An Ode to Aberdeen

My dearest Aberdeen,

Tonight is my last night sleeping on your lovely grounds. Tomorrow I will set foot back on home land. You have put me through hell and heaven and here is my ode to you.

I was amazed by your gray streets. The sunshine and rain you gave me the first few days made me see the streets in all its beauty and ugliness. The granite your houses are built of, sparkle in the sun and make a gray day even more depressing. Little castle-like buildings made me realize I was actually in Scotland.

The mountains and hills surrounding you are absolutely stunning. I loved being so close to the sea. In the few months I was here, I have seen more sunshine than rain which was a total surprise to me! This allowed us to enjoy all the little trips we made to see those mountains, hills and sea in beautiful sunlight.

No matter how ugly some of your residents are, they are one of the nicest people I have come across. Always willing to help, wishing you a nice day and in for a small talk. Just sitting on the bus into town hearing them speak in that heartwarming accent always put a smile on my face.

One thing that made my jaw drop, happened when I was waiting for my bus. There was no pushing, no angry looks, only a neat line of people, patiently waiting their turn to enter the bus. No matter how much it was raining. I might have made some people angry by not realizing there was a queue the first few times, I apologize for that!

The contrasts between people here made me think of the city in a different way. The homeless people sitting on the streets till the sun comes up and the shiny new cars driving by, showing off. This all because of the oil that is hidden just off shore. Giving people great lives, attracting the less fortunate.

The thing I want to thank you most for, is what you have taught me over the last few months. Never have I had such a hard time at some occasions here. Somehow, somewhere, I found the strength to hold on and never give up. You showed me how much I can do and I will always be grateful for that.

This is not a goodbye, this is a see you again sometime. Although I loved the snow the last few days, we didn’t get to go on our little road trip because of it. This means I have to come back to see all the things I still want to see! Hereby I promise you, I will be back one day.

So thank you once again. I can’t wait to go home, but you will always have a special place in my heart. I will miss you Aberdeen.

Love,

Kyley

MF- Last day Aberdeen

 

 

Let’s Talk Culture

Once again I got the question what I actually want to do once I finish my tourism degree. Except this time the person in question kept asking and the final question was what tourism is for me. What is travelling for me? Why do I find travelling so fascinating?

Cultures was my first answer. When I travel, I want to see the culture of the country. The deepest layer of the people, their routines and how they live. You haven’t seen a country until you really feel the culture.

Just now I have an exam coming up about globalization. One of the most interesting aspects is how it effects culture. Is the whole world really turning slowly into America?

No. Compared to some other travelers amongst us I might have little travel experience, however with what I know and have seen around me I honestly think America can not take over the world and change all the cultures. We will not turn into McWorld.

People might walk down the street in Indonesia with their Starbucks coffee, pass 10 McDonalds, watch American TV shows and want the American dream, they will still go home, take care of their loved ones, do their rituals. The values and believes they inherit from their parents and society are so ingrained, I think it is almost impossible to change that.

The outside of cities might get an American feel to it, but what keeps culture alive is the people themselves. As a traveler you have to go off the beaten track, talk to the locals, experience their daily routine and get a feel of their culture. That’s what travelling is all about for me and that’s what I find so fascinating.

MF - Culture

One Single Chapter

Once upon a time, there was a lost girl. She didn’t know she was lost until she graduated high school. All her friends were off to college or university, a clear plan in mind. She was the only one who chose to follow her heart to Africa, in search of her path in life. Somewhere in the middle of Africa, she got bitten by a bug. The oh so very famous travel-bug. It was through this bite, that she wasn’t lost anymore. This bite lit up her path and continues to do so. The lost girl wasn’t lost anymore.

With all my heart, I thank this beautiful travel-bug for biting me. Even though I am only 22 years old, I have seen more of the world than most of my peers. It’s like a fire of curiosity burning inside me to see more, keep travelling and never stop.

Born and raised in Canada, moving to Holland and two parents with travel backgrounds, it’s like travelling is in my genes. In my genes and released by that bite in Africa. Australia with a small hop over to Fiji, was my next adventure followed by Indonesia and Thailand. Now I’m here, in the welcoming arms of Scotland.

Photographing was always a part of my travelling. Trying to somehow capture the feel of the country I was in. With little to non-existing knowledge of photography, I snapped away whatever  I thought captured future memories that would bring back the feel of the country. It wasn’t until my mother visited me in Bali, Indonesia, that I saw the pattern of all those photo’s.

She asked me why I always take photos of my feet and everything fell into place. The feel of the countries or places I have been cannot be captured with a camera. It is the physical proof of me standing somewhere that brings back the feelings and memories.

When we first started this photojournalism class, we were asked to choose a subject. Something we could tell a story about using photo’s. These 20 photo’s, carefully taken and selected, represent my story. The story of Kyley Bakker, an exchange student finding her way around Aberdeen and the rest of Scotland.

They represent me, finding friends, seeking adventure, discovering cities, emerging in the local life, celebrating local holidays, opening my eyes to my surroundings, finding beauty just around the corner, discovering my likes and dislikes, making friends for life, looking at the details, searching contrasts, finding myself yet again.

Although these photo’s together tell my story as an exchange student, individually they show the feelings I have been going through at the same time. Some might not be as visually interesting as others, but if you look carefully and take a second to think about what is actually shown, you might see the deeper meaning I tried to capture.

These 20 photo’s don’t tell a complete story. This story is just a single chapter. Some already written before it, and many more to follow.

 Even though the lost girl found her lit path in life, it wasn’t as smooth and easy to walk on as she had thought. The path had high hills and deep valleys, thick thorny bushes, rocks and pebbles as far as her eye could see. It’s not an easy path and it would take all her strength to concur her path in life. But she also knew as long as the light was with her, she could see the beauty amongst everything.

She lived happily ever after. 

MF-Living on the edge MF-Rugby MF-Washing fears away MF-Rocky road MF-Make a wish MF-RGU Football MF-Friends by your side MF-Let the sky fall MF-blinded by the light MF-Lost in a hay stack MF-Love for sand under bare feet MF-Never ending circle MF-Warm arms of Scotland MF-Newcastle beauty MF-Culture sniffing MF-Standing on top of the world MF-Path of life MF-Calling home MF-Friends MF-Halloween

Live Life

I commented on a post about loneliness the other day. About why it is that we think doing things by ourselves is so freaking scary! Yet it teaches you who you are, it allows you to focus on what you like and in the end, we are all alone, aren’t we?

I know so well, the feeling of arriving in a new hostel, you don’t know anybody and feel like everybody is staring at you. Thinking how sad it is you are by yourself and that they’re glad they’re not in your shoes! Think again. Most likely half of the people there arrived by themselves and has been in your shoes. And think about it again. If you saw somebody arriving by themselves, would you think: “That poor kid, all by herself, doesn’t know anybody here”.

Same goes for eating out by yourself. Ok, maybe not half of the people in the restaurant have been in your shoes but still, I bet they would like to have the courage to walk into a nice restaurant and eat by themselves. Reading a book while you eat, or sit at the bar to talk to the bartender are ways of making yourself more comfortable doing it. It takes your mind off wondering what people around you might think of you.

I have come across numerous situations in which I found myself alone. When I wonder how the hell I’m going to survive all by myself.  My mind starts going mental with all the possible thoughts other people might have seeing me there, until I give myself a little speech: They are not staring at you, it’s just in your head. Just do it, what do you have to lose? It’s not like they will kill you. You don’t know anybody here and they don’t know you. You will never have to see them again in your entire life. They won’t go home thinking how weird you are. Do you remember every person you have ever seen alone? NO! 

Another thing I always repeat to myself is this one quote an English guy I met in Australia wrote on my diary:

“You only regret the things you didn’t do, not the things you did do”

– Anonymous

I know the quote was not his and that many people have said it but it was him that taught me this lesson. A lesson I will never forget and am very thankfull of. It has made me do things I thought I could never do. As long as I keep repeating this to myself, I know I will keep growing.

As a closure to 10 amazing months I even got a tattoo on my wrist that says Live Life. A small reminder I see every single day, just to remind myself that life is short and you have to make most of it. I lived life in Australia and will never ever forget that.

Do you have any life lessons? Something you use/say to keep yourself sane? To force yourself to talk to a stranger? Live Life!

The people you meet, the things you read

Just like we all do here, I like reading blogs. It gives insight in other peoples lifes, how they look at certain things and boy, how I like to read about other peoples thoughts! The life stories they have, the travels they made, their adventures, I just can’t get enough of it! So as I was reading along, I stumbled across this blog. When I read that first sentence, it was like it became clear to me what I want to do. Or better said, what I want to become!

“I want to be a tourist for a living, inspiring people to live.”  – CatchCarri

As a Tourism Management student, I get the question “What do you want to with this degree?” a lot. Almost everybody I meet asks me this. I used to answer that I want to see as much of the world as possible, but after reading this I think I found my new answer: “I want to become a tourist”.

While travelling, you meet a lot of new people. Everybody has their story on why or how they are travelling. On the night I was having a bit too much fun, I met this guy from York. He told me he was a lawyer in the army and took a year off work (don’t ask me why, the music was loud and I had a hard time understanding his accent..). He told me he basically got paid to go travelling. When his boss asked him where he wanted to go, he got the money and off he went.

Every traveller I meet, every travel story I hear or read inspires me. There’s a beach party again tonight and I think I just might go. To get the “student life” feeling back and hear some more inspiring stories. After all, every story is unique. What’s your story?