I generally try pretty hard to be respectful and patient when someone says something that sets me off. But sometimes that’s too tall an order and I say exactly what I think.

Below is one of those cases. It was an email I received this week:

Dear Matt,

I’m from Turkey (and I am a Turk). Just how safe do you think you will be doing this “walk” across the southern half of the country? To remind you of a few dangers that come to mind: terror in that region of the country; potential people who dislike Americans; potential people who are very suspicious of westerners for being religious missionaries (many foreigners are murdered in this country on that suspicion, especially in that region), and simply criminals. You might be confusing that region of Turkey with Istanbul.

Again, you claim you will walk only 4 hours a day and then spend the rest of your day with locals you will run into in rural Anatolia. Again you might confuse rural Anatolia with Istanbul where there’s population everywhere. You will walk across areas where towns will be far away from each other and you will run into nothing after walking 4 hours a day.

Signed, XYZ

…and my response:

Dear XYZ,

Your fear reminds me why I am doing this walk. Thanks for voicing your concerns, I will take them under advisement.

Best regards,


Sometimes I run into people who think foreign countries are something to be afraid of. I understand that sentiment, even if I usually disagree with it. However, when someone represents his own country as something to be afraid of, I start to run out of patience.