The Kickstarter campaign is over, but there were a few other testimonials I wanted to put out there…
From Turkayfe.org, a group based in Washington, DC, and Ankara, with the ambitious goal of branding Turkey…
“As an online community dedicated to supporting and sharing Turkish experience we feel Matt`s walk across Anatolia will reflect all dimensions of Turkish experience both familiar and novel. That why we support him.”
When they told me about their goal of branding Turkey, the phrase that kept coming to my mind was “herding cats.” It’s a great goal to set though, and I can’t wait to see how it pans out.
There’s this one other testimonial I wanted to show you, from Robert Lindsay, a friend of mine from high school at Mt. Whitney in Visalia, California (he now lives elsewhere)…
“It is refreshing to see someone reveling in the diversity that this hunk of rock has to offer. So many people close their minds to other ideas, cultures, and people, out of fear, insecurity, or stupidity. Which is spectacularly exhibited by the avalanche of campaign propaganda we are all being subjected to right now.
“Don’t get me wrong, it is great for people to have conviction in what they believe, but to label anyone with a different or contrary belief or conviction as wrong or bad and to act toward these contrarians violently is abhorrent.
“I’m not tying to get all “One Love” on you here, I am simply trying to state that there is a wonderfully dynamic diverse world that we live in and I applaud you and your celebration of it. I just wish more people would open their eyes and their minds.”
Robert refers to it as a rant, but when I read it, I thought, “Yeah, you say it brother, go go go!” Robert also referred to the walk as “kung fu-like,” in the walk-through-the-world sort of way. I loved reading his kung fu rant. 😉
Fiona, a student in Denise Water’s 4th grade class, asks, “What allowed you to be the needle in the haystack?”
By the way, Fiona is referring to a phrase I used in answering Alisa’s question.
Wow, talk about a brave question! Okay, I’ll try to give an equally brave answer…
I got divorced. I didn’t have any kids. I didn’t like my job.
I didn’t like the way my life was going.
I imagined my life 50 years from now, when I am on my deathbed. What would I want people to say? Would I want people to say, “This is a man who just tried to get by,” or would I want them to say, “This is a man who inspired people to be better”?
I would want the latter.
And I decided I would give it everything.
The window was open. I decided to jump through it. I didn’t know what would be required on the other side, but I decided that whatever was required, I would find a way to give it that.
That’s what allowed me to be a needle in this particular haystack.
Ellie, a follow up to your question about culture differences, and my response about kindness to strangers…
I am walking out of the city of Isparta this morning. A woman I passed on the street a few minutes ago went to the grocery store, bought some stuff, caught up to me, and tried to give some food to me.
I just ate a delicious breakfast. My clothes are clean. I am freshly showered and shaved. Nothing about me says, “I need help.”
However, she invited me for breakfast, then tried to give me a loaf of bread, and finally left when I accepted a package of marshmallow cookies from her grocery bag.
Strangers might be angels sent from God. You never know. Be safe, and be smart, and use common sense. But treat strangers well, because God might have sent them. You never know.
Ellie, a student in Denise Waters’ 4th grade class at Norman Rockwell Elementary, asks, “What are the culture differences?”
Ellie this is a broad question. Entire books have been written about this subject, so I will just deal with one small part of it: kindness to strangers.
When I walk up to a gas station and ask if I can camp on their lawn, they say, “Of course.” Not, “Our insurance won’t allow it,” or, “Let me check with the boss.” They say, “Of course.”
When I camp out in a mosque’s garden, people I don’t even know bring me huge platters of food, even if I tell them I’ve already eaten.
When I’m out walking and people drive by, they honk at me, just to see if I’m okay. If I pause on the side of the road to answer a phone call, truckers stop to ask me if I’m okay.
When I ask people why this kindness to strangers is so important, they often look at me as if I’m crazy for asking such an obvious question. “Because,” they say, “a stranger is a gift from God.”
Because we have a similar concept in the US, we think we understand it. “Oh yeah sure,” we say, “we have hospitality too. Maybe not like that, but we have it too.” But I don’t think we can understand just how important it is to these people unless we experience it first-hand.
I’m not saying everyone in Turkey is nice. There are bad people here, too, just like there are everywhere. But the culture places a huge premium on kindness to strangers.
Yesterday I mentioned I’d be having two meals. That didn’t happen — the entry into Isparta was a little sparse, restaurant-wise.
So dinner last night was a bag of chips (crisps, for my British readers), some chocolate chip cookies, and some peach juice. Breakfast this morning was marble cake.
The real meal had to wait for lunch. Here is taze fasulye (fresh green beans stewed with potatoes in a tomato-based broth), pilav (rice), cacik (cucumbers and mint in watered-down yogurt), coban salata (diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions), and bread.
I was so hungry I attacked the food and was almost half done before I remembered to take a photo. I ended up almost finishing that entire basket of bread, but I got called over for tea at another table.
…on why she backed the project:
“A two-week trip to Turkey left me absolutely in love – with the country, food, and of course the people – and already itching to go back again soon. After coming home, I struggled to explain to people just how special the trip had been, and how welcoming the people were. So when I stumbled upon Matt’s Kickstarter page I instantly related to his love of the country and ambitions for the trip. I’m happy to be supporting his journey, and the fantastic updates from the walk keep me inspired to plan my own return visit!”
Thank you Krista!
The project has been successfully funded on Kickstarter, but there’s no reason to stop now. Additional funding means books, postcards, or even broken champagne bottles for you, and perhaps a hot meal for me. So if you’ve enjoyed following the walk across Turkey so far, and want to get more out of it, check out the Kickstarter campaign. It closes Saturday afternoon USA time, and it won’t reopen.
Gialiana, a 4th grader in Denise Waters’ class at Norman Rockwell Elementary, asks, “Did you meet good people or bad people?”
Gialiana, I’ve met both. These are, after all, human beings, and there are some good ones and there are some bad ones. But I try to surround myself with as many good ones as I can.
How do I do that? By being good myself.
Last week I heard some wise words from a young man here in Turkey. He said some people are good all the time, and some people are bad all the time.
But most people are good or bad depending on their surroundings. If you are good, you will bring out the good in them. If you are bad, you will bring out the bad in them.
How can you show people you are good? It’s easy. Look them in the eye. Let them look you in the eye. Stand when they enter the room. Bow your head slightly when you shake their hand. Face them not just with your face, but with your shoulders. Smile. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
What I do
I do communications coaching at Krause English, helping people with their language and presentation skills. My clients get projects approved and investments placed.
I have spent most of my adult life abroad, with stints living and working in China and in Turkey.
I have extensive international trade and operations experience, including supply chain management, ecommerce sales and customer service, and business communications coaching.