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ITW – James Barkman, the man in a yellow van…

Adventurer of the modern times, James Barkman travels the world accompanied by his faithful van Wolswagen yellow and his motocross. Engaged politically, he photographed a nature in full action. Meeting with a young man who lives from day to day …

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Hi James! We’ve heard your childhood dream was to live in a cabin in the woods. In a way, do you feel it’s come true?

I definitely feel that it did, just in different way than I imagined! It came to life in a better way than I had even hoped.

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Considering your surname, and when looking at your work, your photos and your passions, do you feel like your life was already written?

That’s an interesting thought, and one that crosses my mind every so often. Destiny is an interesting idea, and I definitely believe that there are certain, if not many, things that are predestined if you will. It’s the ole’ nature vs. nurture question, and in my case, probably a little of both. I definitely believe that we as humans are designed and created with a plan and for a purpose.

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Your trusty steed, a 1976 Volkswagen van, accompanies you on all your travels. Was it a dream to own this emblem of the 70s or just an opportunity? Does she have a name?

I remember when the dream was first birthed. I was 16, about to get my drivers license, and I saw an old rusty VW bus with a “for sale sign” beside a farmers barn. I instantly started planning and talking to my friends to see if we could split the price, fix it up and drive it coast to coast! While I didn’t buy that particular bus, I never forgot about it and eventually I was able to save enough cash to buy one myself.

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What are your three essential cassettes to have in your van to travel North America?

Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, John Denver, and many more.

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Have you ever thought of crossing the pond to come and see us and our European landscapes?

I’ve been talking to a friend about shipping it to Norway one day. I would love to do a surfing tour somewhere on that side of the globe. Show me the money, and I’ll be there! hah!

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I saw on Facebook that your dad helps Syrian, Iraqi, Malian refugees, and that your hometown of Lancaster was dubbed “the American capital of refugees” by the BBC. Are you afraid all that will change with Trump?

It’s hard to say, but I know my hometown will fight to continue to be a safe haven for refugees, in spite of political opposition. In many ways it has changed already, but if anything, the community of Lancaster is striving to accept and welcome even more immigrants than before.

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Do you plan on spending the rest of your days travelling the world or do you think you’ll park your van for good one day?

I don’t know, I’m kinda just rolling with it, haha. I’d like to think that I won’t ever live a “conventional” lifestyle. I’m gearing up for a big motorcycle trip from Alaska to South America right now, and after that I hope to do a lot of work in conflict zones overseas. Time will tell.

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Buy now James Barkman’s tee-shirts !

 

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• Discover more about James’ work on Instagram

 

 


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Marion Bureau
Marion Bureau
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