A new year, a new adventure, and a suicide bomber (part one of two)

Oregon – January 2015

While packing for an upcoming journey to Istanbul, I saw the horrific news of a suicide bombing in the neighborhood I was about to travel to, retired my favorite shirt and backpack, and wrote this journal entry.

I hadn’t planned to write anything new for a while, but as I was up at 1:00 AM waiting for my laundry to dry before I pack, I realized the next day would be a pretty big one. I would fly to Turkey the next day to start the second half of a two-year journey, with some new gear, new perspectives, and new goals for my new adventure. I didn’t set any new year’s resolutions as I was enjoying life immensely, flaws included, and 2015 probably couldn’t beat 2014 anyways. In 2014, I ran a charity, wrote a weekly column for a newspaper, finished a master’s degree, went to the World Cup, and volunteered while exploring South America for six months. But… I had a couple new goals for 2015.

As I was packing I saw the news that a suicide bomber had struck the police station near the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the place I would by hanging out in 24 hours. I had assumed that staying away from failed states would keep me away from these types of things, but there is inherent danger everywhere. Case in point: two people died (bomber included) in the horrific bombing, while two were murdered that same day in Chicago. The difference is that a terrorist attack in Istanbul is considered extremely rare and horrific, while two people being murdered in Chicago is considered Saturday. This, when people tell me I’m crazy or reckless, is the thought going through my smug mind. Regardless of danger and perceived cultural differences, being situationally aware and treating people well wards off evil.

I tried to forget the terrorist attack and focus on the rush of moving across the world to live out of a backpack. It mostly worked.

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