Goodbye…And Then… What?

Yesterday, I made a big announcement.

It resulted in a slew of incredibly heartfelt messages from my friends, and the constant repeat play of this terrible song…

that I don’t think I ever want to hear again:

…by this incredible friend (in case you are new here, his name is Ali, and he is the greatest).


(In his defense, he doesn’t know what it is about. He just thinks it is sad and about loss and about playing one guitar with five people very skillfully…actually that is more than what I know. He is a pretty smart man.).

Anyways, my announcement is:


I explain the short reason here.

The longer reasons I am going to tease out over the next six months as I write and reflect.

The good pieces I am going to put on my new official website. The bad ones I plan to pin to a cloud and let float away.

Of all the remarkable words of encouragement and support that people have sent, the common trend is this big question:


So here is my answer.

First, I will finish up Balyolu.

We must sell our honey, complete our commitments to our women and bees, make sure the people who have supported us along the way (Ali!) know that we love and care about them deeply. There is still an unbelievable amount of beekeeping, cleaning, packaging, selling, traveling, and shipping left to do. We have one month to work very hard to close down our operations. And we need all the support we can get. Help us get a little closer by buying a jar today here.

Then I registered for a Marathon happening in Budapest in October.


To keep my head high and focused, to remember to take care of myself (eat, sleep, stay active, stay focused)…

in spite of some heart crushing changes…and because it includes admission to 14 baths.

Then I plan to do a little of this


…I WILL BECOME WILLIAM WORDSWORTH? No, actually, I am taking up the brief occupation of floating as a cloud

…just for a few days, while I think and reflect, and write. I am hoping that a beach will be involved.

Then I will start working at a new startup (which remains TBD… suspense!),

…or I will spend a winter dancing with the Northern lights while mushing dogs in Alaska.

There are some pretty good options on the table.

But it is likely that no matter what happens professionally, personally I plan to spend some time living here…

…and doing this.

And of course thanking each and every one of you – for being incredible over these last three years.

The journey isn’t yet over, not even close.

This post is light, because while what we have gone through, what I have been through has been rough, sometimes far rougher than I let myself realize, in order to keep moving , I find it best to just laugh with friends and strangers. So join me in celebrating what has been an incredible start to a journey that I am convinced has truly just begun. Ali thinks so too.

About Cat

Catherine de Medici Jaffee is a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Fulbright Scholar, a Luce Fellow, the Founder of Balyolu: the Honey Road, and a lunatic about honey culture in the Caucasus. Raised on a farm in the Colorado Rockies, Cat grew up loving animals, dirt, and altitude. Her dedication and passion for animals, agriculture, and women leaders has launched her across the world as a Luce and Fulbright scholar: to raise Aigamo ducks in Japan, to research yak trade caravans in Sikkim, and to study rural women’s migration in Turkey. In particular, Turkey - with its fish hung like laundry from windows, its 9,000 species of flowers, and its delicious honey - continues to lure Cat back to its borders. Cat’s love for Turkey, the mountains, agriculture, and women’s leadership blend together sweetly in her new venture Balyolu and her blog Inspired Beeing. You can most frequently find her jumping on a mountain, running from angry bees, cooking in villages, hitching on dirt roads, or joking with Turkcell about her internet woes. Cat is joined by her partner in crime Claire Bangser, artist, photographer, writer, and globe wanderer who believes in creative storytelling as a way to powerfully connect people across mental and physical borders. From working with small-scale women farmers in Mali, to documenting peoples' lives along a 2,000 mile bike tour in the US, she finds that every person (and bee) has an important story to tell and much wisdom to share (speaking of Wisdom, Claire just published her first book, Ride Somewhere Far. Check it out on our Link Roll). These days, you're most likely to find Claire upside down, yodeling from a mountaintop, making tragic mistakes in Turkish, or eating meat for Cat.

Posted on September 11, 2013, in Inspired! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Dear Cat I could not write to you immediately as the news had to sink in. You must have had to go through so much to for to this decision. You are doing the right thing as you have done everything else to make this happen. You courage will not leave you. You are simply redirecting your purpose. I do hope that you will feel your amazing strength again. My daughter who I have written you about is studying in Squamish for the next four years at Quest university. Maybe you will meet her one day. I wish you all the best and have enjoyed seeing you grow your dream an almost impossible dream. You are an amazing person! Big hug to you!

    Monique X

  2. As a beekeeper I hear you when you say how much work remains to be done. Beekeeping ain’t easy. You achieved so much and should be very proud. Wish I’d booked one of those honey tasting holidays in time!

  3. You seem to put your heart and soul in everything you do! Of course, you need a break! Good luck in whatever the future holds for you – whether it’s dancing or mountain climbing, you’ll do it splendidly! :-)

  4. Hello Cat, you don’t know me–I only discovered Balyolu a few days ago and began immediately planning my trip! I was so very excited, and so very disappointed to see that I was too late. I wish you all the best in your current and future endeavors! If you ever do something like this again, I would love to be notified! I’ve been looking for something meaningful and real like Balyolu for a long time now.

  5. I savour, cause I found just what I was looking for. You have ended my four day long hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  1. Pingback: Kars Is Sweet With Balyolu | Katrinka Abroad

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