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Fuel

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

This was a solo walk, but there were hundreds of people along the way who helped me, and their combined efforts and support were greater than the work I, just one person, put into it in order to get it done.

No list of people who helped me will ever be complete, but here is a partial one I whipped up yesterday morning:

Alper Rozanes (İstanbul)
Alperşan Atalay (Osmaniye)
Aly Neel (İstanbul)
Asım Dilek (Tatvan)
Aydın Bırık (İstanbul)
Bade Turgut (Tarsus)
Dilan Eraslan (Silvan)
Dilek Fidanoğlu (Tarsus)
Donna Johnson (Tarsus)
Elif Başak Kürkçü (Tarsus)
Emin Okutan (Ankara)
Emine Yüksel (Adana)
Enes Çelik (Aydin)
Eren Çardak (Çardak)
Gülden Eraslan (Silvan)
Hakan Torun (Maraş)
Hoca (Değirmendere)
Hülya Özonen Akgül (Diyarbakır)
Hüseyin Küçüksoykök (Horsunlu)
İlgi Çelik (Osmaniye)
İslam Buğdaycı (Silvan)
Joy Anna Crow (Ankara)
Kelly Hevel (İstanbul)
Lara Apa (Tarsus)
Melanie Mehrer (İstanbul)
Melih Mutluay (Mersin)
Mesut Akgül (Diyarbakır)
Mustafa Ehlasoğlu (Şanlıurfa)
Mustafa Pehlivan (Gaziantep)
Necdet Özer (Horsunlu)
Necmettin Kan (Şanlıurfa)
Neslişah Özdemir (Denizli)
Osman Kaya (İsparta)
Oya Zaimoğlu (Tarsus)
Özgür Aksöğüt (Çardak)
Pınar Seydim (Tarsus)
Sadık Hakan Güriş (İstanbul)
Salih Kapağan (Van)
Sara Ra (Gaziantep)
Stacey Brown (Tarsus)
Thomas Gazzoni (Gaziantep)
Tolga Yanaşık (İstanbul)
Tuba Erayman (İstanbul)
Ümit Aracı (Denizli)
Veli Deniz (Tatvan)
Yonca Akbayrak (İstanbul)
Zerya Alan (Mersin)

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Riding the bus to the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

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Breaking a bottle – Mom and Dad

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Mom and Dad, I had to drop a rock on this one, too…

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Breaking a bottle for Frank Kleist

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

This bottle broke on the first try…

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Breaking a bottle for Christian Stracke

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

A couple kilometers from the Turkey-Iran border, I broke three bottles on the road. This first one didn’t break easily, so I had to throw a rock on it…

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Gül, me, and Salih

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Gül, me, and Salih by mattkrause1969

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Barbecue and volleyball at Lake Van

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Barbecue and volleyball at Lake Van by mattkrause1969

Sunday Salih and Gül and I joined some of Salih’s students and fellow teachers for a barbecue on Lake Van. The teacher crouching in the front row is wet because moments before he had jumped into the lake to retrieve a stray volleyball.

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Burku, me, and Merve

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Burku, me, and Merve by mattkrause1969

Salih holds a weekly reading session with some of his students on Sunday mornings. They get together and read silently for an hour, just to get in the habit of reading regularly every day.

After the reading session two of Salih’s students were adamant about showing me around Van, so we toured around and saw some stuff, much of it closed, since our timing was bad (we were touring around on a Sunday morning).

We might not have been able to see much, but we sure did eat a lot of junk food. We had ice cream, and then a few minutes later fısıtklı burma (ground up pistachios, sugar, and honey, folded up into a roll) and fısıtıklı baklava (Merve likes pistachios, and she did the ordering, so there was no shortage of pistachio on our table). The shop was owned by Merve’s father.

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Me and Hasan Yıldırım at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Me and Hasan Yıldırım at the border by mattkrause1969

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Alper, Yonca, me, and Tolga at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Alper, Yonca, me, and Tolga at the border by mattkrause1969

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Group photo at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Group photo at the border by mattkrause1969

Kneeling: Vahap, Salih, Hasan, Diego.

Standing: Ulrike, Alper, Donna, Gerdi, Joy, Matt, Tolga, Yonca.

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Me and Joy touch the fence at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Me and Joy touch the fence at the border by mattkrause1969

Joy joined me for the first day of the walk way back in September, a day of the walk about halfway across the country, and for the final day too. Here we are touching the fence at the Turkey-Iran border.

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Touching the fence at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Touching the fence at the border by mattkrause1969

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Diego, Vahap, and Salih, and Joy and Ulrike

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Diego, Vahap, and Salih, and Joy and Ulrike by mattkrause1969

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Walking to the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Walking to the border by mattkrause1969

Foreground, left to right: Yonca, Donna, Tolga, Alper, Hasan, Gerdi.

Background: Diego, Vahap, and Ulrike.

Hidden or barely visible: Salih, Joy.

Working the camera: me

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Gerdi and I collect broken glass at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Gerdi and I collect broken glass at the border by mattkrause1969

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Writing a name on a bottle

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Writing a name on a bottle by mattkrause1969

I was going to break three champagne bottles on the road at the end of the walk, but there was no champagne available, at least not conveniently.

So I broke three bottles of apple-flavored sparkling soda water instead. Sometimes the bottles would not break, no matter how hard I threw them at the ground, so at the left you’ll see a rock on the ground. Hasan got me that rock so I could drop it on the bottles that would not break.

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This walk was for Pryor Gibson

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

This walk was for Pryor Gibson by mattkrause1969

Pryor is the son of my good friends in Seattle, George and Napua Gibson.

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Saturday’s early birds have a group breakfast

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Saturday's early birds have a group breakfast by mattkrause1969

"Van kahvaltısı" (Van breakfast) is famous around Turkey. So when in Van, have breakfast. And have breakfast we did. Oh, what an orgy of food it was! We ordered enough for "two people," and six of us barely ate half of it.

Fortunately, Yonca suggested we pack it up and take it on the road with us, so we were eating breakfast all day!

Clockwise from left: Tolga, Yonca, Alper, Salih, Donna, and me.

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Article in Saturday’s Posta newspaper

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Posta is one of Turkey’s national newspapers. Some people look down their noses at it, since it is chock full of photos of half-naked women. In Turkey, though, a newspaper chock full of photos of half-naked women doesn’t mean it’s a Posta, it just means it’s a newspaper.

Anyway, press coverage is press coverage, and I’ll take it where I can get it…

Article in Posta

Article in Posta

Article in Posta

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Today is for Mom and Dad

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Mom and Dad by mattkrause1969

Friday, 5 April, the last full day of the walk, was for my mom and dad.

Without them I would be unable to do pretty much anything in life because, well, I probably wouldn’t be here to start with.

But seriously, thanks Mom and Dad. Your restraint when your sons have gone off to do unusual things that would worry any parent to death is, I think, one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children.

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Today is for the people who help me

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for the people who help me by mattkrause1969

I get a lot of help from strangers who, I have to continually remind myself, consider me a stranger too.

It astounds me that people here stop regularly to help, or offer help to, a foreigner who barely speaks the local language and is, get this, out WALKING in a deserted area miles from the nearest town, and who talks some bizarre BS about walking all the way across the country. And they offer that help without even blinking an eye, as if something unusual happens here every day. Because, as I’ve learned, it kind of does.

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The walk’s highest point

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

The walk's highest point by mattkrause1969

This was the walk’s highest point. I reached it Friday. 7500 feet (2300 meters) above sea level. For some reason I was expecting a marching band, a big parade, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony of some sort, but all I found when I actually got there was a stiff headwind. No traffic, no people, nothing but wind.

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Second to last day

by Matt Krause on April 4, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Second to last day by mattkrause1969

Today I walked to Saray, the last little town I’ll see on the way to the border.

By the way, my heavily-accented Turkish doesn’t work really well around here. "Is this the road to Saray?" comes across as "Is this the road to Syria?" and is more likely to garner the response, "No, this is the road to Iran" than anything else.

Tomorrow’s walk will be 19 kilometers to a turnoff that marks the "5 km to go" point, where I’ll leave the rest for Saturday, 13 April.

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Today is for the last of the 30′s

by Matt Krause on April 3, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for the last of the 30's

For more than 3 months I have been walking mostly 30′s (30 kilometers, or 19 miles, in a day). Today was the last such day. I have two days left, and they are both under 20 kilometers each.

It takes me 6 hours to walk 30 kilometers. I often walk those 6 hours without stopping, not even for a few minutes, not even once. I am amazed and thankful that my hips, knees, and feet can keep moving like that for 6 straight hours, day after day, knock on wood.

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The puppy

by Matt Krause on April 2, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

On the way out of Van today I walked past a garbage dump. A bunch of mangy dogs barked at me.

I walked a little further. A puppy, probably only about 10 weeks old, raised its head and started screeching at me. I hadn’t heard a dog make that noise before. “What the…?!” I wondered.

I looked at him closer. He was resting against his dead mother. By the looks of her, she had been hit by a car a couple days before. The flies were starting to settle in.

The puppy continued his screeching. He ran out to greet me. He began following me, running about one step behind me on his little puppy legs. He was clean and fluffy and cute. He did not yet have any of that unkempt manginess that besets dogs living the stray life.

“No, sorry, I can’t help you,” I muttered. I sped up. “Go find some other dogs. I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” I picked up a stick and tried to push him away. I knew if I touched him we would start bonding. But he wouldn’t go away.

A few steps later we passed another puppy, this one slightly older. He was munching on the remains of another dog who had been hit by a car and whose body had been torn open by the impact.

Packs of mangy dogs. Orphaned puppies. Cannibalism. It was like I was walking through a dog version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

The little puppy continued following me. In fact, it followed me for three kilometers, a full half hour of walking. Every once in a while I would look down and there it was, trying to keep up, running along on its little puppy legs.

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t take care of you,” I tried to explain to it. “I’m going to have to leave you at the end of the day. Go. You have to go.” I felt like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, the movie where he was torn between not getting attached to someone new, and playing father figure to a young Asian kid who needed some help.

I started to get annoyed at the little puppy. I thought, “For 7 months I have been having to say goodbye to people, and now I’m going to have to say goodbye to you too?! I thought I was done with that. I thought I was going to get out of here (finish the walk) without getting attached to more people I was going to have to say goodbye to! What the hell, puppy, don’t ask me to do this!”

Finally, another dog came running across the street at us. This other dog was not happy to have a stranger entering his territory. But then the puppy started screeching that strange, desperate, lonely, orphaned screech of his, and the other dog slowed down. He approached the puppy carefully. The puppy continued screeching, like he was saying, “Don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, I just need a home.” My eyes began to water, because there have been times in my life when I have felt like that, too.

The dogs touched noses, as dogs tend to do when they say hello to each other. Three village kids came running out to see what the commotion was about. They saw the puppy and started playing with it. When it looked like the puppy might have found a new home, I walked on.

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Video – 2 April, 2013

by Matt Krause on April 2, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Perhaps this video should be called the “God, Matt looks tired” video. ;-)

The camera battery died on me in mid-sentence too, and I didn’t even bother to change to a new battery. I just thought, “I guess we’re done then,” and stuffed the camera back in my bag.

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Today is for Gary Rayl

by Matt Krause on April 2, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Gary Rayl by mattkrause1969

Gary was one of the Resident Heads (read: adult supervision) at my dorm at the University of Chicago. We have stayed in touch since. He is a retired teacher, runs marathons like a maniac, and does things like hike the Appalachian Trail.

Today’s walk was 30 kilometers, from Van to the town of Erçek. The walk started at an elevation of about 5550 feet (1700 meters), but spent most of the time between 6100 and 6200 feet (1900 meters).

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The Last Mile

by Matt Krause on April 1, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Before I came to Turkey I walked 2000 kilometers (1240 miles) just to make sure my body was up to the task of walking 2000 kilometers.

I learned a few simple but important lessons from that experience. Here’s one that’s helping me now…

When I would approach a major milestone (500 miles, for example, or 1000 miles) I would find myself feeling that those miles were more difficult than the miles that preceded them. My spirit would drag. I would have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, or I would have to dig unusually deep to finish the day’s walk.

“Why is that?” I started asking myself. Why is mile 999 harder than mile 257, or mile 676, or mile 819?

I found myself answering, “Well, actually, it’s not. Mile 999 is a mile, just like any of those other miles. So I will walk mile 999 just like I did the miles that preceded it.”

I am using that same lesson here in the final week.

Tomorrow’s 30 kilometers (19 miles) will be just like all the other 30 kilometer walks I’ve done. Wednesday’s 30 kilometers will be just like tomorrow’s. Thursday’s 18 kilometers will be just like every other 18 kilometer walk I’ve done, and Friday’s 16 kilometers will be just like every other 16 kilometer walk. And then boom, I’ll be done.

The last mile isn’t the hardest unless I think it is.

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Kaşarlı pide for lunch

by Matt Krause on April 1, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Kaşarlı pide for lunch by mattkrause1969

Thin flatbread, mild white cheese similar to mozarella, and, just for additional greasy goodness, plenty of butter. Ayran and salad on the side.

If I had to live the rest of my life on kaşarlı pide, ızgara köfte, and kuru fasulye ve pilav, I’d be fine with that.

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