I am very excited that Kurt and Anne are coming back on a Founder's Wildland Adventure to Turkey. I met Kurt in September 1990 when I was 25 years old and we hiked and sailed the Turquoise Coast together. This was a life changing experience for me. Understanding how much Wildland appreciates local knowledge and local experiences, we decided that together we could create extraordinary experiences. I was encouraged by that trip to become an adventure guide in my country because most guides in Turkey just visited historic sites and specialized in history, culture and archaeology. I saw an opportunity to be more.
Photos from the epic trip we had in 1990.
I finished my degree at İstanbul Technical University and became an industrial engineer, but in the meantime my interests moved to other fields such as archaeology, history, political science and outdoor activities. Since the first time we met, we've had many trips throughout Turkey understanding Turkey's cultural and natural heritage, and we had a blast sharing it with other people.
My relationship with Kurt, Anne and Wildland Adventures has been beyond business interaction. With Kurt I gained a brother, mentor and over the years it helped my intellectual improvement because Wildland travelers have always been very successful and worldly people challenging me to read, study and observe more, so that I can interpret and share the cultural, natural, social and political aspects of my country better. And when Anne joined us on a group tour it was a blast! There's never a dull moment hanging out with Kurt and Anne's entourage.
My American brother and sister.
Turkey is by far one of the most interesting countries. In spite of the big challenges of living in this part of the world, my passion to learn and explain about my country grew more. As Turkey and I have changed, every trip has become a new experience.My interests have also evolved. Since 2000, I have been immersed with flora (Turkey is a world heritage biodiversity hotspot), responsible travel, climate change, slow travel, and slow food (ahhh Turkish food) topics. I am proud to be the co-founder and board member of the World Heritage Guides Club of Turkey, appointed by UNESCO as qualified guides to interpret their cultural sites.
In 2012, I had a big change in my life when I first met Liliana in Havana. Liliana is from Bogota, Colombia. We started an across the ocean, around the globe relationship meeting in Istanbul once, then traveling in India. We got engaged in Namibia and married in Istanbul (Kurt was by best man and the whole Kutay family was present). Liliana has made Turkey her home learning to speak Turkish and live in our culture.
Me and Liliana.
Liliana will join us on the Founder's Trip in September 2019 and you will have the chance of seeing Turkey through the eyes of a Colombiana. What I like most about our trip is diversity. We cover four geographical regions of Turkey. As the landscape changes so does the food, the people, and local traditions. We eat phenomenal food, we visit the best of ancient places, we swim and snorkel in deep blue waters, stay with locals in a village, and have a lot of fun.
Although Turkey does not have a great perception lately, that's just how you might see it from far away and in the media. However, you will be surprised to see that we are still living our lives, working hard to preserve our lifestyle, cultural and natural heritage.
I am looking forward to meeting you in Turkey in September.