Sun chasing

When I set out on this grand adventure, I was adamant that I would not be sun chasing. I enjoy so much about the fall and winter seasons and am not all that interested in a perpetual summer.

However, there are many merits to constantly having good weather. The first of which is that you constantly have good weather. In all seriousness, good weather makes full time travel, and especially one-bagging, much easier.

Since arriving in Türkiye, the weather has maintained a mostly cheery disposition, while also steadily declining in both temperature and available sunlight hours. I’ve generally had great weather with the occasional shower or chilly morning.

My continued journey in the general southeastern direction has only helped this trend.

My departure date from Izmir was a gloomy and rainy day, but I wasn’t too put off by it, as I knew I’d be sitting on a bus for the bulk of the day. There’s something intrinsically introspective about watching the rain through a window and I found myself in deep reflection as the kilometers ticked by on my way to Fethiye.

The walk from the bus station to my accommodation was less than a kilometer. But with the rain pouring down, I arrived soaked, and in a quite dour mood, one that left me questioning why I was even coming to this place.

I awoke the next morning to the sound of birds chirping and the sun peering through my windows. While my spirits were mildly lifted, the questions still remained.

Maybe I’m just tired from the grind of it all. Constantly changing places, always awash in the sights and sounds of the unfamiliar. It all had me wanting to just crawl under the covers and disappear.

Knowing full well that fresh air and movement are always spirit raisers, I forced myself out to explore the town. And what a glorious port town it is. Its pier stretches several miles along the Aegean coast, lined with cafes and restaurants.

A few days into the stay, my friend Steph stopped through on her journey and we were able to grab breakfast. This was another mood lifter, and a reminder of all the good things that travel can bring.

The next day, with spirits high, I was finally excited to be on the move the again, heading to the small fishing village of Kas. While the distance from Fethiye to Kas is only about 120km, the winding coastal roads were slowing going and meant I arrived at the bus station well after dark. What I wasn’t expecting was for the station to be several kilometers outside of town on the side of a mountain.

With my bus experiences from Albania top of mind, I merely gave a laugh to the situation, knowing it will work itself out. Exiting the bus, I struck up a conversation with the other non-locals. Within minutes we were the only people at the station besides the bus driver, and it seemed like an hours walk down into town was our only option. We asked our driver if there were any other options and he pointed out a phone number that was apparently for the local taxis. Thankfully my SIM card included a phone number, so I was able to call us a cab. After arriving in town, we decided to grab dinner together before heading our respective ways.

The next morning I made my way to the first “third-wave” coffee shop I’ve seen in months, and it became my home over the next several days. Coupled with the sunshine that bathed the cafe patio in that magnificent Mediterranean light, and I was officially in love with the town.

That evening, I decided to watch sunset from an amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century BCE. As I made the climb up to the top, my eyes fell upon something familiar ... my wonderful friend Steph!

We had a good laugh about running into each other again, and the fact that we were staying in the same place. Having a friend to hang out with is always such a bonus. We made the best of it grabbing dinner one night and rocking up with the locals around a fire to drink beers on another.

After several relaxingly idyllic days in Kas, it was time to move on to Antalya, my final spot in Türkiye. Rather than taking a bus back to Fethiye to transfer, I decided to hop on a dolmus for the direct route.

Coming off the success of my room in Izmir with Ridvan and Ozan, I decided to try it again and was once again rewarded for the choice. My host, Zeynep and her six year old son, Ali, were simply the best. Her home was warm and cozy, and I felt right at home. Zeynep is a graphic designer, so we had lots in common and had a good time talking typefaces, color theory and design aesthetics.

She went above and beyond to make me feel like part of the house. Including me in dinner each night and making sure I knew I should make myself comfortable. She even invited me to coffee with her and her boyfriend, Mehmet, one afternoon. Mehmet is the owner of another third-wave, specialty coffee shop, so naturally he and I hit it off.

Much like in Kas, my mornings were spent in the cafe, reading and editing photos while enjoying my favorite coffee drink … single origin pour over. And just like my last couple of spots, my timing lined up with Steph and we were able to explore the city together for a couple of days.

While the gloomy weather did return in Antalya, my dour spirit did not. Time and time again, I am reminded that people are what enrich my life and enhance my experiences. From the kindness and hospitality of Zeynep and Ali, to happening into Steph multiple times, the south coast was the perfect place to spend my last days in Türkiye.