Exactly two years ago, on this day, I took a bus leaving Olympos, and jumped on a dolmus for Selcuk, to meet a Turkish local that I had exchanged a few messages with via Reddit. Now I know what all of you guys are thinking... What the hell is a dolmus? See below.
The olden glory of thy selfie-stick. I was the only one in that dolmus, and the Turkish man was the nicest driver I met the entire trip.
It was in this time, I was a week into my first solo backpacking trip. By this time, I had couch-surfed with a Turkish local nicknamed Jesus (he looked like Jesus), crashed on a scooter, drove a jeep into a Turkish mountain village filled with goats, and lost my debit card. Also within this week, was the first time I had EVER GONE CLUBBING, I had become friends with and partied with literally EVERY local young person in Kas, and it was the first time in my life that a white-girl showed interest in a little ol' "azn-boi" like me. To top it off, I stayed in Olympos, a small hippie town along the coast of Turkey, and slept in an air-conditioned treehouse hostel, which was also a 2 minute walk from the Mediterranean waters.
HI-LIFE. The adrenaline was strong, and I never felt so alive.
And then I met Ozgur Varol, aka "kanguen."
Here's the truth. I only planned on staying 1 or 2 days in Selcuk, because hell-- I didn't know who this guy was, or what he was about. He messaged me on Reddit after I uploaded my travel itinerary in /r/Turkey for feedback, and he pretty much said, "Hey dude, I love Koreans, Let's hang out." I'm pretty sure that's how the conversation went, so no need to fact-check by asking him yourself.
But hell, Ozgur was literally the coolest guy and the biggest blessing of my trip. He gave me a tour of Ephesus, one of the early churches in the bible (think Ephesians), along with my Thai friends, Foamy and Atit (who I met up again with in my recent trip to Bangkok). And still remains to be one of the very few people that I still try to regularly keep in contact with thru my travels.
We went wine tasting
We made new friends together and drank at Alsancak in Izmir
I met his freaking sister and his sisters fiancé!
I ended up canceling my plans again, and spent the remainder of my entire trip hanging out with this guy.
At the end of the trip, I met his childhood best friends, and it literally felt like family. So much so that it was one of the most emotional goodbyes I ever had when they dropped me off at the bus-stop and sent me off back to Istanbul.
Anyways... Happy Birthday Ozgur. I really, really, fking miss you. And I haven't forgotten my promise to bring you out to Los Angeles one day. That trip to Turkey, literally changed my life, and you're such a huge part of who I am now, and who I want to become. I miss you man.