Christmas is over, New Years has gone by and I’m back in Aberdeen. Time to get serious and start my exam preparation! I’m just having a little trouble concentrating.. I just finished my third cup of coffee and can’t find my concentration anywhere. Everything distracts me and I find myself doing anything but studying..
So I might as well put my time to some use and write!
Being home for Christmas gave me space to breathe again, relax and live my life. 19 People at one big table, enough wine, a 5 course dinner and the traditional singing of childhood songs gave me the ultimate Christmas feeling again.
New Years was spent here in Aberdeen with 2 good friends of mine. We read on the internet that Amy McDonald was going to perform at a street party so we wondered down the main street only to find it empty.. The security people hadn’t heard of anything major going on in the streets so we gave up and went to a pub. Later on we found out we were 4 years too late to see Amy McDonald.. Oops! We still had a fun night with a bit of disappointing fireworks but started 2013 as you should: partying it up!
With only 2 more weeks left in Scotland, 2013 is going to be the year of staying home for me. Being abroad for most of 2012, it is now time for me to be home.
Keep the earth below my feet
From my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
*Written on Friday November 30th, 2012*
Long train journeys always make me want to write. They give me the opportunity to gather my thoughts and order my overly-active brain.
As I’m writing this on my BlackBerry for lack of paper, listening to mumford and sons (my all time favourite band!) and the smell of beer from the guys in front of me making me even more excited for this trip, I’m on my way to Newcastle, England! To visit my friend Chloe, whom I met in Ghana where I caught the famous travel bug. It was with her that I backpacked through Australia and we haven’t seen each other for over 3 years!
So while I’m on this side of the North Sea, a visit had to be done. Not only am I excited to see her, I’m on the move again! The lenght of the trip doesn’t matter. I will be in a new city, exploring my surroundings and most important, out of Aberdeen! No bad word about Aberdeen, I love the place, I just need a change of environment now and then.
This weekend will be all about catching up, bringing back memories of Australia, having fun and forgetting about all the school work waiting for me when I get back. Apparently Newcastle is famous for it’s party scene so I have to do some of that as well of course.
As we’re nearing newcastle, the lads on the train are starting to feel the effect of the alcohol they have been consuming sinds Aberdeen. Beers are falling over, the “for fuck sakes” are being yelled and no matter how much I hate overly drunk lads, I can’t help myself but to smile at their accents. After the Irish accent, the Scottish accent is my all time favourite.
As my overly-active brain is ordered again, the train is pulling into Newcastle. With snow falling down outside, I know I’m up for an exciting weekend. Time to find Chloe.
Chloe and my feet in the sea after working 3 months on a farm in the outback of Australia
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.
I was just about to go to bed, when I stumbled on the Projects Abroad Ghana Facebook page I am part of. Once in a while I flick through it, read some messages and click away from the page. Just now though, I saw a video was posted about a volunteer D. who is going to travel to Ghana for the fourth time to donate football gear around Ghana. Including the club I volunteered at in my last month: The Cantonments.
My last month in Ghana, I decided to move from Cape Coast to the capital city Accra. Instead of helping in an orphanage, I would be helping/training a football team. An 18 year old girl, trying to teach 12 year olds how to kick a ball around. Looking back I find it hilarious, considering they kicked my ass on the field.. At the same time it turned out to be an experience I will never ever forget in my life.
While looking at this video, my experience flashing before my eyes at the same time, there are some things I just have to throw out there. Call it conscious, call it growing up, call it reflecting on life. It just has to be done.
I was 18 when I decided I wanted to help little kids in Africa. Feeling all grown up and sure I could do this, that they even needed me out there. Boy was I wrong. Thinking about it now, both the kids in the orphanage in Cape Coast and the kids on the football pitch in Accra, taught me more than I did them.
It was my first travel experience and I was suffering a big culture shock, severe homesickness and a lot of insecurity. This all made me a bit shy, on the background, just letting it all happen instead of making things happen. Most of the time, I just wasn’t really me.
During those 4,5 months I didn’t fully realize what I was putting myself through and how much I would value that experience right now. Even though I would do everything different now, I don’t regret one moment.
The Cantonments will always have a special place in my heart.
The first of many stories. I’ve been back home for about 2 weeks now and it took longer than I thought to orden my thoughts, go through the photo’s and set myself to write. But here we are, I’m going to tell you about Thailand!
After a short flight the moment finally arrived, I saw my best friend after 5 long months! Time to start our month long adventure, starting with a few days in Bangkok. Sitting in the back of a cab, Bangkok skyline in front of me, gave me the feeling once again that I am addicted to.. Travelling. I was finally on the move again! A new city, full of things to discover.
Discover we did. The first day we dropped our bags off at our pre-booked hostel near china town and started to walk. Well, it was more of a dance around the cockroaches than anything else.. After a few blocks and confused looks on our map, a nice man stopped us and told us about this travel agency that could help us with our further plans. Sounds good we thought! Little did we know this place was part of the many shops giving tuk tuk drivers a commission on bringing tourists in.. Our first tuk tuk adventure was a fact. The rest of the night we walked around, visited the night market, went to the train station for tickets and arrived back at the hotel exhausted.
We woke up early the next day for a full day of sight seeiing. China town for the market, where you walk through narrow alleys with stalls selling typical Chinese accesories, Chinese fashion and Chinese food. The heat, many people and small alleys made us a bit claustrofobic so we hauled a tuk tuk, negotiated a lot and were on our way to lumpini park. The contrast between the busy city and this peaceful park was like black and white. To see the whole park you can rent sweet pedalos in the shape of a swan, a welcome alternative after walking for hours..
By the time we finished with the pedalos, we collapsed on a bench in the shade, not knowing what to do with ourselves it was that hot.. We watched people running and biking on the asfalt road that goes around the park, stunned how they didn’t collapse of the heat. A cold drink gave us the strength to move on and take a tuk tuk to the biggest and most famous temples in Bangkok. Highlight being Wat Po. What a huge Buddha that is! The only downside was getting back to our hotel. We were so sick of being ripped off and just wanted to get in a tuk tuk for a normal price, which we managed after talking to what seemed 500 drivers.
My moving feet at the standing Buddha feet.
For dinner we had our first street food and man, how good was that! Simple noodle soup with vegetables and pork, jummie! The next day we had to wake up early to catch our train to Chiang Mai, but that is a whole new story..
So there you go, the first of many stories about my moving feet in Thailand. Did I mention we also went to Lao..?!
Taxi’s in Bangkok