Ufuk Sönmez, known for his dedication to sports and healthy life, as well as his successful contributions to hospitality and media, has recently added open waters to his long list of passionate interests.
We would like to talk a bit about your background and what you’re up to today.
As far as we know, it all started with graduating from the sports academy, followed by a windsurf career with teaching and management.
Then began the hospitality and media chapter with Hillside Club management, your own hotel administration experience, writing books on sports and wellness, and featuring in TV programs.
And after that, you decided to take a different path in your career. A project that started with tree design works and continued with your very own design as ‘U-CRAFT’, an excellent boat production on your first try…
A great change and a life story that sailed to the seas…
In retrospect, it might be said that the common point of all of these is to touch people’s lives and be useful.
Can you please elaborate on this?
As a child, I had coaches and trainers who had a great influence on me.
They spent their years and their most precious time on us, their athletes and students, without any financial expectation. And then, with the same vision, we continued to pass on what we know to the next generation or those in need.
Touching someone’s life, trying to be useful was taught to me, we grew up with this kind of mentality. I guess it’s a philosophy that runs through my veins…
After all this rapidly changing, flowing life, why did you decide to be on the sea?
I think there is a charm in the unstable and disorderly nature of the Sea. And openness, that panorama, width — those feelings are irreplaceable.
How does always being on the water affect a person’s life, character, and view of life?
The idea of living in the sea is an uneasy thing in itself. You can never regulate your comfort time and your comfort need by yourself.
However, what your eyes see, your ears hear and your skin feels is very different from what you feel in the city or on land. It is very unique. You feel alive. You become a part of nature. Sleeping and waking up in nature all the time is a wonderful thing. But it certainly comes with its downsides as well, which you have to accept and live by.
You have a lot of work on healthy living and aging well. As someone who has touched the lives of many with your work on the topic; you have decided to switch to a vegetarian diet after sailing, can you please tell us more?
Living life is an art itself. We are the artist, it is in our hands to work on this canvas or write this composition. It takes a lot of mastery to create a beautiful piece of work. It takes a lot of work, it takes effort and dedication. It is essential to include healthy living in this. In order to live well, it is necessary to be healthy and think healthy. And it truly is worth the effort.
Being a vegetarian, for me, is a purely emotional decision. The health benefits it comes with is the cherry on top. The most striking effects of vegetarianism on me were that I got pain relief from the sports injuries that I had from my past and the vanishing feeling of tiredness. I think this is a miracle.
You also have designs that impress a lot of people lately.
Eyeglasses, a boat, a little caravan, and now a treehouse design…
Even though they are all hobbies, the results go beyond a hobby. Can you tell us more?
Creativity is a great meditation.
Once the idea of doing something enters my mind, a feat begins in my brain. I lose myself in it. The problematic parts of life become irrelevant details and life gets easier.
Because when the mind is focused on creativity, it has no time to spend with unnecessary worries.
When one looks at all these moments and your career, it becomes evident that you live a very naive life. You said goodbye to things that many would hesitate to leave. Tell us, how?
I think life is too short and this feeling makes me furious. There’s so much to be experienced, but I know the time we have is not enough to experience them all.
So I don’t think there is anything that’s actually indispensable.
Even if it’s not about looking for something better, maybe something much better is waiting for us on our next step. The quality of the experiences is the event itself.
Tell us a little about the Aegean Sea, please. Being a sailor in the Aegean, sailing the seas… What makes these waters so special?
The Aegean is undoubtedly a very special place. It is very rich in the sense that you come across many ancient cities as you travel by, fertile lands and beautiful people…
The beauty of the Aegean essentially comes from its sea, and of course, a fresh sea, wind, water, and bays, are not that easy to find on Earth. You go south, you see Datca, you go up, Bodrum, then you enter Gokova, set your sail to Ekincik, turn there you’ll see Kurtuoglu, then there’s Tasyaka… So it is hard to describe.
Life is a pleasant journey when it’s in a playground like the Aegean.
Where is the next route?
I have a dream of a world trip, but it is more of a cultural trip that I want. I want to go, never to return.
I want to stay longer and live in the places that I love.
I want to get to know its people, enjoy its local foods and drinks. I want to stay long.
At the end of the day, I want to discover that indispensable place. Maybe another country, another city…
Maybe an island village in the Pacific…