Britany George is a blogger and photographer extraordinaire, and my first ever ‘people’ feature up on the blog — where I will highlight bloggers, expats, and people making, creating, and doing cool things.
It was the last day of summer, but the Dutch weather ushered in fall early with heavy rains and stormy skies over Den Haag. That’s where I met Britany George. Fellow American expat, and blogger.
We met at the station, and after a brief walk in the miserable rain decided to head back in, and hunker down at a cafe. Britany’s voice is the first American accent I’ve heard besides Jeff’s since arriving here in the Netherlands. It’s refreshing, and feels good to speak freely, and fast, without thinking twice.
Britany’s fresh faced, hair in a half bun, and still glowing with a bit of the southern California sun she picked up while visiting home in August. While she’s only been in the Netherlands since January, she has assimilated into the Dutch style effortlessly — which I like to call: naturally chic. Or maybe that’s just how they dress in the always-stylish California.
We take a seat at Huis Kamer and dive right in, talking about California Relish — her brainchild, her blog, and growing business. It’s multifaceted but for one, it’s an expat blog — polished with lifestyle and travel stories besides crisp colorful photos. It’s a showcase of some of her finest work, and a fun place for expats, travelers, and clients alike to browse.
If you haven’t clicked the pictures yet and checked out the page, do it! I’ll allow it.
She’s a full time freelance photographer, and has been for years. And while that word may sound scary, Britany says it’s far from that — noting that back home in California, she was often biting off more than she could chew. She still writes and photographs for Diabolo Beverages — a craft soda company — where she’s found joy, and her niche in the photography world. Her love for food and drink staging, now taking center stage in her business, “Before I was taking on so many other things I didn’t have time to build a business around it. But now that I’m here, starting new, it’s the perfect opportunity to dive right in”.
California Relish then becomes more than a blog, but a standing portfolio and voice for Britany as a creative. Throughout the site she’s combined her passion with her talent — and if you weren’t already convinced of her photography skills — there’s always Relished Images (see what she did there?), where’s she’s made her best photos easily accessible and categorized.
Britany, and her blog California Relish, are a prime example of the growing lifestyle trend and buzzword — digital nomad. A digital nomad is someone who leverages technology in order to work remotely — and while this person is often an avid traveler, it can also be applied to more permanent expats like Britany. Digital nomads can be anything photographers and writers, to computer programmers — and they’re often freelancers. Making and creating their own businesses online, and marketing their abilities to draw in new clients.
But as a digital nomad, and especially one with a bit more roots — it’s important to make connections in your new country. That’s also where Britany’s gotten this transition right. She doesn’t just sit back and wait for clients to find her on the world wide web, she’s reaching out to companies she’d like to work for and networking with other professionals. It’s an important reminder for anyone starting out that no one’s going to hand you work — you’ve got to go out and get it for yourself.
But Britany wasn’t lured to the Netherlands by the dream of a life as a digital nomad — it was love that brought her to this beautiful country. She decided to make the move permanent after many back-and-forths between California and the Netherlands, to visit her boyfriend. When I ask her if she ever thought she’d live abroad she laughed out loud and said no, shaking her head, “My mom always had these fantasies I’d live in Paris or something. But I never thought I’d end up living abroad. I’ve always just been one to go with the flow”.
But the life of an expat and digital nomad isn’t all excitement and jetset. Britany soon opened up about the difficulties of launching a business — let alone in a new country — and admitted that the feeling of adventure is starting to ware off, “At first everything’s an adventure. Everything’s new. Everything’s exciting. But now I’m starting to realize this is it — I’m here. And I need to start putting down some roots, and gaining support.” I haven’t been here half as long as Britany, I understand where she is coming from, because I am beginning to feel the same way. The adventure is never really lost, you’re just soon all-too aware of your responsibilities.
Before long we’re gabbing about cultural differences and our biggest adjustments. We agree that one of the hardest challenges is that everything here takes a lot longer, and a lot more planning. Need paperwork done? Expect a few hoops to jump through. Need to get a bunch of stuff home from the store? Stuff it in a bag, balance in on your handlebars, and hope you don’t tip over on your way home. It’s a pain in the ass, but now — we wouldn’t really rather it any other way.
Life as an expat is a challenge in itself, but Britany is handling the move and her budding business with grace and determination. And if you weren’t already impressed, she’s also on a coffee cleanse right now — blazing the trails ahead without the buzz of a hot brew.
Britany shows us that building a business around your passion is possible — even in a new country, and under a new system you’re not quite sure how to navigate. It’s about going after what you want, finding your niche, and marketing yourself.
Can’t wait to see what she accomplishes in the future but until then — be sure to follow along on her adventures, and get delicious ideas for some homemade concoctions on CaliforniaRelish.com