I’m blessed to have found the Naya House–a tranquil guesthouse and community set in a lush garden on an island in the Marmara Sea, Turkey.
Naya offers a door to finding your own truth, if you are ready to look for it. Meaning truth in Sanskrit, the Naya House is a place where you can relax, reflect or help improve your inner and outer surroundings.
You can stay as a guest in the beautifully refurbished 103 year old house, with each room custom designed like the four elements or do a work exchange, in which you can help in the garden, kitchen or activities like cleaning up the beach in return for accomodation in one of five tents provided on the hill. And these are very comfortable tents with nice thick mattresses.
Set in a lush and beautifully tended garden, Naya has a warm, fire-coloured kitchen, a green watered pond with little fishes that nibble on your toes, a yoga platform, a workshop, a combination spa and pizza oven, solar panels, a biogas system, a number of friendly fluffy cats, and an awesome fleet of bicycles we painted wild animal stripes and spots on. They have different yoga, meditation and painting classes each day of the week and in July they hosted a big group of artists for the Buyuk Ada art festival.
Ludwig, the inventor and creator of the Naya House, has designed and built custom furniture in the rooms, built the combination spa and pizza oven and biogas system and is planning next to dig channels to direct the flow of water down the hill.
We uncover the most profound truths behind leaves and under stones and in simple tasks like chopping wood and carrying water.
What did the stableboy do when he saw the face of god? He returned to the stable.
Profound realisations cause us to do the same tasks with acute consciousness.
As Ludwig said, the greatest teacher around is the tiny kitten playing in the blades of grass, for the pure joy in existence he expresses.
When we came to Naya we were given a mission: beautify this beach. So myself, my brother and a merry band of Lithuanians we met on the ferry went by bicycle up the coast of the island with a big stack of rubbish bags and did an awesome little cleanup campaign. Plastic bags were clogged in the dry grasses down the cliffside to a small pebbly beach and styrofoam peices had washed into crevices in the rocks. We filled ten bags and convinced two Turkish guys who were there to also start picking up, and they left with two full bags. When we left the sun was setting over a much more beautiful beach.
To get to the Naya House: From Istanbul you can go by ferry to Buyuk Ada (the Big Island). Fast ferries take 30 or 40 minutes and cost 7 lira; slow ferries take 90 minutes and cost 3 lira. Buyuk Ada is the last stop. From the terminal its a 20 minute walk: you go left along the coast, cut through town to the main road (which you cant miss because its streaming with bicycles and horse drawn carriages), then walk up the hill until you see a gate with a peacock and sign for Naya.
Come with a sense of exploration and leave inspired!