A bit of R&R before the final sprint

Kabak beach is in a beautiful valley in old Lycea. The Mediterranean is turquoise and warm, there’s beautiful waterfalls at hiking distance, and peak season is gone so there’s not too many tourists around. It’s a typical hippy paradise, and for now it’s been the perfect place to work.

Many people seem to get the impression that since we are travelling, we are on a holiday. Maybe it’s because we are enjoying what we do, maybe it’s the beautiful scenery, or the smiles on our faces while on the computer in the photos. If we didn’t work though, no-one would see any pictures, no-one would read any blogs, and no-one would know that we’re even on this journey, because none of it would exist.

We are not on this journey for our own pleasure. We are here because of us. Me, you, and Pyry all as a collective and that’s why we work so hard. We want to experience the best, and share it with you as well as we possibly can to inspire you to realise that all dreams are possible, and life can be lived with a smile no matter how difficult it might feel at times. The smile doesn’t always have to be on the face, but it should always be in the heart.

We’ve been working relentlessly for a year and a half now starting all the way in Finland building the foundation. The past 9 months have been on the road in ever changing situations and we never know what the day will bring. We’re continuously on our toes filming, writing, travelling, handling bureaucracy, insurances, compulsory company things, funding, finding places to sleep, cooking, relaxing, having fun etc. etc. etc.

I don’t even know what is work and what is free time anymore because it all bundles up together, and I’m quite sure that it’s like that for the majority of people in this world. What I do know, is that now is my time to have a long awaited holiday.

Two years ago my family and relatives planned a 2 week family get together in Portugal, and it starts in a few days on the 3rd of September. I’ve given up many things for this adventure, but this I will not give up. I finally get to see my son after spending nearly 6 months overtime on this homeward adventure of ours, and just that is worth the effort.

Pyry will head to Mersin to get the Tuk Tuk from the port, and I will head to Istanbul for my flight on Tuesday. I meet my wife and my son in Madrid, and drive to Portugal to see the rest of my family. After the two week holiday I will fly back to Istanbul and catch up with Pyry wherever he’s ended up for the final leg home.

It is impossible to describe in words how much this holiday means to me after all we’ve been through with Pyry. I get to hold my son, kiss my wife, hear my brother laugh, and enjoy quality wine with my parents and beloved relatives. This is going to be one of the best holidays of my life.

On the Brink of Insanity

Having spent days, even weeks, in the wonder of perfection, thinking can this be true, and spending nights in that haze between consciousness and unconsciousness staring forwards with eyes wide open hoping all of this to be true, I can feel myself falling ill.

Sometimes the figure of a woman would appear in front of me, sometimes a sense of fear would engulf it all, but I never quite know whether I’m dreaming a dream, or dreaming of reality.

This world of ours is gifted to give us such passion, such perfection, but can we allow ourselves to believe that such a blissful state exists? In this world where restrictions have become the norm, can we allow ourselves to be free?

That powerful grip that lays upon the throat of humanity is suffocating out the life, and everyone seems to be longing for that soft release that would allow even the slightest breath of air to roam free and give the body that newfound lust for life.

We are on the edge between heaven and hell, paradise and prison, because that powerful grip is keeping us breathless.

How long can we wait for it, that breath that in the end gives life?

I think soon we must be allowed to roam free once more, so that we may love each other into that blissful state of ecstasy once again.

We are on a bus going towards paradise, and I am on the verge of insanity because for some strange reason they won’t let me sleep.

I’ve been awake since eight this morning carrying around my whole world and falling ill. Our bus left twelve hours later and I was glad to have time to sleep.

I slept in the back only to be told I was not allowed to sleep. I asked if I am allowed to sleep on my chair, and I was denied that luxury as well. I slept under the chairs on the floor, only to climb up once again into that annoying state of awakeness.

Every time i doze off, the lights turn on, I get poked, or the bus stops, and I am continuously brought back from that sweet release of unconsciousness. The back seat is reserved for a bag, apparently, and it was my second try already.

Having my feet up is not allowed and a look of astonishment was given to me as if I had been horrible wrong somehow.

Juho is watching the Turkish super cup final along with the rest of the bus. Just as the final penalties are being taken, the driver turns off the power releasing a loud cry pleading to turn it back on. The referee has made the decision and it is final. This bus ride just gets weirder and weirder. Nobody knows how the game ended.

When the driver decides it is time to continue all I can do is feel myself falling deeper, staring at a screen with people projecting violence at each other in one way or another, all dubbed into Turkish. I am in a haze of fever.

It’s 2 am, and we have 8 hours to go until Paradise. Hopefully there I get my chance to breath.

Türkiçe Delight

Turkish Coffee

  1. Mix finely ground coffee with cold water. Must be cold water, not cool or tepid!
  2. Add sugar if you like.
  3. Stir ten (10) times every once in a while when bringing to the boil in a copper pan. (Do this quickly and don’t waste time!)
  4. Pour into a cup half way and boil it up again (to let coffee sink to bottom). Fill the cup.
  5. Enjoy with chocolate and backgammon

Pyry Kahvi Turkki

It was past midnight when we arrived to Gokhen-something airport, and neither of us had a clue where to go. Juho had managed to quickly write down half of an address and the fact that there’s a hostel somewhere near Taksim square, but no name was written. We were once again trusting our luck.

Tired and sore from the flight and hangry from the bad airport food, we nagged at each other while trying to think of some kind of plan. There was no free wi-fi in the airport and even the sim cards at the stalls we’re designed to rip off tourists. We were clearly closing on Europe.

We ended up sitting in the shuttle bus towards Taksim square depressed about wasting the little money we have and before we knew it a guy came to ask us if we were from India. It was a very strange question to which we answered, no we are from Finland.

We did mention we have recently been to India, and then we started talking. We asked for directions to the cheapest hostel in Istanbul and even before the bus had moved an inch we had been invited to stay the night with him at his fathers place. All problems solved and our smiles were returned.

We spent the night with the artists and learned honest first hand information about what it’s like to live in Turkey. Papa is originally from Italy, Mama is originally from Iran, but our new found friend was born half way here in Istanbul. They live on the European side, which meant we had made it to Europe!

Here east and west meet and they truly meet foodically. This place is packed with flavours from both sides and it doesn’t matter what we eat we are in tears every time.

Unfortunately we could only stay one night with our new artist friends so they helped us to get a local sim, which in the city was easy and same price for everyone, and told us about different possibilities. Once the words island and camping were mumbled, the plan was set, we were to return to Asia.

To save ourselves from peak tourist season prices we were off to the Princess islands with our hammocks and swimsuits to fully immerse ourselves into sea water after longing for it since christmas. We bought ourselves some bread, cheese, olives, luscious garlic meze stuff, nectarines, tomatoes and figs to eat, all the while sipping on a few local beers. There’s no better sound to fall asleep to than waves breaking on a cliff face 10 meters under our hammocks.

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We have morsed a cry for help into the digital world and it has been well heard. We now have many many contacts around Turkey for people who wish to host us to save money while we wait for our baby to sail into Mersin. We have 8 days to make our way there, and our route is directed by these good people who are willing to help.

Our bad start at the airport means there’s only one way for things to continue, and it’s all for the better. The people are great, everyplace is green and full of flowers, and I think we have hit paradise.

Touching Heaven

It’s finally time to say see you later to the beautiful land of Pakistan. Our tuk tuk is sailing towards Turkey, and we are once again forced to take on wings and fly. Our two week speed marathon through Pakistan turned out to be a month and a half of slowly immersing deeper into a world stigmatized by western media.

Day after day we were amazed by the hospitality and kindness of the Pakistani people, and spending that extra time allowed us to learn more about the true meanings behind the Islamic religion. Unlike what we both thought, true Muslims are peaceful, helpful, open, truthful and truly wonderful people. Of course there are bad seeds in every tree, but we did not run into a single one.

On the contrary we made connections to people of all ages that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We bonded with grandmothers, fathers, brothers and sisters as well as a few of the beggar children. Noticing we were to spend some time here, we extemporarily decided to take time for a holiday after nearly 1.5 years of working every single day towards this project.

Juho will soon be leaving for two weeks to spend a holiday with his family and relatives in Portugal, so he stayed in Karachi to do work. He is getting psyched because he has not had a chance to see his son for 7 months save the digital image through the magic of internet. I on the other hand took the chance last week to experience the awesomeness of the north of Pakistan.

I risked wasting my personal savings on a whim, and bought a ticket through the Independence day blockade of Islamabad (Izzy), though everyone advised me not to. I didn’t even know whether I was getting a visa extension or whether I was facing deportation, but I bought the ticket anyway because I trust my intuition and the power of my will. Everyone was sure I would get stuck in Izzy and spend my holiday there trying to get back out so I would reach Karachi before our flight to Turkey, but with luck everything went perfectly.

I flew into Izzy on the eve of Independence day (13th of August) and managed to book a ride from Rawalpindi (Pindi) to Gilgit with a car driven by Sheraz, a friend of a friend. Sheraz was to be in Pindi by the time I got there, but he could not get in due to the blockade, so plan B was in the making. Luckily in the dark of the night the road blocks opened up only to be shut again soon after. Sheraz managed to get in, but now we were in the car trying to get out of the twin cities at 2 am.

After being turned away from 2 roadblocks we met 3 other cars that were trying to get out. Luckily one of them knew a secret way through the small sandy roads of an ancient town that I do not remember the name of. As the sun started to rise, so did the mountains and our spirits. It was magic.

Not having slept a wink I wanted to doze off into dreamland, but the scenery was just too beautiful to allow my eyes any rest. Winding up the mountains for hours on end and swimming in a mountain lake, we made our way to the junction of the three big ones. This is where Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Himalya, three of the worlds largest mountain ranges start from spreading all the way to Afganistan, China and Nepal. We ventured past all the way to a dreamy place called Phandar valley.

We spent 2 days in Phandar swimming in the fresh mountain lake, eating apricots from the trees, fresh fish from the streams, and drinking local lassi made by the villagers. Never have I had such a beautiful view from the window of a toilet.

Despite peoples trepidation’s about our safety, we decided to head to a place called Fairy Meadows. Once again intuition and willpower paid off, because just the ride up was worth it let alone the view and atmosphere of the meadows. Fairy Meadows is situated at 3,300m looking up at the worlds ninth largest 8,126m giant called Nanga Parbat, the naked mountain. I was touching heaven.

Fairy Meadows hansta

Nothing I say will do justice to the place so I advise all of you to take the chance, take the perfect company, and go there to see it for yourself because it is simply amazing. After 2 days there it was a nice 22 hour bus ride back to Pindi for a quick flight to Karachi.

This was the perfect holiday with perfect people, and coming back to Karachi to meet up with all the other beautiful people made it even better.

Our time in Pakistan has been a gift to us as well as our project. To some of these uniquely awesome individuals we made truly deep connections that I am certain will last for a lifetime. You guys took us into your homes, helped us out in times of need, and we will do our best to help you guys visit us in Finland.

We know it is hard for you to get any sort of visas due to the stigmas nailed onto your country’s reputation, but we will do all we can because it would be a shame to let politics come in the way of such beautiful human connections.

Kielet ali

It really makes us sad to say see you later Pakistan, even though we still have a huge smile on our faces waiting for our next destination. We are now on our stop over at U.A.E waiting for our flight to Turkey.

I’m glad to see Juho again, and while Juho is psyched about seeing his son, I am psyched to see my baby at the port of Mersin to continue our awesome journey home.

Thank you to all, you guys are the best!

The Death of a Mentor

Mr. Robbin Williams, someone I have truly looked up to my whole life, died a few days back. He spent his whole life cheering people up, making people laugh and giving a smile to so many. He was one of the best there was, and I cry for his loss.

I wish that his intention lives on forever, and spreads out into the world. There are so many fighting for a happier world, but many who do so feel hopeless and lonely. I hope that from the loss of the greatest, we learn that no single man or woman should feel they are doing so alone, because we need each and every one.

We have come up with a new challenge, like these squat or hang for 30 min a day for 30 days. We challenge ourselves to smile for at least 30 minutes a day for the next 30 days. If 30 minutes is too much at first, confidence can be built up by starting from a few minutes at a time, and repeating it during the day until 30 minutes is reached.

Practice makes perfect, and seeing smiles around makes it easier, makes life easier, and makes people feel happier. We have the ability to nurture happiness back into the world, but because we only have one mouth, it is impossible to do alone. If you see someone smile, accept it, keep it, and duplicate it. Smiles don’t grow on trees, they grow on faces.

Let’s us smile together, even while crying, to keep alive one of the most gifted and magical of spirits.

Thank you Mr. Williams for being you, and sacrificing so much.

Rest in Peace my friend.

Balancing On a Tight Wire

Never in my life have we planned and prepared as well as for this project. When we left Finland in December we had all the visas and documents possible to obtain, and we knew where to get rest of them. After 6 months of setbacks it’s time to admit that not a single plan has worked out.

All our visas, all our permissions, everything has expired. Not only expired, but expired just before we could do our next move. Since the beginning we’ve been walking on a tight wire.

kettinkikävely

Last week started the latest roller coaster, and tomorrow will tell us where it leads.

You probably remember that our Iranian visas expired because we had to fix our tuk tuk in Karachi. Last week we tried to apply for new visas after finding out that flying the tuk tuk would cost 8,500€, just to find out that it takes 1 month to get them.

Frantically we tried to arrange ourselves shipping that was cheap enough for our budget, but nobody answered. This was disappointing because our Pakistan visas expire on Monday, which means tomorrow. Naturally we tried to extend our visas, but exit-visas cannot be extended. That was last Thursday. No way out, and no way of staying here. It was a blue moment.

We are in Karachi though, and here everything is possible. Before we could reach our ukuleles to mourn our destiny, we had a call from our host. He had arranged us a shipping company to ship our tuk tuk to Turkey ASAP and he had contacted his friends in high positions to help us with the visas.

Unfortunately his friends couldn’t help with the visas, but luckily the shipping worked, and it worked fast. Mr. Amin from Seagate logistics arranged us shipping on Friday, and got his staff to pick up our tuk tuk that same day, literally.

kiesi kyytiin

Saturday she went to port and is now awaiting for custom clearance. This will take some time which we don’t have.

So, whats the plan?

Tomorrow morning we will walk to immigration, tell them the situation and hope for the best. We’ve gotten this far with honesty, let’s see if it will work out again.

So what’s the Plan?

After the best two weeks I’ve had so far in my life, I’m waking up to a new world. The six hours of sleep I managed last night feels like a luxury, and after opening my eyes to that newly rising sun, I ask myself an elusive question that has become legendary here. What’s the Plan?

Nowhere in the world have I heard these words as often as I have in this crazy food loving country of Pakistanis. It’s as if every time the door opens, someone walks in to ask, so what’s the plan, and not once has it received an answer.

Life is bitter sweet without the answer, and as a true romantic it’s what gives my life a sense of adventure. Always a thousand plans but knowing that not a single one will go the way I think.

There is always something amongst these plans that shines through the fog like a lighthouse, pulsing itself and guiding the way. It cannot be seen with the minds eye, because it is not Einsteinian light. It is the light of intuition, and that can only be felt as it warms up the heart, usually through the stomach.

So, what’s the Plan?

The man of the house where we are staying at the moment knows that warm fuzzy feeling in the stomach. The food here has been absolutely spot on every single time, and it tickles from the first touch on the lips until morning.

While most of the world has alcohol for entertainment, the Pakistanis have their food. I think this is one of the many reasons that makes Pakistan a cornerstone for world food. Just like Thailand, every Pakistani knows about the ingredients, which tastes go with what, and how the ingredients should be prepared. But what makes this country different from Thailand, is that the food doesn’t stop coming, and it’s more of a desert taste. I should maybe say dessert taste instead, because even though the savoury dishes here can be mouthwatering, this is a country with the sweetest of sweets.

I’ve never been a fan of desserts in my life, but somehow I’ve ended up being lured into the magic of sweet things. Some are not so good, some are better than others, and some can turn your world upside down. I’ve learnt that in the midst of trying to make sense of the world through half open eyelids, a sugar rush is just what is needed.

And the choice is endless. You can imagine people since the dawn of time smoking up some of the worlds best hash and putting their heads together to make some sweet munchies. They have come up with everything, and imagination has definitely not been in their way.

There is one dessert which goes above all else on the creative munchies scale, The Falouda. This is a mix of many things and it differs from place to place, but usually it goes something like this. Holy basil seeds, fresh whole milk, caste sugar, cardamons, rose syrup, vanilla ice cream, toasted pistachios or almonds, rice vermicelli, and some sort of candy on top.

Most places that make these manage to get an unnatural sugary taste to it, at least for me, but looking at the list of ingredients I think it could be pimped up into something with the sweetest of nature that would even lure out my tongue.

For example the candy decor on top can swapped with rose pedals, the rose syrup could be made from scratch, or maybe there is a brand of syrup that has a more delicate taste so it doesn’t overpower everything else. Maybe even making some rose honey from that nectar of the mountains. And ice cream. Ice cream is something that can be ok, or it can be jumping up and down ecstatically delicious.

It’s all up to the chef and his/her so called plan. Take the easy way and the taste buds might thank you, but going with the flow, making an effort, and adding a little love into the mix at every stage can caress the ever changing balance of the taste buds into a near orgasmic state of dance.

So, what is the Plan?

We are romantics, so we always end up going with the flow, enjoying the company, and dreaming of those sweetest things in life. The days go on like this, morning ’til evening, socialising, eating, and falling in love.

Ramadan had an Eid of a finale and it’s time to go. We have one more week with our visa extensions and we need a way out. What’s the plan?