Cenk had a radiant aura about him and his thoughts raced a million miles per second. Sometimes I couldn’t even finish a sentence before he started shouting new ideas. His legs were constantly fidgeting; crossing, uncrossing, always in restless motion, and he never sat in the same position for more than ten seconds.
His desire to see, photograph, and enjoy life to the fullest was unmistakable; occasionally erupting out of him through unrestrained tangents. Perhaps it was the idea of time passing by non-productively that was triggering such impatience.
“Cenk,” I began as we initiated our voyage towards Dunden Falls. “How did you get into photography?”
He took a deep breath and reached for his phone, once again changing the song before it was over.
“I’m always searching for new things. New ideas. I was 26 and working with those pumps where you spray bugs at a composite decking cleaner. One day I asked myself, ‘what the fuck am I doing here?’ So I quit and searched for something else. Why would I spend my energy doing something that I do not love?”
“You just left?! Were you not afraid?”
“I suppose you could say that I have this positive energy. I don’t give up. I know what I want and will do whatever it takes to get there. I like to think that as a guy, I have many abilities and am multifunctional; but in the end, to whom are we comparing.”
“So then what?”
“I did three road trips to Europe on my own, but of course I was an amateur back then. I was taking photos with poor lighting, wrong timing, and it was tiring to always be alone. But I was still doing some things right and that was enough to get started.”
It was our last and final stop at Tazi Canyon and the sun was just beginning to set. The greenery was refreshing but the view, absolutely breathtaking. For a split second, I was in my own little world. Cenk and I were two people who contrasted in many ways, but underneath our differences was a unifying hunger to explore. To live. To find the most remote corners of Earth where few have, and will venture. Yet, he was still far braver than I was.
We all have a dream, we all have goals, but more often than not, it’s the act of taking the next step that requires unfathomable courage. Passion makes us crazy. It is what fuels our inner drive try extraordinary things and endure the sharp pains of self-discovery. Throughout my short time abroad I have come to learn that it is not the absence of fear that makes one brave, it is the ability to overcome it.
To achieve our goals requires stepping outside of a comfort zone. It can be quite terrifying actually, but like Cenk, we should all strive to obtain that sense of freedom. The freedom from allowing fear to commentate in the back of our minds as we pursue our deepest ambitions. For it isn’t until we run out of excuses do we realize that in the end, there was never anything holding us back anyway.