When I die and venture to the world above (or beneath), I want to be remembered as the crazy one, who did things no one else would do.
My gravestone will take up more than one plot, to list everything I accomplish in life.
I do not want to be that boring old fart who works 9 to 5 and then succumbs to the grim reaper the day after I retire. I want to live my life now and stick two fingers up at normality.
So, I was envious and intrigued to read the story of a man who is doing just that.
Who is Matt Krause?
Matt Krause is from California, He has lived in Istanbul as an expat, and is a published author, having penned the book called A Tight Wide-open Space: Finding love in a Muslim land.
That is an accomplishment within itself however; his next adventure is really going to define his determination and strength of character.
On September 1, 2012, Matt will begin a 8-month walk across Turkey.
He will start on the Aegean coast in Kusadasi and walk from west to east, finishing in Van, near the border with Iran.
In total he will walk 1305 miles (2100 kilometers).
I will admit, that my first reaction to his plan was WTF!
I thought he had lost his marbles, but once I read more, I realized he was doing something extraordinary with his life. He is putting into action, plans that I have only dreamed about.
Along the way, he wants to seek out locals and share their story with the world. He wants everyone to know about the people of Turkey, their culture, their traditions and their lives.
He wants to join families for dinner, sleep on peoples’ living room floors, attend weddings, entertain classrooms of children, and take advantage of any other social opportunities that arise.
He wants to introduce this amazing country to people around the world, and that means sharing his experiences in a unique way.
The walk starts at Kusadasi, on Turkey’s Aegean coast. It heads east to Konya, drops southeast to Adana near the Mediterranean Sea, then heads east again to Sanliurfa. From Sanliurfa the route continues east-northeast to Diyarbakir and Van, and then ends at the border east of Van.
He will walk through valleys, up mountains, across plateaus and along coastlines. He will walk through cities of well over a million people, followed by sparsely-populated areas where he may not see a village for days.
And for the detail-loving folk amongst us, he has broken down the trip into smaller increments in this spreadsheet
As much as I admired his plan, I was still intrigued as to the reason why, so I pestered Matt to answer one question.
Matt – In the current times, we have fast cars and planes that take us hundreds of miles in an hour. Why are you walking across Turkey?
Matt – The answer is simple – To put my life where my mouth is.
In 2003 I met a woman on an airplane to Hong Kong. We dated and then moved to her hometown of Istanbul, where we got married. We lived in Turkey for 6 years, but in 2009 things unraveled and I came back home to the US.
When I came back to the US, people kept asking me about the differences I had seen in Turkey. Political differences, religious differences, cultural differences, gender differences, just about every kind of difference you could think of.
However, I really wanted to tell them about how people are just the same. Living in Turkey had reminded me of this but human nature forces us to focus on the differences. It makes us more afraid of each other than we need to be.
I do not want to talk about this theory and not back it up with proof. If the similarities are so profound, I should be able to walk, alone and unprotected, across the country. Then, at the end of the trip, I will write four books detailing my journey across Turkey.
So the next question Matt, is how can we help you?
I invite your readers to join me anywhere along the route. The walk will start in Kusadasi on the morning of Saturday, 1 September. I will be a little nervous, probably asking myself, “oh my god, what have I committed myself to?” so, I welcome company to help the walk get off to a good start.
If you cannot make it to the start, please join me anywhere along the route. Walk with me for 30 minutes, or walk with me for a month. You do not need to tell me beforehand that you are coming. Just keep an eye out for the guy with a backpack.
Can you help fund Matts trip?
I am sure you agree that this trip is amazing and Matt needs financial. support which is being collected via Kickstarter. You can invest in his project with any amount of $1 to $2000. If you know of a Turkish business, who wants to give something back, this is the perfect opportunity.
At the time of publishing, he has raised $1,810 toward his target goal of $3,900. Everyone who backs him will get something for their money.
Also please share this post with all your friends. Americans, British, Turkish, it does not matter. Lets help support Matt and wish him all the best for September the 1st.
The Countdown has began! Matt arrived in Istanbul last night
Find out more about Matt and sign up for weekly updates from the road, on his website called the Heathen Pilgram
Readers Question : What do you think to Matts plan? Can you give him any words of support?