10 reasons why our family are living in Bali
Hello friends! We are LIVING IN BALI!
We are pretty ecstatic. We just moved to the beautiful island of Bali and have got visas that allow us to live here for six months. We spent October and November of 2017 here (check out our blog posts from that trip here) and after visiting Thailand and Sri Lanka for two months each, decided to come back to settle in Bali for now.
This wasn’t our original plan. Initially when we left the UK last year we vaguely imagined spending a month or two in around 8-10 Asian countries for our first year, and then possibly heading over to South America for our second year of full time travel.
Plans are overrated, right?
A few things contributed to our decision to settle for a while on Bali- people are often curious about our offbeat lifestyle so I thought I’d tell you the reasons here.
Living in Bali: Why our full time travelling family have settled
- Bali is just lush.
So, obviously this is subjective we but are absolutely and totally in love with this island. The weather is beautiful, the beaches are beautiful, the rice fields are beautiful, the food is gorgeous and nutritious, the culture is friendly and laid-back, the pace of life is slow without being stagnant, the cost of living is cheap and there is generally diverse religious tolerance here. We loved visiting Thailand for similar reasons, but prefer living in Bali.
Working while we are travelling full time is not easy. It doesn’t make for the most optimum productive work environment or fun travel experiences, in our experience (although we have had a blast, no doubt about it). For the first few months of our travel if we were out for the day I felt compelled to be noting down every last detail for a blog post or travel magazine article, or filming/ taking pictures. If I was working I felt guilty that I wasn’t with my family or ‘seeing the sights’. Accessing reliable WiFi was also often pretty tricky and became nigh-on impossible in Sri Lanka. Being on a beach is not fun if you are constantly worrying whether or not you’ll be able to hit your work deadlines because of power cuts or poor internet connection. In Bali, renting an apartment near to plenty of cafes with good WiFi, that isn’t an issue- my work time is more productive and I can then switch off better and enjoy down time with my family.
It is nice to be in a routine. In the UK we had a very loose routine based around a few playdates and home-educating meet ups each week as well as church and church-related activities. It is really nice to be able to get an idea of what’s on each week in an area (Balinese dancing classes for kids every Friday and Sunday, free yoga every Friday and Saturday mornings and a once-a-month pool open day at a nearby luxury hotel, for example) and be able to look forward to fun things on a regular basis.
- Self-care and health
Full time travel certainly has health benefits compared to a sedentary lifestyle in a country where the weather is prohibitive to outdoor activities, but it also has its downsides when it comes to health and self-care. Full time travel involves a lot of time on computers figuring out where to go next and booking flights, accommodation and trips. It also means that as you move on from a place quickly you spend a lot of time in a state of mental and physical transit, never really settling enough to figure out where the nearest gym or health food store is. Being in Bali for an extended period of time means that we can stock up on supplements, make our own healthy food that we can’t often get in restaurants (a simple green salad was basically non-existent in Sri Lanka) and regularly go to our local gym (£5 a month membership!) and yoga classes.
- Church/ Spiritual care
I can’t overstate how lush it is for us to be in a church community. We found a wonderful church that we attended for the 6 weeks that we were in south Bali last year, and have come back to see all the friends that made. It is so, so great to know that we can attend church every week and the kids thankfully LOVE the kids’ church here, so much so that they were asking to go on Saturday! There are lots of great projects that we can get involved with such as prison outreach, community sports programmes and anti-trafficking programmes.
We are currently renting a two-bedroom apartment; it might sound silly but having more than one room for our family feels so incredibly luxurious and we are loving it. Patrick and I have slept with the kids in our room for the last 6 months and Mum has often had one of them in with her too, so to have a kids’ room and our own space is just fab. Mum has her own apartment next door and is also loving having more of a homely space than hotel rooms. We also have a small back yard and a large open-plan living and dining area with a little kitchen (two-ring gas hob, fridge with small freezer compartment and a water cooler) and we are so happy to have space to do things like painting and create puzzle corners and reading corners like we did in the UK.
- The kids
As we are here for a while we’ll be getting the kids some more toys; currently all of their little characters fit in one small rucksack. We’re planning on purchasing a selection of Balinese musical instruments, some puzzles, books and workbooks and other bits. The girls haven’t been bothered at all by having a very small number of toys, but it is really nice to be able to get some bits for our Bali home so they can take the time to explore and discover. It also means we can meet up with the same kids on a regular basis, which is nice for them.
- The language
Six months of living in Bali gives us a good chance at learning the local language to a decent level. In Bali people speak two languages: Balinese and Bahasa, which is the official language of Indonesia. We are going to try and learn Bahasa as we can use it all over Indonesia. Learning the language of a place is important to be able to connect with people; it shows locals that you care about them and their culture and that we don’t expect them to speak English to cater to us. It also obviously means that we can form better relationships with people when there is less language barrier.
It sounds strange to say that travelling less will enable us to travel more, but it is bizarrely true. Having a base in Bali means we don’t have to lug all of our stuff with us when we want to visit a new place, whether that be another Indonesian island or simply another beach or waterfall a couple of hours away. We can juts pack a day or overnight bag and go, leaving our cases in our apartment. It also means we can explore Indonesia (there are over 17,000 islands!) without worrying about visas or paperwork, and that we can leave our apartment for a few days without worrying that we are sacrificing a spot in a good area, as we have a guaranteed place to come back. We will be able to travel ‘better’ by having a base here.
Patrick and I have always felt that we would perhaps be better suited somewhere that wasn’t the UK, and until last year we thought that place was Thailand. Bali has quickly formed a very special place in our hearts and having a six month visa means that we have plenty of time to learn about the way of life, the pros and the cons of living in Bali and Indonesia, and explore the possibility of being here longer-term.
Check out our most recent vlog from Phuket: