For a couple of years now I’m getting more and more convinced that the place where you are born has a meaning and is of a certain importance in your life. I was born in Calgary, Canada and raised in Holland. As Dutch as I look and sound, being born in Canada and still having the Canadian nationality, has influenced my life up until this day. If only it was for the name my parents gave me: Billie-Jo.

As I grow older the longing to get to know the place where I was born, has grown along with me. Where do I come from? How does it look like? How does it smell and how does it feel? Would a part of me be still there in one way or another? I want to see, touch, experience for myself. Take the stories and old pictures, travel through time and fragments of memories from my family, go back to my roots and make my own memories.

In her early twenties my mother decided to emigrate to Canada and seek her own adventure and a new life for herself. Because she consciously wanted to experience the vast distance she would have to travel emigrating to Calgary, she decided to travel in a slow way. With the Holland America Line she departed by boat from Rotterdam to Halifax, and in Halifax she took the train for thousands of kilometers over land to Edmonton and for the last part the Greyhound from Edmonton to Calgary.

Hearing my mother tell me about this way of travelling to Canada, I immediately knew I had to travel in my mother footsteps. But I wouldn’t do it all at once. I want to take it even slower, so I can take in all the experiences along the way.

Travelling in my mother’s footsteps is the first part of my project Back to my roots.


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To be continued