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I am a Dutch journalist, writer and photographer and cover topics such as human rights, poverty, migration, environmental issues, culture and business. I’m currently based in The Hague, The Netherlands, and frequently travel to other parts of the world. I have also lived in Tunisia, Egypt, Kuwait and Dubai.
My work has been published by Al Jazeera English, BBC, The Atlantic's CityLab, Vice, Deutsche Welle, Middle East Eye, The Sydney Morning Herald, and many Dutch and Belgian publications.
I hold an MA in Arabic Languages and Cultures from Radboud University Nijmegen and a post-Master degree in Journalism from Erasmus University Rotterdam. What I love most about my work is the opportunities I get to ask loads of questions. Email: [email protected]
Host & Co-Creator Phoebe Judge visits an isolated abandoned mining town in the middle of the mountains in Colorado where Billy Barr lives, since 1972.
Did you, when you put your tent here, think that you would be here 40 years later?
No. I just wanted to be here.
After his first few months on the land, he liked it enough to decide to stick around, so he moved into an old mining shed, which burned down eight years later. No electricity, no phone. He drank water from the stream.
In the early eighties, he built himself an actual house. In the winter, the only way to get out of the valley is by skies or snowshoes.
Do you ever get lonely?
When I first got here and even now, yes, I do get lonely, but it was a lot worse in the city, because everything I wanted was right there and I couldn’t have it. Whereas here, I can relate very strongly to my environment. It’s here and that’s what I like.
He grew up in New Jersey and did well in school, but he never really felt comfortable socially. When he was 21, he left New Jersey to find a place where he didn’t feel like he had to try to fit in.
Socialising was the one thing I really wanted to do, but I was terrible at it.
He’s fallen in love with the quiet, his routine, the weather. In his own way, Billy’s fallen back in love with the world he left behind. He started watching movies in the late eighties. Movies could be a way to stay connected to the rest of the world without having to be in it.
Do you wish you had done it differently, had stayed and found the girl and the family?
This podcast gives you an interesting glimpse into Billy Barr's life, but also left me with many questions. However, after listening to this, I noticed he has been interviewed more in the past few years.
I was always too inept to do so, but I wish I hadn’t settled to this place so quickly. I didn’t get exposed to much else and that’s kind of a shame.