There are two ways to get from A to B; first, there’s the direct method – and then there’s the indirect method. As a former parachute soldier I remember being told that ‘our method’ of going into battle was the most direct way to insert troops onto the battlefield (or the ‘Battlespace’ in modern jargon); I also remember that, although it was all very exciting at 19 years of age, it was actually a really crap way to see the countryside or smell the roses along the way!
Take it from me, indirect is the way to go whenever you can.
This idea of going from A to B off the beaten track, away from the motorways that pass for normal, average roads in modern Turkey, is rather dear to me – J and I do it a lot.
I actually have an embryonic project to produce a book called ‘The Back Roads of SW Turkey’ in collaboration with a certain Professor of Shadow Puppetry and her artist husband. What J and I are discovering as we try to map out and describe some these routes is that country roads are fast becoming a thing of the past! Where once leafy lanes led through valleys and narrow roads twisted their way up and over mountains, today they are replaced by four-lane motorways that carve through valleys and mountains!
I understand that Turkey is rocketing into the future; but I can’t hide a certain disappointment and nostalgia for that which is being lost so quickly. I’m beginning to wonder if it might not be better to put the routes out individually, as a pdf, and encourage people to use them now, rather than produce a book that is out of date before it hits the stalls! On the other hand, I don’t want to let go of the dream, either. The answer might lie in a book that covers a wider area than just the SW of the country.
Part of the dream is to have people explore away from the main roads, to discover what J and I have found by being reckless enough to follow a dirt road that must go somewhere! People, real people! Real villages and scenery to die for – it’s out there folks. To quote a certain TV series that I love – ‘To boldly go – to seek out new civilisations and new life-forms . .’
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü