Sometimes the Universe gives you a kick in the ass. A swift hard punt to the buttock area. And it can really hurt.

I was disciplined this way very recently. While living in Ye Olde Pirate Bar, I had been doing a lot of imagining. The owner had discussed bringing me back on next year as management, giving me the opportunity to help take it from a grotty party place full of intoxicated tourists to something fantastic. The vision was beautiful – a small luxury camping area, complete renovation of the facilities, increased focus on the restaurant and the start up of a water sport/free-diving retreat. I would be in charge of creating the website, planning the marketing strategy, and my ideas regarding design and management of the existing functions were to be considered and put into practice. What an opportunity at 23! With the promise of serious awesomeness in the near future I stayed in the isolated and dirty Pirate Bar for over a month, our business plans to be discussed on a staff cruise at the end of the season.

Well that bloody well didn’t happen.

In South Africa we have an expression – “Kak praat”.

It means, literally, shit talk. I don’t think I need to expand on the explanation; suffice to say that is the best way to describe the sweet nothings that had been whispered in my ear. Now, I have numerous feelings about the mental and emotional state of the owner in question… not all of them are bad. Not all are good. And I will hold my tongue – bridges shall not be burned for the sake of an online rant. However, I am vaguely annoyed. To put it lightly.

Gokkaya Bay - No longer my future & that's OK
Gokkaya Bay – No longer my future & that’s OK

At the same time, I was becoming very close to the people in the bar. Cabin fever is a serious thing reader dear – trust me on this. When I was planning my departure, the idea was for me to leave for one month, maybe 2 at the very most, then return. Not back to the bar, but to the people in it – to travel Turkey together in the winter season. I was leaving someone behind who was incredibly upset by my impending absence, and I was so entrenched in the small world of the pirate bar that I felt almost as upset in return. And then the Universe, in all its wisdom and power, said NO.

Long story short, someone got physically aggressive with me. And that was that. It was my second to last night in Turkey, and everything seemed broken. I’ve never experienced such an emotion before, a combination of shock, anger, pain. And fear – very honestly, fear. I wish I could say, “Nope I wasn’t scared,” but huddled on your bed in the corner of a shared dorm watching someone you care very much about laugh at you for crying, after you’ve been sent flying across the room, is a rather frightening experience. This was a very Bad Thing. Needless to say, my plans to return to Turkey in a month or so were cancelled.

And I felt like shit.

Fetjiye Harbour - My Last Day in Turkey
Fetjiye Harbour – My Last Day in Turkey

Within a few days the excitement I had been building up for my future at the bar, and the heights I could take it to, as well as the foundation of my strongest relationship in the place itself had been shattered. I was in Fethiye, feeling so low and so lost, surrounded by Turkish people I didn’t know and couldn’t talk to. My friend the Universe had less kicked me in the ass than sucker-punched me while I was sleeping and dreaming of unicorns – the wake up call was not pleasant. But it was necessary.

You see. I want to travel. I want to write. I want to follow my heart across the globe and experience life from a thousand different perspectives. But I have a tendency to get caught up in the moment, and challenges of any shape and size are my weakness – HECK YES I’ll take your dirty Pirate Bar and turn it into something incredibly wonderful. Why not? Well, a thousand reasons why not – and the Universe reminded me of them. And even though it hurt to be misled, and then to have the rug pulled out from under my feet when I saw a vicious and cruel side of someone I’d learned to trust, I can’t help but be grateful.

I think that when we have a path to walk, a passion to follow and a dream we desire so badly we’re willing to risk everything we have to pursue it, the Universe appreciates that. And when we are human and foolish and are about to give it up for something that is only appealing in context, or momentarily, the Universe has our backs. It may employ a ‘tough love’ approach, but it gets you back on track. By reminding us of what we want, and what truly makes us tick; by highlighting the flaws in our current situation. By bringing you back to reality when you’ve lost your mind on an island in the middle of nowhere. I want to be a traveller and a writer, not a lonely Pirate Bar employee. Also, once it has made its point, the Universe tends to do its best to help you feel better.

(click the link for Part 2)

Dear Universe, you’re a bit of a dick sometimes. But I love you.