; hard working people, lovers at first sight, greedy seagulls, professionally played tunes with Clarinet and colorful Sunday markets. Keep it up!

    Reply
    • Katrinka
      June 17, 2017

      You’re exactly right, canim. Thank you and I will :-D

      Reply

Leave a Reply