“The moment’s one of a kind, 39ft above the ground, smack right in the middle of the sky, there’s a picture so perfect that it breaks your heart, in a good way. Seeing the twilight blue horizons blazing in the background, disappearing into a sky full of stars, shining like the perfect little trinkets and watching a sunrise appear on the opposite end is truly magical. All I can say is, they were all right when they said, “when opposites meet, sparks fly.”

For a while now, I’ve felt the need to run far away and never return, an urgency to just drop everything to find myself, find who I am… or who I thought I used to be. Whatever version comes along first, one that I can embrace, love and rationalize. This urge to escape is so strong sometimes, that it almost breaks my heart, making me drift away from my perspective, my goals and my life. Everything just seems to pass, silently, slipping away in the sands of time and what went around never does come back around.

And all those meaningful questions drifted away as I found myself in a different city. How one can have moments of exhilaration and exhaustion at the same time was baffling and 4 days later, I found some perspective, a light at the end of the tunnel, one might say. I travelled all the way to another continent and still found moments of pain, moments of hurt and most of all, I still felt lost in myself. And then my mind did that thing that it does very often; it started putting together more sentences to explain this ‘phenomenon’. Certainly, I let it.

Whilst used as synonyms, travelling and escaping are two different things. When you travel, you hope to find others, when you escape, you hope to find yourself. That’s when I realized, I’ve been looking at it all wrong, I’m trying to getaway and it isn’t working. Being lost in a different country is almost definitely better; it’s still numbing and comes with all sorts of emptiness. Breathing a different air is like a bandage on a bullet hole, it can stop the bleeding, but it will never stop the pain. So here’s the thing, let these inhibitions go and just feel. If it’s sadness, if it’s beauty, if it’s just the sense of numbness, or a stitch of pain, just feel, take it all in, let the emotions enclose you in the infinity of whatever it is you need to become.

Why? Because being stuck in your ways, in your feelings, will never allow you to let go and live a life that’s meant to bring you peace, contentment and happiness. Expanding ones threshold to pain and pleasure is the only way to get through life and to know that not everything gets better, sometimes, you learn to live with that sinking ache that lets its presence known when you least expect it.

And I let that be, at least when I travelled. I let myself cry at beauty and laugh at history, I let myself feel a million things at once and for a few hours, nothing at all. At the end of the day, it was okay and I was okay. I didn’t find my way back to myself, but I found something else and I held on to it. I found the significance of the people in my life, the right kind, ones you can tell everything and anything and not be overwhelmed with guilt and embarrassment. They kept me grounded, kept me going, and I know there will be times, when this won’t be enough. But as long as I have someone to confide in, someone to pick me up, all my pieces will be found, one way or another. If you’re reading this and yearning for an escape, take note, “Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you’ve been all along.”

The Blue Mosque
The blue mosque on the inside
The sea near Eyup
View from the Konak Galata Cafe

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The bosphorus bridge

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Heena Mak

I believe in changing mindsets, changing the world, not with the power of a sword, but with the power of a word...

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