How I became an accidental migrant
It all started when...
... the January weather in Essex was driving me over the edge. I had a friend with an apartment in Turkey and it seemed like a great idea to escape for a week. Without any research whatsoever, a case full of inappropriate clothes and no idea how to say please or thank-you, we left a snowy England for an adventure in the sun...
Arriving in Bodrum, it blew my mind. It was definitely sunny, but not hot. The light was incredible, the silence except for the tinkling of the masts in the marina, the smell of wood smoke in the air...
The absence of Tescos, McDonalds, Starbucks... Another world. Magic.
I have no photos of this visit - they've become lost in the many moves since. But the images remain firmly in mind. The impressions were so strong that I turned my Essex life upside down, determined to get back and explore more.
Looking back at that time, I must have rattled all who knew me. I'd taken complete leave of my senses - the mid-life crisis and all that. I don't know what it was. It wasn't one thing in particular. But after finding and buying a small flat whilst floundering my way through negotiations and cultural faux pas, I learned this was not an unusual phenomenon for visitors to Bodrum.
It's now proclaimed loud and clear on a big blue billboard upon entering the town by the Fisherman of Halicarnassus:
"Topping the hill at Yokuşbaşi, you'll see Bodrum;
Do not ever think you will return as you came,
The ones before you were the same;
They all left with their minds in Bodrum"
(Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçli)
Although the town has grown and changed with the economics of the last 10 years, I hope you can get an essence of what I, and others before me, fell in love with. And if you manage not to let the fear-mongering put you off a visit, you will find that magic is still to be found ...