Since I began traveling along the Mediterranean coast in Turkey, I’ve noticed that much of the coast is densely populated with cities, roads, and hotels. It has not been as easy to find secluded natural spots, as it is, for example, in Greece.
The satellite photos on Google Maps and Park4Night led me to believe that the Marmaris peninsula would be a beautiful spot to camp, and it did not disappoint. Upon arriving, I stumbled upon a place I dubbed “dinosaur land” due to the dense, prehistoric-looking forest. The area offered a great combination of dirt roads and hiking trails, as well as an abundance of wild thyme to pick. It was an amazing place.
Rosinante and I were the only campers there, but I had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people. Being inspired by the Turkish hospitality, I began offering tea to anyone who passed by. Most people seemed to enjoy it and when they accepted the tea, I also offered them nuts and dried fruits. It was a simple yet beautiful way to connect with others. I had a lot of great and interesting conversations. With two Turkish guys I talked a lot about Turkey and music. One of them even taught me a finger roll technique and a new, easy oriental beat to play on my cajon.
There were many beautiful encounters in that “dinosaur land”, but one stood out as particularly special. One day, an older man came to the place where I was camping. He stopped his car, got out and sat down on a large stone a few meters away from Rosinante and me. I greeted him and he smiled back. I had learned that some older people don’t like or understand how to use Google Translate, so I simply made some tea and offered it to him along with some nuts and dried fruits. He smiled, touched his chest with one hand, and seemed to enjoy his tea. I don’t know if he was unable to speak, but he didn’t say a single word. He communicated through gestures, and I did the same. I sat down at a respectful distance, and we shared some quiet but equally beautiful moments together.
Months ago, while I was in Greece, I began listening to episodes of The Zen Studies Podcast. I recall that I had felt a pull towards Zen a couple of times in my life before, but I never delved deeper into it. However, while in Greece, that changed and I became increasingly interested in Zen practices such as meditation and study. I had been considering joining a Sangha (a group of Zen practitioners) for some time, and I began attending the meetings of Bright Way Zen. The meetings were beautiful, very honest, and authentic, so I continued to attend the Sunday meetings, which included meditation, a socializing round, and a Dharma talk, during which the Zen teacher would discuss a topic which would then be discussed in the group. Although I felt like my identification with Zen increased in a way, I enjoyed these inspiring meetings.
After some days in the “dinosaur land”, the military police came by and informed me that it was not allowed to camp in that spot in the forest. They were very friendly but declined my offer of tea and I did not argue with them. I had been living in my car for more than three years already, and this was the second time I was moved by the authorities.
I moved on towards the end of the peninsula and found some truly beautiful spots to stay, with wonderful hikes and interesting ancient sites to enjoy. My music production became increasingly intense, and I experienced a number of breakthroughs in my learning. Sometimes I spent twelve hours a day making music. First I kept loving it, but then it started to change.