The forest was calling.
We slipped and slid our way across the wooden bridge, the dividing point between civilisation and the untamed nature beyond.
On one side, the brightly lit town, whooping and cheering, Turks in their finest evening wear, pounding music, revving cars, smoke.
On the other, raw adventure.
Underneath us, the dry-river bed, swanky cars lined up in rows, parked atop the dust, glittering chrome, a small group of Arabic men crowded in admiration.
I led the way across the bridge, my brother, Alex, behind me and our good friend, Jazza, behind him.
Three musketeers, on a mission, into the forest, away from the party.
I looked back at the whirling town, the lights playing tricks on my eyes and mind, swirling patterns shattering against the inky black of the night sky, I considered taking a photo, to capture the moment.
I fumbled for my camera, giving up almost instantly, some moments are not meant to be captured.
I turned once more, the town at my back, and stepped off the edge, into the darkness, the cool embrace of the forest rising up to meet me.
Faces watched us from the trees as we climbed, upwards, gravel scraping under our boots, thorns tearing at our faces and hands.
On hands and knees, we scrambled, precarious piles of boulders, joking, the sounds of the turbulent party below splintered upon the wind, coming to us in fits and starts from all sides.
Fireworks, Turkish pop songs, girls laughing, men shouting, horns beeping.
We had further yet to climb.
We paused, a collection of boulders granting us a place to sit in a small clearing of ancient trees, swirling bark filled my vision, rough to the touch.
We lay, our eyes turned upwards, gazing at the tree branches above and the galaxy beyond.
The insect orchestra came alive around us, buzzing and chirping, whistling and grinding.
We climbed a little higher, pausing for a smoke, chatting feverishly about the year ahead.
I leant against a crippled tree, gnarled and ancient, tentacle roots snaking down into the ground.
We sat, allowing the silence of the wild to wash over us for decades at a time.
Below, without warning, anarchy.
The New Year was upon us.
The sky opened up with green and red flashes, fireworks screaming across the horizon in formidable squadrons.
They merged with the stars, the entire night aflame with dazzling swathes of light.
Tiny silhouettes, the revellers below, jumping and cheering, setting off fire crackers, whirling and dancing, kissing and hugging.
We were alone. The three of us, away from the party, amongst the trees.
We sat for some time, minutes trickling by with ease, isolated from civilisation, taking the time to soak in the raw power of our surroundings.
My thoughts wandered, for many, the New Year is the time to make a change, this is admirable and yet, really, should there be just one day of the year when making a change is to be encouraged?
Now is always the perfect time to make a change. Now is the time to shake up your life, to push the boundaries of what is possible, to change the world.
Slowly but surely we left the forest, clambering and climbing, slipping and jiving, we made our way to the river bed, our hands came together and we made a pact as brothers, from the bottom of our lungs we bellowed, our fists pumping the sky…
This is going to be one hell of a year.
We made our way through the streets, returning to the party.
Unsure what to expect we passed crowds of drunken revellers and entered the main building, a barn painted in splashes of red and green, gold and blue.
Total bedlam reined supreme.
Masked individuals ducked and weaved, spinning upon the sticky floor, beautiful girls beckoned to us, knee high sparkly red boots caught my eye, I lost my companions immediately, I broke through circle after circle of revellers, finding myself at the very centre of a group of Turkish goths, keen to be my friends.
They tried to speak to me, the words coming thick and fast, slurred by alcohol, their faces dancing in the shadows, the masks of demons and angels passing me by on either side, crazy get-ups galore, I smiled, I spoke no Turkish, I danced.
We danced together, a Turkish princess, of that I am sure, taking my hand, I span her once, smiled, lost her in the crowd, a conga line, coming from nowhere, my brother Alex, inexplicably upon the end, doing the conga.
The heat, patterns danced in the air, I made for the window, the curtains coming alive with every gust of wind, instantly I was joined by more Turks, keen to socialise despite my terrible Turkish, the vibe was friendly, downright weird, jovial, ecstatic.
I partied, I danced, I weaved, I bopped, I stood, soaking it all in, my senses overloaded.
I made for the door, Alex and Jazza behind me, the wild was calling us once more…
We headed to the beach, finding staffs along the way, gathering branches and logs, we built a small fire, the sun already threatening to spill over the horizon, the chill of the night still enough to seep into our bones.
The fire danced, flames licking up into the sky, our small wall of stones keeping the wind at bay, spitting heat, keeping us warm.
The sea, churning and billowing, the tide coming in.
I heard a noise and peered out to sea, there was some creature in the water, a Kraken, from the depths of hell, lumbering towards us, I scrambled for my head torch.
A large flock of ducks, bobbing harmlessly, greeted me with surprise.
I relaxed, there were no monsters to battle, not today.
We smoked, chilling, enjoying the calm.
Finally, we set off upon one last adventure.
We found ourselves roaming through the ruins of some ancient city, temples and alters, exquisite stonework greeted us at every turn.
Olympos is famed for it’s ancient Greek ruins, we explored them with gusto.
I turned, looking at my buddies.
We had spent the end of the year within the forests, upon the beach, overlooking the party below, soaking in the sky, exploring ancient civilisations, pondering the magnificence of the universe.
“This is it, my friends, this is the year where we craft our destiny, the time to change the world is upon us”
2016, It’s going to be one hell of a year.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing; be passionate, be ambitious, chase your dreams and always, always be kind.
There are no limits to what you can achieve.
Peace, love and happy trails.
Keen to spend next New Years Eve somewhere special? Check out this list of some of the best places to spend New Years Eve…