City life and the smart gadgets we use every day have driven us away from the ways of our ancestors. People from around the world are looking to go back to their roots and live a simple life in touch with nature.
Şelçuk Şahin, a 41-year-old Turkish entrepreneur who was a banker, resigned from his job to realize his dream to build a farm away from the chaos of big cities. Şahin made his way to Bilecik's Gölpzarı district, a small Anatolian city where the Ottoman Empire was originally founded, and built a permaculture farm to engage in sustainable agriculture.
Şahin's farm is designed to reflect the permaculture way of farming and the entrepreneur is able to host visitors who want to get their hands dirty in the soil in groups of eight.
Şahin and a friend of his bought the farm in 2008 for just TL 150,000. However, he did not leave his job right away. He wanted to see if he was capable of living in a farm and do all the chores of a farm by himself.
Six years later, in 2014, he decided to leave his job and the apartment he had been living in and moved to Bilecik permanently. Right now, Şahin in involved in ecological farming, growing fruits and vegetables and breeding farm animals. He also welcomes other enthusiasts from around the world to his farm.
Dora Kovats and Alan Iversan walking around the village with their bikes.
"In the last two years, we have hosted more than 200 volunteers. We wake up in the morning and have breakfast together. Then we plan what to do until the sun sets. During winter, I earn my living by making organic cream and soap. I also make the tags and labels for our products that we produce ready for the summer. The more the merrier: When a larger group comes to visit me, the chores are done quicker," said Şahin, speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA).
So far, Şahin's farm has welcomed volunteers from Spain, Brazil, South Africa, China, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iran, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Now, the farm has new guests, coming all the way from Hungary by bicycle.
Dora Kovats and Alan Iversan, who discovered the farm online, came from Hungary, pedaling a whopping 7,000 kilometers.
The duo who wake up with the sound of birds in the morning help Şahin chop wood and wash dishes. They are also learning how to make organic vinegar, tomato paste, bread and olive oil. Şahin teaches them how to plant and harvest vegetables such as garlic and onions as well.
Born in Hungary, 33-year-old Dora Kovats said their adventurous journey ended in Gölpazarı and they cannot be happier. She said Alan Iversan and her had started pedaling almost 10 months ago.
"I met Alan in Hungary on the road and we decided to keep going on our journey together. Our primary destination is India. We plan to travel through South Asia however; we want to make the most of it while we are travelling," added Kovats.
What is surprising is that Kovats knows a little bit of Turkish. She attended one of the Turkish classes offered by the Yunus Emre Institute in Hungary.
"Turkey looks much like Hungary," said Kovats. "We have discovered this farm while surfing the internet for volunteer jobs. This is the first time we have been in a farm and to tell the truth we are also planning to build a permaculture farm in the future."
Alan Iversan is a 27-year-old Dane who pedaled for an extraordinary 15,000 before arriving at Bilecik. "I had a pleasant travel. People are usually friendly to Dora and I. We pedal for 70 kilometers are day. If everything goes according to plan, we will arrive in India seven months later," Iversan added.
Şahin is also loving his new visitors and happy to inspire these young people.
"They want to build a permaculture farm and live there together. They are learning everything they need to know before starting their own farm. They have decided to stop by other similar farms and learn as much as they can," Şahin added.