Travel writing is a dream job, they say

I bet. It’s no job for me, but I’ll settle for the dream.

Old pictures lying dormant in my camera. Like skeletons in a closet, but friendly skeletons. I was a technological Indiana Jones digging them up. Did the whole thing– removed the SD card, wrapped it in an alcohol wipe and inserted the clothed memory chip into the laptop’s slot to remove dirt, restarted…what a process.

Luckily, I don’t take many pictures, so there was little to sort through.

Here we go.

Cats in Turkey

Cats are unique. Around the world, they seem to appear out of nowhere and make homes for themselves in people territory. They just show up. They can get food on their own, they clean themselves, and somehow they know where they ought to relieve themselves. So, millions say, let them be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese two cats were born during the night in Kerpe, Turkey, in the summer of 2015. The mother cat, her name sounded like the word “chancellor”, but with an accent that made the “or” more like an “ah”. She gave birth to this litter of kittens (3 total, the token black one not pictured) overnight. Interestingly, there was someone sleeping on mama’s couch spot that night, who woke up to slimy newborns on his gut.

According to Jeff Katz over at thenest.com, groups of newborns kittens can be, or have been previously, referred to as “kindles”, “clowders”, “broods”, and “intrigues”. Intriguing indeed.

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For good measure, here’s a photo of Yoda, the father of the aforementioned chowder. No, autocorrect, “clowder“.

Where is Epictetus? 

Sometimes things align. At one point in time, finding myself in the southwest of Turkey, and finding myself casually wikipedia’ing one of my favorite philosophers, Epictetus, I had quite the egads moment. Why, the birthplace of this pillar of stoicism was just around the corner! The giant, giant corner of ~302,000 sq mile Turkey!

I had to go.

Pamukkale. Geographical origin of Epictetus, the stoic Buddha (Βούδας, I suppose).

I set forth eagerly. Not just for philosophic pilgrimage, but because Pamukkale also happened to contain hot springs and a dazzling geography of snowlike travertine.

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Where is my awakening?

I arrived in Pamukkale and headed to the hot springs. The site with the hot springs and rocky white walls was expectedly touristic. No problem, the air-cooled gift shop and iced coffee was convenient.

I took a dip in the hot springs, which was awkwardly warm and gooey during that summer day. But the sight was beautiful, and I had good company. Things were off to a fine start.

Now, all I needed to do was locate some pendant or plaque of Epictetus in the gift shop and claim it. I’ll be honest– I buy too much crap when traveling. But when it really means something to me, there’s less regret involved. This purchase would be justified. This purchase had intellectual merit.

Unfortunately, when I walked into the gift shop searching for Epictetus, I found only disappointment there to greet me. Disappointment in the form of a small and oblivious collection of philosopher bobbleheads: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.

Where was Epictetus? I journeyed through ancient ruins to visit his birthplace!

There was nothing? Only the names of more famous, marketable philosophers, who may have never even stepped foot in Pamukkale…

They did him wrong.

And that’s how this story ends. With disappointment and sadness.

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“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” – Epictetus

 

Or does it?

 

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