The plane takes off and the immense city of Istanbul slides underneath. The Pakistani man in the seat next to me points to the Suleyman Mosque and the Blue Mosque. They were the main reason for his visit to Istanbul, he says. Now he is flying back to England, where he has lived for 30 years now. I sit back in my seat and let myself be transported at a speed that is about 150 times faster than my walking speed.
All of a sudden I feel emotional. It’s something that I haven’t felt at all while in Istanbul. Staying there felt like waiting to leave, although I did go to see the sights, walked the old town and had a sunny day at a beach. Now the tears are streaming down my face. My Pakistani neighbour politely looks away. I have no idea where this emotional outburst comes from, so suddenly and overwhelmingly. It is not for joy, it is not for sorrow and it is also not for loneliness. It just is. Maybe that’s the secret. There doesn’t have to be a reason for emotions, maybe there is no rational for how and who we are. We just are.
(photo by Ara Güler)
Before I started this walk, I wrote the words: I walk, therefore I am.
Maybe at the end they should be reversed. I am, therefore I walk.