Living Abroad - Part 2 "10 Reasons We Love Living In Bali"
A little while ago I blogged the story of why Jared and I moved to Bali and what was behind our decision. The next step in our journey was actually moving to Bali, and what it was like when we got here. “How you are living in Bali and what is it like?” is a question that comes up a lot for us. When I reminisce over the last seven months, there has been a definite pattern of high highs and low lows. There are so many amazing things about living here but there are also a few things to weigh-up before making the move.
In this blog, I’m going to share all of the ways Bali has been incredible for us, why we love living here, and what life looks like for us now!
No. 1 - Freedom
Jared and I had felt mentally, spiritually and physically bound in our previous lifestyle back in Australia. It was due to a number of reasons that were complicated and hard to break free from. When we moved to Bali we found a sense of freedom we had never experienced before and it came almost immediately. We had zero social obligations, no defined work times, or general expectations placed on us. We finally got to invest our time into the exact places we felt needed the most nourishment. We spent time investing into our physical health, exploring our own definition of spirituality and creating space for mental wellness.
It is both the contentment and vulnerability in the people here, that makes Bali so special for those seeking freedom. There is so much joy found in living the simple life and the vulnerability of those on their own journey of ‘breaking the mould’ which makes for a beautiful ego-less society.
No. 2 - Community and Culture
We fell in love with the community and culture of Bali, and more specifically in Canggu, when we first visited this beautiful island in 2017. It’s a huge part of the reason we decided to move. Balinese culture is slow, minimal, and the people are generous in spirit and filled with gratitude.
There is also a great community amongst expats and travellers. Almost everyone here has taken a huge risk to be here, is seeking a new way of living or is here chasing their passion. We have been encouraged, helped, loved and gifted countless times by the amazing people around us.
No. 3 - Weather
When your nickname is ‘solar panel’, you can’t help but love Bali weather.
It can vary (much like Australia) but it’s quite dry between April and October, a little stormy from November to March and can be somewhat torrential anywhere between December and February. With the rain comes the wild humidity but we are getting used to it now. Back home we didn’t have air-conditioning so having that here has been a real treat!
Bottom line, missing a whole winter season for the first time is a life highlight!
No. 4 - Finances
Before moving, Jared and I saved enough money to give ourselves a runway of between 12 and 18 months on a somewhat modest budget. The obvious advantage to finances here in Bali is that the cost of living is incredibly low. We were able to come here with the financial freedom to upskill, focus on our health and enjoy travelling without the pressure of making money immediately.
Being able to go out for an amazing breakfast together with smoothies, coffee, and food for a third of the price back in Australia is something we never want to take for granted and feel incredibly blessed to have as our reality.
No. 5 - Travel
While we are here in Bali, our visa requires us to leave the country every 60 days. When we first arrived we thought this would be a bit annoying but now we love it! We are close to many amazing countries neighbouring Indonesia, and we definitely feel the itch to get off our island home every two months because, well, it’s an island, and a small one at that. This first year our visa runs have been to Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Next year we have Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines on the list!
We have also had the most amazing opportunities to travel within Indonesia while here and we have plans to explore even more next year!
No. 6 - Work
Jared and I came to Bali with a few goals, one of which was to create our own businesses doing things that we loved and that we were truly passionate about. As you guys know, I have started my business creating content and I am so lucky and proud to be working with so many incredible brands and talented creators all over the world. Jared has just finished studying web development and will be launching his freelance business in early 2019. Now, can I just have a proud wife moment for a second, and tell you he has put his everything into this and is one crazy talented man that I will be forever proud of. Ok, moving on...
The wonderful thing about being a startup in Bali is that 50% of the people around you are also navigating startup businesses, and the other 50% have been in your shoes when they first launched too. We are so lucky to be learning from and interacting with some of the world’s most talented, creative, inspiring and passionate people everyday. Another thing about Bali that I will never take for granted.
No. 7 - New Friendships
In every personality test I have ever taken, I am described (accurately) as a person who has few friends, but those few are my everything. I’m also a very typical introvert and don’t like going out past 8pm, so pretty much the perfect combination for making new friends… Haha.
Leaving my incredible friends behind and trying to make a whole new group of friends as a 20 something in a foreign country was completely terrifying to me. I mean, I can’t invite people to play diving games with me at the local pool like I used to 20 years ago... Luckily, it didn’t take long for us to meet some incredible people and the bonus was that I didn’t have to resort to my old ‘diving game’ invites. ;)
I suppose when you’re settled at home it can be hard to find a reason or the time to make new friends so we are lucky our situation has brought us into new friendships. We absolutely adore our new community here and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do without them. We all help each other, encourage each other and don’t take life too seriously together.
No. 8 - Food
Ok, here is the real shining star of Bali! As a 99% plant-based eater, Bali is my Disneyland. There are a multitude of plant-based cafes and most others have incredible plant-based options to choose from. The food is always fresh and creative (which I love!) and so affordable!
If you’re looking for food on a serious budget, warungs are your best friend. They are small Indonesian family owned cafes that serve Indonesian style meals for as little as a few dollars.
We have also found some great places to source locally grown produce and the recent addition of Bali’s first Zero Waste shop has been a game changer for me! I’m thinking I might need to expand to a whole blog post on where and how to eat in Canggu… Ok, it’s on the list!
No. 9 - Transport
Going from commuting a combined 35 hours a week in our former lives - Jared and I have never been so happy to sell our cars and trade them for scooters! They are by far the best and most affordable way to get around Bali and we absolutely love it! If you’re hiring a scooter on a daily rate, expect to pay between $5-$8 per day, and a tank of petrol will cost about $3 AUD. Riding through the rice fields or along the beach is by far the best feeling and is so addictive!
If you are going to scooter around Bali, I will say this - If you are not a confident rider, or if you plan on drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, or if you think riding a motorbike recklessly is amusing and/or a direct association with your appendage size, don’t bother. Be safe, wear a helmet and don’t put others lives at risk. Simple.
If you’re thinking riding isn’t for you, Bali is all over it and has some other super practical options. GO-JEK is like Uber on steroids. You can order a car or even a scooter to take you to your destination. They provide you with a helmet too so it is still a safe option for getting around. Again, this is all incredibly affordable with either options costing only a few dollars for a 5-15 minute ride.
No. 10 - Housing
When we first moved to Bali we moved into a three bedroom shared villa which was really convenient for us at the time. The perks were that we didn’t have to organise cleaners, gardeners, pool-maintenance, payment of community fees and garbage collection. Which all would have been a lot for us amongst our already crazy move. There are share houses all around Bali and I would highly recommend this option for people who are new to the area or single people staying for an extended amount of time.
After looking for a few months, we found our studio loft we are living in now, and we LOVE it! Apartments and smaller houses are still rare in Bali so these two minimalists were stoked to find one! We are currently paying a third of what we were paying back home on rent so that brings us to the other obvious perk of housing in Bali, the affordability. However, rental prices in Bali are going up quite significantly at the moment.
The last perk is that when you rent a villa in Bali, they are usually pretty happy for you to do anything you want with the property. We have taken out cabinets, added shelving, painted fixtures and installed our own permanent fixtures. It all depends on your landlord but ours is amazing and happy for us to do anything we like!
I hope that has given you guys a nice little peek into our life here in Bali. I will be popping up the next blog to this series very soon! - Part 3 “10 things to consider before moving to Bali”.
Thumbnail image by our beautiful new friend Shiloe of Camera Shi