When I was young, I never dreamed of having the life I have today. I have been absurdly lucky to have had a multi-cultured upbringing and education and privileged enough to be able to choose to do what I love most, ignited by my TCK experiences.
I was born in Germany to a German / Bahasa speaking parents, but quickly moved back to Indonesia, spending my childhood living a simple but comfortable life. My TCK life started when I was eleven. I moved to Hong Kong where I attended a German-speaking school because I spoke no English. The idea of leaving my extended family and friends behind was simply beyond my comprehension, and the prospect adjusting to a foreign place where I understood no one and thought no one understood me simply compounded my “misery”. However, as time passed, I began to appreciate my new surroundings. It allowed me to travel, meet new friends and most of all, broaden my perspectives on life.
Remembrance is a huge part of the TCK life. Every so often a new life awaits, somewhere else, somewhere foreign. These life changes are exciting but terrifying at the same time. It requires you to put your faith in something new that you’ve never dreamed of; putting your faith into something you can’t see.
As a TCK, you take your past experiences to your next destination and those cumulative experiences shape your character and sense of values. You become more aware and respectful towards the variety of cultures in your world – especially when you go on to live in multi-cultural, multi-religious cities like New York and Singapore.
I hesitate when people ask where I’m from. After all these years, I’ve still not perfected an answer. Frankly, I don’t know where home is at this stage of my life and am not inclined to pick one. Home is wherever I currently am. Fifteen years on, I can’t imagine life being any different than it is today.
Today, I feel blessed to be able to capture stories and beautiful things in this world through my lens. My upbringing has turned me some sort of globe trekker, growing restless when an overseas assignment isn’t on the cards for a prolonged period of time.
Lauryn Ishak is a photographer currently based in Singapore. She holds a BFA in Photography and Imaging from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Visit her website here.
(Above) Pbotography (c) Joe Flood, Alaine Handa performing Chameleon @ Capital Fringe Festival w/ Lauryn Ishak's photography as a backdrop.