Approximately 10 years ago, when I was living in Bodrum, a fellow expat and I decided to go on a three-day holiday to Assos, an ancient site and village with beautiful beaches just west of Mount Ida in the Ayvacık district of Turkey’s northwestern Çanakkale province.
The area, starting from Küçükküyü and spanning all the way to Babakale, is filled with tiny little villages nestled in the woods that at that time had yet to be discovered. These days, especially since the pandemic, urbanites and foreigners make up the majority in most of those villages, but back then they were mostly empty.
One of the most well-known expats to date, and rightly so, is the founder of the Buğday Ecological Living Association Victor Ananias. While his is a story for another day, I will say that he was a visionary who was taken from us way before his time and whose ideas still guide a wide community of people today. Thus, he remains a legend whose legacy includes founding many of the organic farmers’ markets held in Turkey to this day. Nevertheless, he lived in the Mount Ida region and designed and built a magnificent circular self-sustaining stone building called Çamtepe, where workshops are still held throughout the year. I made that building and its village our first destination. Suddenly, and literally at a gas station, I ended up meeting a Turk who was from the area but lived in Alaçatı where he worked as an English-language professor. Anyway, as our cars were filling with gas, he offered us his house. Now, when I say offered, I am holding back. The truth is, before we had even seen it, he had agreed to rent us his father’s two-story home in Bahçedere for 10 years for nothing. He literally gave it away!
Now, before you rejoice, there is a sad reason behind this man’s generosity, as his father had taken his own life in the building a few months prior. They had other homes that the rest of the family had moved into and he didn’t want their beloved village home to become decrepit in the absence of residents. He also couldn’t bring himself to charge someone money to live in his family home. He wanted someone to love and appreciate the home and change its negative energy, which is why no one in the family had entered it again after their father’s death.
So anyway, the next day, we continued on our journey, except now we were driving off with a signed 10-year contract for nothing after having decided to continue to make our way to Assos for the hell of it. Now Assos is tied to Çanakkale’s Ayvacı…….