Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination

January 6, 2015
activities, turkey, vacation
Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination

My Semester at Sea roommate, Haneen, and I decided to take on Antalya, Turkey together. First and foremost, Antalya is one of the most intricately beautiful places I have been. Upon first glance, it is pretty, but not the “in your face” majesty of, say, les Calanques in the south of France. However, when you start to pay closer attention, you begin to realize that every little thing is beautiful in its own right. The composition of all of these things provides for a pretty wondrous place. If only our trip hadn’t involved getting lost!

Haneen and I had heard about the Duden Waterfalls through the grapevine of Semester at Sea students and decided to give it a go.

Unfortunately, if you do not speak Turkish, getting around in Turkey can be very (very) difficult. France? Many people will – begrudgingly – speak English. Spain? A little more manageable, especially for those of us Americans who took Spanish way back in high school. Turkey? Not so much.

Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination

Still, we wanted to see the Duden Waterfalls, so we wandered the pretty coastal town for a few hours trying to figure out which bus to take to get there. Finally, we found a nice man who was able to write down a message on our map for us to show to bus drivers. We did just that, seemed to find the correct bus, and were happily on our way.

Let me tell you, hanging out in the middle of nowhere in Turkey with two officials laughing into their phones and no buses in sight is a nerve-wracking situation to say the least.

Forty-five minutes later, we were among the last few on the bus. As I had previously read that the falls were a mere 10 miles north of Antalya, this did not seem right. I wasn’t too worried until 20 minutes after that, when Haneen and I were in fact the last people on the bus, and we were making stops on dirt roads in rural Turkey. We both became even more concerned when the bus stopped at a “depot” of sorts, and the bus driver ushered us off the bus and into a small portable building. Let me tell you, hanging out in the middle of nowhere in Turkey with two officials laughing into their phones and no buses in sight is a nerve-wracking situation to say the least.

We were escorted to a new bus 15 minutes later, and Haneen and I got on thinking we had nothing to lose at that point. This bus slowly became more populated with passengers, which was comforting. At long last, we made it to the waterfalls.

Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination

This has been a lot of build up to the moral of this story, so I’ll go ahead and make that point now. When you are abroad, plans most often do not unfold in the way you expected. Trains are missed, maps misinterpreted, and occasionally you get on the wrong bus. Even if you aren’t easily worried or the type who likes to strictly adhere to plans, traveling can be stressful. It can be difficult to fully appreciate your destination after spending two extra hours just trying to get there in one piece.

When Haneen and I finally made it to the Duden Waterfalls, our first instinct was to say, “Okay, let’s get this over with and go home already.” But I remember telling myself to let the stress of the journey fall away so that I could enjoy the waterfalls, which were truly beautiful.

Sometimes, actively enjoying your travels requires a bit of conscious effort. The idea of this is important to me because you never know if you’ll make it back to any given destination, especially if it was a pain to get there the first time.

It also turns out that the most hectic and uncontrollable adventures provide for some of the best travel stories you will ever have. By the way, the bus ride home from the waterfalls took about twenty minutes. Sigh.

Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination

Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination Related Reading

6 Off-the-Beaten-Path Waterfalls Around the World

Getting Lost and Learning to Appreciate the Final Destination photo credits Kathryn S.

About Kathryn Swynenberg

Kathryn SwynenbergI grew up in a small rural town in central Texas, and after high school did my freshman year of college in New York at Hofstra University. That is where I first heard about Semester at Sea. However, I transferred back to the University of Texas for the remainder of college and forgot about SAS for a time. I was reminded of it when I got a call from SAS to finish my almost complete application. One thing led to another and I was able to attend the Summer 2013 voyage. I started in London, and then visited several cities in Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Crete, France, Malta, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. It was quite the adventure. I returned home with an even bigger desire to constantly be traveling. Ever since then, it’s pretty much all I think about!

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