Since the beginning of humanity, one’s inner-self is doubtlessly aware of one thing: production. One would usually associate it with producing physical goods such as food, furniture, phones, cars, bottles, and so on and so forth. Yet, production is not only what our hands manufacture with raw labor, but also the mental labor of our brains that ceaselessly work day and night, and sometimes even against our will. Thus, since we can all relate to this bustle, all of us possess the required power for productivity, which is inspiration.

Ever since I arrived in Izmir to do my EYE exchange, almost every local person has told me to visit the small artsy and dynamic settlement called Urla. Receiving such a suggestion nearly every other day, and after researching what to do and see there on the internet, I, along with a group of youngsters, set out to make the little discovery. For a long while, I have not been excited about “going off the beaten track” within one city’s limits. You might assume: “Yes, I know, it’s because of the corona pandemic.”; but that was not the reason, I kind of lost the inspiration to engage in new discoveries.

This time my mind was in a completely different state as I was not looking to find a burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or visual endeavor; but in an entrepreneurial one. I have been told that the community there bursts at the seams with upcoming entrepreneurs seeking success in various sectors, from hospitality to handicraft, from arts to organic food production.

I believe it is needless to emphasize how important inspiration is in our lives and in virtually everything we work on and create. Walking along Urla’s main street, Sanat Sokağı, allowed me to dive into new entrepreneurs’ gigantic attempts to establish fresh and sophisticated approaches to commerce; employing not only business knowledge but in some cases also comprehension of whether be it linguistics or traditional crafts or bringing back to life the neglected lokanta (Turkish style eatery).

Since I have a BA in Turkish Language and Literature, I was quite amazed at how elegantly the owner of a small bookshop incorporated the name of the city Urla into the word huzurla (meaning peacefully). It is spot-on and a real eye-catcher for every bookworm as well as a compelling marketing trick to attract customers. Choosing simplicity (two colors and a concise question: “Would you read a book with me?”) over some elaborated facade shows us that we need to move towards more straightforward messages and ideas; thus giving us more time and space to work on our creativity.

Taking care of our ancestors’ works and heritage, and also keeping them alive, is a way to build sustainable development. Having in mind that items with historical values and reflections from the past will always delight human brains, producing and offering them to the entire world, in my opinion, is a future-proof endeavor. I bet it comes with a lot of hard-work and countless instances of trial and error; however, if every job came easily to us, the post-modern proverb: “It takes 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce and just 13 hours to build a Toyota.” would not be circulating throughout the internet.

And what else could be more satisfactory to human eyes and especially bellies if not a pleasant setting for enjoying delicious national or traditional meals washed down with locally produced drinks? The idea of opening a restaurant which name carries the word lokanta, naturally associated with an eatery that serves homemade-style dishes, is indeed a huge step of bravery. Preserving our own styles and ways is something that we will need in the future because as much as globalization can present us with new opportunities, at the same time it has the capacity to obliterate the less prominent cultural elements.

That was one brisk visit to artsy little Urla, a place full of hedonism. It was short and effective because in a matter of a few hours I was stimulated to think much more profoundly and in detail about my future ventures. I benefited from seeing the amalgamation of various perspectives when starting a business, and most importantly inspired myself by understanding that simplicity is the way forward.

Vladimir Jovanovski
Proofread by: Ally Coveney

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