800 kilometres on foot from Istanbul to Konya with Rumi
Many people I met were curious where I, on foot and by myself, was heading and why. For someone to walk from Istanbul to Konya is surprising and admiring. I tell them about my pilgrimage to Rumi’s tomb and as the conversation developed I reached out to them a handful of cards with quotes by Rumi – in both English and Turkish – and asked them to choose one. They were allowed to keep the chosen quote. Afterwards, I took a portrait photo with their card. With this photo I described the how and what of our encounter. I published it on Instagram. It allowed the portrayed people to see themselves, as well as each other.
I was looking for a way to document this walk and at the same time for a way to share my walk with the people along the route. A pilgrimage often appears to be about the spiritual path of the pilgrim and less about the encounter with the other or the land walked. That is what it was all about for me. The quotes I bring build a bridge between me and the people I meet. The quotes are carefully selected by me and by sharing them I take people along in the pilgrimage. Rumi is also familiar to many; often a beloved wise master. With our shared interest in Rumi, we already have something in common right away, which leads to conversation and connection. The texts bring a depth to the meeting.
I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think – Mevlana Rumi
Esref Erdoğan, walks into the tea house, where I are already was invited in by the Owner Hassan Hussein to have some tea. Esref (83) has been working in Amsterdam for 4 years in the past. But he lost all his Dutch language. But nevertheless wants to to talk with me, he has a little note book where he explains some things to me by writing some words or numbers. He was working at a sewing-atelier, with only ladies… or sewing only lady-clothes. Another little uncertainty is about the money. I assume he gets 106 euro as pension. I hope for him it is per month. He was interested to pick a card. He found it difficult to read it, bu maybe my handwriting didn’t help. After I did some shopping I saw he shared his card with fellow visitors of the tea house and he let me know it is a good quote from Rumi.
The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore – Mevlana Rumi
Veysi was picnicking with his family and his friends’ family. They are from Eskisehir, for me another 2 days walk. He teaches Turkish language, and we had a nice conversation in English. Together we searched for the word for red fruit, that the most of the times comes in pairs. I made the gesture that you can hang them on your ears and so we found the word. And we found out that we hang cherries in our ears in all cultures.
Veysi asked to sign and date his quote so het could save it for later. And I learned from him that is more common to speak about Mevlana as using the name Rumi as I do. Mevlana is more devine, so i will adapt to that.
Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about – Mevlana Rumi
Chan, coming from this region (Konya) wants to show Shams and Ayana the lions mountain. Where also is the Hacı Haydar Sultan tomb is located. We (Helene and I) stay in the visitor’s room annex refuge on top of that same mountain. There is not much opportunity to talk as they want to visit the peak and have to leave before it is too dark as Shams is nightblind. Actually Shams was born in the Netherlands. But we speak English so the two women could join the brief conversation. It was clear it that it was a special occasion to visit this place. Shams told us he started to travel again after 4 years and they where on their way to Izmir. Climbing this mountain was a nice thing itself, but he was also extra surprised to find us here. But in lack of time to get to know more about eachother he stated: it is as it is. When I unwillingly agreed (as a was really curious to get to know more about this three people) he added: life is full of surprises if you are open for it.
Chan, liked here quoted and opened up but when she had read it. Wanted to make a photo of the card before giving it back. En really liked it when I said it was a present.
Left: The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind – Mevlana Rumi
He is retired and has been working in germany for a long time. Now he is working in his garden over here. That is no problem, he has been working his whole life, so can’t hurt to continue working. After questioning me about my walk and the dangers: he concludes that I am not afraid of dogs, nor persons.
Right: It’s your road, and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. – Mevlana Rumi
His son did not like it in Germany and so he only lived there for one year and than choose to live his life in Turkey.
Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form – Mevlana Rumi
This man was cutting his olive trees when I passed by, he called me. He climbed out of the tree and invited me to sit with him. He opened a plastic bag. There was 1 apple, 1 pear and 2 oranges. He peeled the haf apple and the half pear and presented it to me. Then he also peeled one of the oranges and gave it as well to me. His half of this fruitmeal he saved for later, but in a special way we did share the meal togehter. He randomly picked this quote out of me set card.
As you start to walk out, on the way, the way appears – Mevlana Rumi
This lady in the town Küre was suggesting I should make a photo of here and all the other elderly women sitting next to each other eating ice creams. They we’re sitting in a row enjoying the last glimp of sun of the day in front of their elderly home. She thought I was German, because last week a german family has also been walking by. She choose this card, but it seemed to me she was not planning to start a walk.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there – Mevlana Rumi
Sağ yüksel visited as freelance photojournalist 90 countries of the world. He lives in Bruxelles, speaks Flemish, French, Turkish, German, Arabic, Spanish. He is in Emirdağ to visit some friends and now looking for a cheap ticket to Belgium again. He suggests we have a coffee, he suggested to bring me to a place where the have real Italian coffee and can make a perfect cappuccino. The he orders he precisely tells the owner how much milk should be used: and a nice cappuccino is served to us. He likes the project and as journalists he starts to question me; when the book will be finished? For the photo he poses as he is reading the card. We did a second time as he didn’t like the result. He choose his card randomly.
You have within you more love than you could ever understand – Mevlana Rumi
Lütfü, health care worker, picked me up on the road to Eskisehir. It was getting late and in the open fields I could not find not a good place to camp for the night. So I decided to stop a car. Actually this was the first one in a hour. He spend his sunday with his son and his friend on his land outside the city. The whole walking plan was a bit out of his scope. He stated the Turkish people even use the car to go to the toilet. But he was eagerly to help, so he dropped off his friend, later his son and drove me to the city center. And tried to arrange a cheap hotel for me by phoning a friend who spoke German. But that was getting too complex, so I suggested he just drops me here in center. That was a good solution so he also could get home in time. I choose this card for him: he was really delighted.
Your hart knows the way. Run in that direction. – Mevlana Rumi
Necdet Bulguren, Muhtar of Günüören Köyü, was working on his land and invited me to drink some water. I carry a pelgrimage passport which can be stamped by officials on the trail. Along the talk I found out he was the Muhtar, so I asked him to make a note in my Sufitrail passport. Which normally is stamped. But he was not having the stamp over here so singned it and added his phone number, so I reach him if I might needed any help along the way. It was a nice coincidence to meet him here, when I would tried to find him at his office I would have missed him and now we met. He choose blind this card out my set.