Technically speaking any book I wrote is a “Message from the author”. But, in case of a full colour photography book, most of that message consists of pictures. So I did want to start off with a few words and provide a bit of background in this post.
Most people don’t just get on the back of a motorcycle with some random stranger. As an immigrant to Canada, I wanted to share some of my story with you. The story that compelled me to create this book. My photography book has been about six years in the making, and I couldn’t be more happy that you’re able to hold a copy in your hands today. It’s been a journey in itself making that dream come true.
Thank you for allowing me to take you with me on a journey through the Western part of the country I’ve come to love, and adopted as my new home land.
Young, green, and very naive
It all began in 2008, I was 26 at the time. Young, green, and very naive. I knew I wanted something different. Not because the life I had in Europe was so bad. It was pretty great, actually. The ability to just get in a car and *drive* to Paris is one of the many great perks of living in the hustle and bustle of West Europe.
The endless rain, never ending traffic congestion are a few others. But in deciding to leave all of that comfort and familiarity behind, it wasn’t the reasons that *pushed* me away from there that we’re most compelling. It was the reasons that *pulled* me towards change. My sense of adventure kicked in, and I wanted a change of scenery. Well, if you’re looking for scenery, Canada is definitely a place to consider. And I did. Amongst a few other places.
A warm place, close to a beach?
I would have loved to build a life in a warm place, close to a beach somewhere, like Spain or South America. Being practical as I am I decided it would be a good idea to speak the language of my new home country fluently before going there. That limited my options to Dutch and English. My Spanish, French and German were not of the level that I’d be comfortable dealing with everyday practicalities, like calling a plumber or doctor when needed.
I watched many documentaries about people moving to a different country, and it never failed to amaze me how many people move to countries like Spain or France without speaking a single word of the local language. A lot of them decided to begin a bed and breakfast, hotel, restaurant, or otherwise pick up a career in the hospitality industry, without much or any experience in that field either. Their dealings with local suppliers and contractors were at times very entertaining to watch. I commend all of them for their courage, but decided a language barrier was not something I was interested in dealing with.
Australia, or the United States – maybe?
That limited my options to a few countries. Australia didn’t make the cut due to their poisonous creepy crawlies. The United States was high on the list but their immigration policies to become a permanent resident appeared to be next to impossible to crack, so I opted for the Northern neighbour Canada.
My first exploratory trip to the great white north was in the dead of winter. I figured dealing with the country at its “worst” (many people told me winters get pretty bad) would be a good test to see if I could make it. If you can make it here *in winter*, you can make it anywhere.
And I did. With several ups and downs along the way. While I indeed didn’t have much of a language barrier to deal with, there were many other challenges on my path.
Looking back, it was well worth the ride. I’m happy I did it. I’m happy I’m still here. And I’m very happy with the life I’ve been able to build in this beautiful country.
Canada has been called one of the most beautiful countries on earth, and I would have to agree. I hope you will too. If not now, I’m sure by the end of my book you will. I fell in love with the exceptional things I saw and the remarkable people who crossed my path.
Spending hundreds of hours on the road collecting images for this book has changed me. Photographing the stunning beauty of this country has made me feel more inspired than ever before. I fell in love with the exceptional things I saw and the remarkable people who crossed my path.
I’ve had close encounters with bears, roamed mountain roads lead by a pack of wolves, and I found many other little tiny wonders of nature.
You’ll see it all with your own eyes in this book. My experiences have all given me a strong bond with these animals and their surroundings I now call home.
A passion for travel
I’m a passionate traveller, an artist whose workplace is the road. The Rocky Mountains are my home, and rest of the world my “office”. My photographic art is my way of giving some of my memories back to the world. A View to Take Home is a celebration of life in Canada, in all it’s forms.
In choosing the images and their position I’ve mainly used my gut instinct as a guide. I’ve used some artistic freedom to break the rules here and there and move things around, or even include images that don’t seem to fit in well at first sight. I hope that’s ok. See for yourself how some images show a direct relationship to each other. Others don’t seem to go well together in terms of the content of the image, but the color or composition of the photograph makes them fit together perfectly.
An invitation for you
Above all – the photographs I share with you in this book carry one important invitation: to go and see it all for yourself. It is my hope that the images in this book will inspire you to create your own adventure. If I can help you get started it would be my honor and privilege.
Have a look at my book The Freedom Project to learn how I organized most of my travels around the world, and was able to fly to many exotic locales for absolutely free.
For now I want to thank you so much for spending your time with me, and allowing me to show you the world through my lens. Thank you again, Canada, for everything.
Travel along with professional photographic artist Wilko van de Kamp as he chronicles the awe-inspiring beauty of Western Canadian provinces Alberta and British Columbia in his new book “A View to Take Home”. Wilko captures the different aspects of the life he found when he explored these provinces as a “fresh off the boat” immigrant from Europe. He brings his findings in stunning, high-resolution images directly to the reader. Flipping through the pages of A View to Take Home, readers will feel as if they are riding alongside Wilko as he explores his newly adopted homeland on his motorcycle.Buy The Book