British Expat Living in Bosnia And Herzegovina - Interview with David

Published: 8 Jul at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Bosnia And Herzegovina
David first arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina in late 1998 as part of the NATO Stabilisation Force. He worked with a media related project and found something special, not only about the country but also the people. In 2001 he met Tamara (who became his partner) and decided that a return permanently to the UK was no longer on the cards. He settled in a small village to the north west of Banja Luka the following year from where he now enjoys semi retirement and life as a Digital Native, vlogging, together with Tamara, their daily life. David's expat blog is called An Englishman in the Balkans (see listing here)

Looking over the River Vrbas valley from the village
Looking over the River Vrbas valley from the village

Here's the interview with David...


Where are you originally from?
I was born in West Kensington, London but moved with my parent to the suburbs as the city grew back in the late 1950's after that i joined the army and became a nomad.

In which country and city are you living now?
Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a village not to from the town of LaktaĊĦi

How long have you lived in Bosnia And Herzegovina and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been here for over 13 years and am not even contemplating leaving.

Bee Hives for great local produce
Bee Hives for great local produce
Why did you move to Bosnia And Herzegovina and what do you do?
I originally came as part of a Peace Keeping mission in the late 1990's. Today I am semi retired and conduct occasional social media training but in the main I live and document my life on-line.

Did you bring family with you?
No. My children are all adults, (I am divorced) but they come as often as they can (normally in the summer to enjoy the great weather), so I still get to see them.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
The transition has been made so much easier being with my partner Tamara. Although I find the local language extremely challenging I do get by. It actually can be quite refreshing to be somewhere that doesn't have the infrastructure I enjoyed back in the UK. Life isn't boring then.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
My friends are not too many but entirely local. I really don't have any desire to mix with other expats. When my guests come from the UK or elsewhere its super fun showing them around and the cultural differences.

Local hospitality
Local hospitality
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Bosnia and Herzegovina has some of the most stunning scenery and history to offer anyone, its position at the crossroads of 3 religions and its cultural melting pot is amazing. People should come explore, enjoy and see the real country that shows very little of the conflict from the 1990's that sticks in peoples minds still. Bosnia and Herzegovina is also more than just Sarajevo and Mostar (the normal visit destinations). If you are into extreme sports then this country surely must be a must to visit, and cheap too :)

What do you enjoy most about living in Bosnia And Herzegovina?
The hospitality of everyone. Having to cope with a different "rhythmn" of life than I ever was used to in the UK

How does the cost of living in Bosnia And Herzegovina compare to home?
Well to be honest, things are getting more expensive but overall it 60% cheaper :)

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Bosnia And Herzegovina?
Ummm how about Bosnia and Herzegovina being a very dysfunctional country. Having said that, the challenges can be overcome as long as you are open minded to the different ways they do things.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Bosnia And Herzegovina, what would it be?
Be open minded and try and see life through the eyes of the local population, not criticising the way they do things.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Trying not to get involved in the political and ethnic discussions of my friends and neighbours.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I hope not to be repatriated.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Be open minded.
  2. Get used to the local cuisine as quickly as possible.
  3. Try and learn as much about the local culture as you can.
  4. Have a small amount of nostalgic luxuries (mine in marmite) for those occasional days of reminiscing
  5. Document your life for future family generations.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I used to have a "traditional blog" but now use auto blogging multi media platforms such as http://www.bosniablog.eu which offers more to my readers. I am hoping people will like the idea and subscribe too.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
By E mail: [email protected]

About the author

Expat Blog ListingDavid is a British expat living in Bosnia And Herzegovina. Blog description: The Blog of David Bailey MBE "An Englishman in the Balkans" who arrived in 1998 and ended up staying, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From culture and traditions to tourism and events, discover the lifestyle of the peoples of South East Europe.
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