In 2008, my family and I abandoned our city life in Istanbul to live on a forested mountainside in southern Turkey. We live near a village called Ulupinar in Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. This area has been called the Turkish Riviera, which is probably why I never came down here. When I did, I discovered a place that is literally mythological. When we came up to look at the land that would become our home, it’s wildness left me feeling that I had found something I’d been looking for. Now I understand what it is- freedom.
We have a little over an acre of land, which sounds so small compared to the sprawling American homesteads that I read about, but it is plenty to keep two of us busy. People’s first question to us is always, “Are you self sufficient?” and the answer, alas, is no. We generate our own electricity with solar panels and our water comes directly from a spring on the mountainside here (Ulupinar; ulu = giant, pinar = spring/water source), and we have both solar and wood powered water heaters. We buy diesel for our truck, though, and petrol for a water pump that we need to use in summer for watering. We use LPG gas for our stove and our fridge, and we buy food in town. Still, we provide for ourselves as much as we can, and that increases every year.