My Expat Story: Adria Bannocks
A British expat in the Netherlands
At Global Living Magazine we want to connect with our readers. We want to know what you’re all about, what you love, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. The best way to do this? Hear it straight from you!*
Adria Bannocks is a photographer and writer, specializing in travel and street photography as well as portraits and is the founder and creator of AdriaPhoto and Global Social Photo where she organizes Free Photo Walks for people of all levels. Global Social Photo aims to help expats and locals socialize through photography, helping everyone explore their city.
Adria first lived abroad in Spain and then moved to Chennia, India as a trailing spouse. Not knowing anyone she decided to set up a free photo walk group where the Chennai chapter has over one thousand active members. After returning to the U.K., Adria continued with this and runs the same group in the U.K. across London and the South East with many members.
Now Adria has relocated with her husband to the Netherlands and has set up the same group with the same ethos of socializing though photography and fun. “It’s all about meeting new people, exploring new areas and having fun,” she says. No experience is necessary and it’s completely free. Adria now lives just outskirts of Leiden in the Netherlands and is enjoying exploring her new surroundings. Here is her Expat Story.
What is your favorite part of expatriate life?
I like the fact that I get the chance to explore different locations and learn about new cultures and traditions.
What has been the hardest part?
I was surprised how different the Netherlands was considering it’s just a short flight from the U.K., I wasn’t prepared for so many differences. When living in India you expect it to be vastly different but no so much in the Netherlands. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have had to take everything I learned in India and apply it here; there are more similarities than you might think! For me at least.
Where have you lived around the world? Favorite places?
I’m very well traveled, I have also lived in Spain for a short time, then we relocated to Chennai, India which has to be my favorite place so far for so many reasons, the people in particular and great service. Now I am living in the Netherlands and while it is beautiful, India does have the edge for me as one of my favorite places to explore and live.
Where would you want to move to eventually?
The Netherlands for us is a long-term move; however, I would never say never and California or Australia always sounds inviting; I think it’s the sunshine. Although I am very happy living here in the Netherlands.
What’s your sense of ‘home’?
There is a saying, “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” This is how I generally feel when arriving in a new country. I already decide it is home the minute I have made the decision to go there, wherever there may be. I believe you make a home, geography doesn’t change this process. As long as I am with my husband and Mr Sparkles (our cat, who has traveled everywhere including to India and back with us) then I am home.
What advice would you give to first-time expats?
The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality and instead of thinking how things maybe, see them as they are. If there was one learning I took away from India it was: acceptance. Accept what is, be patient, accept the fact things are different and “just go with it.” Perhaps the most important lesson was to always carry your sense of humor with you.
What has been the most helpful thing in adapting to your home abroad?
To accept what is and have a sense of humor. Not always easy, but an absolute must.
Share anything else about your expat life that you’d like us to hear!
It’s a privilege to have the experience of expat life, no matter where you are from, you may totally love your home country but by embracing your new life and the new culture you will have the best experience and the most wonderful stories to take back to your home country with you. Or maybe you won’t return. For me I found it harder to fit back into my old life back in the U.K. to start with then I did when relocating to any other country. Reverse culture shock is a real thing. If you are not happy look within first, you’ll usually find a solution, geography wont change this. Just be and enjoy the journey.
You can join Adria’s free Photo Walk group Social Photo here: www.facebook.com/groups/SocialPhoto.Netherlands.Photography
Adria has also set up a free group for locals and expats for sharing recommendations of all things Dutch including going out, shopping, events and more and you can join here here: www.facebook.com/groups/NetherlandsHollandBuyGoSeeDo
Follow her on Twitter @Adria_Photo.
*If you’d like to be featured on our ‘My Expat Story’ section, send an email to Alison at email@example.com and tell us about your experience as an expatriate by answering the above questions.
Don’t forget to include a picture of yourself, your website/blog information, and/or Twitter handle so we can help you connect with other expats from around the world!