I’ve been dreaming of going on a trip abroad for a long time. And recently I had the opportunity to fulfill this dream. I flew to Turkey to backpack along the famous Lycian Trail, which runs along the Mediterranean coast, covering the most beautiful Turkish mountain ranges and ancient monuments of ancient settlements.
Being away from home, without Internet and mobile communication, in a foreign country, among people I did not know until then, overcoming kilometer after kilometer with a backpack on my shoulders, you think about your life and its values. And you know what conclusion I came to? You can be happy anywhere! The main thing is to be, and to want to be.
One of the first exciting moments that you feel in a hike is getting to know the group, because you have to spend the next 10 days with these people and your impressions of the trip largely depends on them. And we had a really great group! Interesting instructors, funny hitchhikers, Hobbitochok, a Moscow gas supplier, an experienced tourist, newlyweds, and of course, me. Spending day after day with them, I was happy. After all, we immediately became friends and became one team that went forward for impressions, day after day discovering new and interesting places.
Happiness is felt practically at every step of the hike. You are walking, climbing up somewhere, with an unusually heavy backpack on your back, stones under your feet, sometimes you cling to thorny branches of bushes, the hot Turkish sun is scorching your face. You would think what good and pleasant is there? You want to throw it all away, fall on the ground, sink your eyes into the blue boundless sky, breathe the fresh air filled with pine scents. But you stubbornly go on, because you know that the difficult section as a result is rewarded with something special and impressive.
With each meter of ascent upward, the most beautiful panoramas opened up before us. From behind some of the mountains, others appeared on the horizon, filling all the space where the human eye could reach. Sometimes, between the tops of the mountains one could see the blue of the sea, which merged inconspicuously with the sky in the misty haze. The green coniferous forests gave way to stone placers overgrown with green curly mosses as the altitude increased. It seemed that while your attention was distracted by the mountain peaks, you stepped into another dimension, into some fabulous forest, where magical creatures live and watch you with interest from behind the stones.
And almost just before the summit, when the forest is left behind, you emerge onto a small plain, surrounded on all sides by fancifully shaped rocks and lonely trees between them, as if you were on another planet. As you look around, you catch yourself frozen in place with your eyes wide open in admiration. Why do people fly into space, looking for other planets? All the beautiful and at the same time unusual you can see on our Earth, you just have to want. We don’t even want to leave this place. But Olympus is calling us, and it promises to bring you even more. But there’s not much more. And I’m just so happy to be here.
Oh, yes, about happiness. It lies in the fact that you feel, see, taste life, understand its value. You want to go further and further, discovering new horizons, finding the strength for another crossing. After all, the emotions from what you saw during the hike cannot be evaluated tangibly, they cannot even be fully conveyed in words or pictures. Everything that you saw, felt, remembered is yours, no one else has. And no matter how much you share your joy with others, it doesn’t diminish.
I also like the food when I’m hiking. It seems trivial and simple, but it is not. Here it is soaked in the purest mountain wild air, filled with the energy of nature, because it is cooked with water from the mountain rivers. And cooked on the fire, under the watchful eye of twenty hungry people, it becomes even more tasty and useful. And it is absorbed better, if after dinner to sit in a circle with a cup of tea and talk about funny stories from life, travel, interesting books, and everything, everything for which in everyday life there is not enough time.
And then, a little tired, but extremely satisfied with today’s day, you go to your tent, wrap up in your own sleeping bag, and fall asleep with a relaxed smile on your face in anticipation of another wonderful day. Ah, how wonderful to fall asleep and wake up in different places every day in a hike! When you set up your tent in the evening, you’re not only looking for a comfortable place to spend the night, but also a place from which in the morning you’ll have a great view of this wonderful world. So that when you look at it with sleepy eyes you want to jump up quickly, put on your backpack and go further, to meet the sun, beautiful scenery and new experiences.
A special twist and a considerable bonus to the mood of the Lycian Trail hike are all sorts of goodies that can be found almost all along the trail. There’s nothing we didn’t try! Figs, grapes, nuts, apples, peaches, blackberries, lots and lots of pomegranates, even palm dates! Only pity that the citrus fruits were not ripe yet, so only on the last day, literally a couple of hours before departure, we had the opportunity to enjoy the orange flavor by chance. We also ate cactus fruit! Delicious, sweet, a bit like pumpkin. What can’t be said for olives. Never eat fresh olives off the tree!
And so it is every day – you walk along the path, climb up, then go down; you are constantly chewing something – figs, pomegranates, apples; your eyes are scattered by the beauty that surrounds you, that you do not know which way to point your camera; and the saturation of colors of nature impresses so much that, even closing your eyes, you see the bright inviting colors of the sky, forest and sea. And you know, you don’t get bored. You want to go ahead, to step over the horizon, to see the unseen until now. Because every new day gives something new and unforgettable. My diary entries began with the words “Today was a beautiful day”, “Today is an even better day”, “This day is the most wonderful” and the like. It is impossible to compare them, they are unrepeatable. When you realize this, you try to remember everything you see and make the most of this day. It’s a pity that in everyday life you sometimes forget about it…
And I can not keep silent without mentioning the Mediterranean Sea. The last days of the trip we walked along the coast, slept on the beaches, in cozy wild coves, which spoiled us with warm and clear water of rich turquoise color, gentle sunshine and fabulous scenery that surrounded us. You come here, take off your backpack, go into the water – and enjoy not only this moment, but the whole life, thanking fate for such a wonderful gift, a wonderful holiday in a beautiful and friendly country, for the pleasant company with which you spent these days, for the feeling of joy and happiness from being here and now, in this charming place.
I am sure I will come back to Turkey again. After all, we are not the ones who conquer the countries, the peaks, the distances. They are us. Once and for all.