The word flux implies constant change, but also continuity and flow. To me it’s a great way to describe life. Traditions from Buddhist meditation to Greek Stoicism teach the importance of understanding this fact, because our attachment to impermanent phenomenons, objects and realtionships is a great cause of misery. But mastering this is one of the great challenges we face as humans.
Back to Paradise
Picture a green valley surrounded by dense pine forests. The Mediterranean shines in the distance, overlooked by a dramatic, 2000m high mountain range. Beautiful orange and white limestone faces and caves provide a world-class playground for climbers.
A few campsites are nested in pomegranate orchards, hosting gregarious communities of vagabonds from all over the world. An abundance of colorful baskets of fresh, local produce triggers the senses every Sunday at the farmer’s market. Paradise.
A New Home
This is already my third visit to Geyikbayiri, but I have slowly learned to take my memories of such beautiful places with a pinch of salt. My selective memory has long erased any trace of less pleasant experiences. And things change in paradise.
This year the campsite I usually stay at moved to another nearby location. Many stunning places around the world attract more and more tourists or locals, and inevitably development follows more or less chaotically. But this time I was in for a good surprise.
The campsite moved to another pomegranate orchard, but near a yoga retreat center with plenty of space among the terrasses. And the view on the mountains is as good as it gets. Old and new friends quickly formed a vibrant community. The paradise wasn’t lost after all.
The Big Yellow Excavator
But nothing lasts forever. The atmosphere of the group had its ups and downs. And then invariably people leave. But change came even more brutally one morning, without warning. A big, noisy and smelly yellow excavator.
Apparently the owner of the land wanted to build an eco-friendly house for somewhat obscure reasons. His idea was to simply show up early one morning with a big excavator, blast a road through the orchard, move our tent aside and cause mayhem.
Standing among the shattered trees I was everything but happy. Why not give us at least a warning? What a *******! Why carelessly destroy so much life! And the disinterested attitude of the camping manager was almost worse. I kept cursing silently.
Intensity of Life
And then it hit me. I once more got lost in my attachment. Things change, always, and rarely how we want it. I once met a French Ayuverda practitioner who had studied for 7 years in India. Faced with many crazy situations, he developed the habit of simply folding his hands and saying “you are my teacher”.
People often ask me how I cope with the ever-changing world of a nomad. My adventure companions come and go, sometimes after a day, sometimes after a few months. Places you go back to are transformed within a few years by mass tourism or greedy real estate projects. I too pondered repeatedly over this question.
I ended up rationalizing it with the intensity of life itself. Spending every day for a month with someone, sharing a 3 square meter tent and many deep experiences is akin to months or even years of evenings and weekends of a sedentary lifestyle. The best and worst aspects of your personality are quickly revealed.
In the end, we all face the same challenges. Living a more “normal” life, working 9 to 5, having family is not different. Things break, relationships falter, old friends leave, new ones enter our lives. The only real difference is the speed at which this happens. But we all have to learn how to cope with this constant change if we want to achieve true happiness.
On The Road Again
I’m writing these lines on my last morning in Geyikbayiri. It’s time to move on once more. To say goodbye. Some friends I will see again in a few weeks. Some maybe never. Life goes on.
As I gather my belongings, a new group of young Swedish climbers arrive. Their enthusiasm is intoxicating. The golden rays of the morning sun warm the pomegranate trees. Everywhere branches are covered in young green leaves. Spring has arrived.
I am grateful. For the great company, friendship and love. For the incredibly generous nature filling my plate every day. For all that I have learned in the last 5 weeks. For simply being alive.