Haluk Kayabaşı is one of those who find peace at work. “The real ability is to seize the moment,” says Kayabaşı. He adds that he enjoys the sun rise in his office every morning and takes this 15-minute period as a little vacation as he sips his coffee.
Haluk Kayabaşı, the CEO of Kibar Holding spent his childhood in Kayseri and started to work in trade when he was only 13. He is one of those managers who sees work as a hobby. Kayabaşı says one has to keep his/her mind awake at all times especially if s/he has a busy and stressful work life. That is the reason why he has always created outlets for himself. For example, Kayabaşı has owned 7 motorcycles so far. He enjoys riding with the wind behind and colours around him. Kayabaşı says he is a member of a group or motorcyclists called Goldwing Ring, and they sometimes organize short motorcycle trips on the weekends to destinations close to Istanbul such as Şile, Kerpe and Kefken. He says he wants to have a motorcycle tour in Italy at his earliest opportunity. Kayabaşı goes to work by motorcycle on Wednesdays and Fridays.
How do you spend a day?
I like to work a lot. Some may call me workaholic, but work is really a hobby for me. I find peace at work. I have a high energy all day long. I go to bed at midnight and get up at 6:30. 6 hours of sleep is enough for me, and when I wake up in the morning, I feel rested. I spend the whole day with meetings and business lunches or dinners. During the pandemic, we have had more online meetings. But I don’t feel tired because of all these work. After a busy day, I can fly to Bodrum even if it is for a night only. We like to spend the weekend in our house in Kartepe, and I enjoy riding there.
How often do you go on a holiday a year? Can you stay away from work for long?
In the previous years, I used to go take vacations less frequently. Yet in time, I learned to seize the opportunities to spend more time on myself. I would not call my trips a vacation, though. I guess they are more like a short break. I cannot stay away from work for long of course. As a matter of fact, technology todays make it possible to be accessible anytime and anywhere. Yet, the real deal is to be able to seize the moment. For me, it is a vacation even when I can watch the sun rise from my office and drink my coffee for 15 minutes as the sun rises. I cannot name a specific month of the year for my holidays, but I try to take a break on national and religious holidays and other special days, and I also take an annual leave.
What has changed in your life after the pandemics?
I was shocked like everybody when the pandemic broke out. To be honest, I was not expecting it to last for so long. As we all know, we have been going through this process for quite a long time. On the early days of the pandemic, I spent more time with my family. I read books, watched films and spent time with my children. I never caught the virus. We developed a very efficient management and follow up system in my work group, and we managed to protect ourselves very well within this system. We put in a great effort to protect our employees as well.
We know that you are keen on motorcycles. Did this interest of yours do you good during the pandemic?
Of course, it did. The more isolated we are, the better we can protect ourselves from covid and a motorcycle gives you the liberty to move on your own. Getting on your motorbike, riding wherever it takes you, stopping anywhere when you want to take a breath… All of these are priceless experiences.
When did you start to have an interest in motorcycles?
It has almost been 25 years. My work life has always been very busy and stressful, and I needed to be constantly alert in such a pace. After all these years, I still work in an hectic environment and in such a busy life, you need to take a break and breathe a little. I have always had my outlets. Once, I had a boat. I used to spend time on the sea. Later on, I got a motorcycle. I started to ride along endless roads passing through colours with the behind me. These days, I am trying cycling by the sea. I salute the birds and pat the cats.
When did you buy your first motorcycle? Did anyone ever object to your decision?
I bought my first motorcycle about 25 years ago. No one was against it. In fact, at the time, riding a motorcycle was not labelled as a dangerous activity as it is right now. And the traffic was as not heavy back then. Nowadays the actual problem is not the motorcycle itself, but rather it is the drivers who ignore the rules in heavy traffic.
When did you buy your current motorcycle? And why did you choose this one?
I have had 7 motorcycles so far and I have unique memories with each of them. I bought the one I am currently using in May 2021. This is the third time I have bought this brand and this same model. It has a very strong engine, and it is equipped with high tech. I prefer this specific motorcycle because it is very comfortable, especially on long trips.
Motorcyclists have camps and places that they regularly visit. Do you have such a group or any camps or places you regularly go to?
Yes, I am in a group called Goldwing Riders. We sometimes organize weekend trips to destinations close to Istanbul like Şile, Kerpe and Kefken. Before the pandemic, such trips were more frequent, though. Besides, we organize 3-to-4-day trips to various seaside towns in Aegean coast each year. These tours are also very enjoyable. Apart from this, I have close friends both in my work group and in my social circle and I go on short daily trips with them as well.
Have you ever travelled abroad by motorcycle?
Not yet, but I want to have tour in Italy at my earliest opportunity.
"I EVEN TOOK EXAMS TO BECOME A TEACHER"
“According to the poet, Edip Cansever: ‘Childhood is like the skies. It's not going anywhere…’ This is true for my childhood, too,” says Kayabaşı. He was born in the middle of Anatolia, where a child lives like a child, where life is hard and survival depends on work. He always felt the presence and support of strong women around him. He had a good childhood, during which he obtained various life skills. Of those days, Kayabaşı notes: “I did many things when I was at school. You know, when you say you are from Kayseri, people immediately associate you with trade. I started to do trade when I was in the 7th grade. A relative of ours was in textile business. I would buy some stuff from him every week and sell them in the bazaar. I have always wanted to do things differently, to provide a benefit and to be a part of a team. These principles have been the touchstones in my life. I always acknowledged the benefits of my childhood while I was interpreting or analysing the things happening around me, taking risks and trying to reach a tough objective in business life. When I was a child, I wanted to become a teacher. I even took certain exams to do so. In fact, my teachers used to love me, particularly at secondary school, and I loved them all too. Each one of them was a role model for me. And it was my dream to be like them. This is, however, where my path has taken me. I am where I am now because of my earlier experiences in trade.
Do you ever commute by motorcycle? When do you ride?
Yes, sometimes. When we were on Tuzla Plant, I would ride to work on Fridays. Nowadays, I sometimes go to Tuzla and Zorlu by motorcycle. Generally, on Wednesdays and Fridays I also commute via motorcycle. If my programme and conditions are convenient, I get to leave Istanbul with my motorbike on Friday evenings.
How do you spend time with your wife and sons?
Children are in our custody only for a while. Of course, you have your bonds of love with your kids until you die. My sons left home for their education one by one when they turned 18. We used to come together on special days. The pandemic, however, turned out to be a nice opportunity for us. We had a family reunion and spent a great and long time together after so many years. My children are now in their 30s, and they have also become my friends. We do all kinds of activities together, like riding bikes, discussing the new world order, talking about veganism or disadvantaged communities.
Do you think that you spent enough time with your children as they were growing up?
At this point, I owe thanks to my wife. My wife, may God bless her, put in twice the effort to make up for my absence. We brought up our children with love. I tried to be with them whenever I could. I tried to make memories on special days, on the weekends, on summer holidays and whenever we could.
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