When I woke up, this morning, I was still surrounded by the thrill. By a blast. Yesterday, a message told me one of my articles had been published by a huge newspaper.
In this atmosphere of joy. In full bewilderment, I got up. I walked to the kitchen and made my usual cup of coffee. The kids were still in bed, so the morning seemed peaceful to start working. In the pipeline, lots of projects: four trips on the way mean a lot of work. Prepare e-mails, draft posts, make reservations, contact people on-site, and so much more.
Before my second coffee, I turned on my computer, updated my website, and worked on code. After a while, I got a message from a friend, it just said “They won’t stop me” and there was a picture of the Blue Mosque on it. My blood went cold. My next stop is Istanbul.
My hands and my head could not interact. I was thinking of what to do next, but I just kept clicking on the wrong buttons. All right, I though, first things first, let’s check the news.
Blast in Central Istanbul
It was true. Several dead in blast in central Istanbul Sultanahmet district, read the BBC. I took my phone and started texting disconnected messages to my friends over there. My breath was heavy and my heart beats fast. Until I didn’t hear back from them I was frozen. I could do nothing. Just a quick update on my Facebook page with an angry revenge tone in it: The won’t stop me, I’m still going.
Finally friends got back to me saying they were safe. Sad, but safe.
I could breathe again. Yet, I started wondering. Won’t they stop me? I am mother. Won’t they stop me?
They won’t. Of course I am scared, but I am not paralyzed. Of course I will not board that plane in full peace of mind. But I never do it anyway.
Why won’t they stop me? I keep asking myself.
My phone doesn’t stop buzzing, some friends ask if I’m still at home, if I’m already in Turkey, if I’m mad. Are you finally changing plans?
I’m not. Am I mad?
I’m not. They are.
I don’t like travel quotes that much. I’ve always thought of them as a catchy thing to say when you have nothing better to say.
Still, I need the help of a particular one now. The one that says:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”
This one is by Mark Twain… Since I didn’t recall the whole of it, I went for it. To my surprise, I discovered it didn’t end there, it’s longer, and it reads:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
It was the answer to my questions. I cannot combat my fears by staying home. I need to get out, go there and come back. And once here, I must tell you all about it. I have to urge you to travel, to go, to move, to open, to see those charitable views of men and things.
My commitment is to bring the best out of Istanbul. Make this one of my best trips. Bring back the best pictures. Write the best stories. Share my finest memories.
I have to sell you the will to visit Turkey, the need of it. Because going there is the only way to show the World that we cannot defeat fear with more fear. I won’t say I am not afraid, but that doesn’t matter. I’m going to Istanbul.
I’m going all the same.