So who am I talking to? Jess

Originally from: Eumundi, Queensland, Australia

Arrived in Bali: January, 2015

Home in Bali was: Legian

I lived in an apartment down a small gang in north Legian, near Double Six Beach.

How long did you plan to stay?

I originally planned to stay for one year, but ended up extending to two years.

What made you move to Bali? 

I instantly fell in love with Bali on my first overseas trip back in 2002. I returned 17 more times before finally following my dreams and packing up my life in Oz and moved over to Bali. I loved everything about Bali and never travelled anywhere else on my holidays, so my family and friends weren’t surprised when I announced I was moving to Bali.

What do you normally do back in Australia?

I am a primary school teacher. 

This career allowed me to gain employment at an international school in Bali. Which is how I could move to Indonesia. The organisation I worked for arranged my Kitas visa, which made the move very easy. 

What was a typical day here for you?

Monday to Friday were my work days where I would work between 7:30am and 3:30pm. Outside of these hours I would be out and about exploring every corner of Bali; villages, cafes and beaches etc

Weekends were my absolute favourite, I would start weekend mornings off by going out for an amazing breakfast (I’m a huge smoothie bowl fan and like trying all of the new cafes and have many favourites that I frequented regularly).

Then I would let my scooter lead me on an adventure. Some days I would end up in the Bukit at one of the spectacular beaches, other times I would end up in ubud or Keramas or Pererenan.

I also spent many weekends relaxing in the amazing beach clubs scattered around south Bali and having weekly massage appointments at the day spa (I really miss that). Other times I would head to ubud for a quiet weekend of yoga, waterfalls and rice paddy views or ecstatic dancing. There was never, ever a dull moment!! 

A regular day in Bali for me was not complete without a sunset beach walk along Kuta beach, down to Discovery Mall or north to Batu Belig. If I ever missed a sunset, I would feel like I missed something important that day.

Tell us about your food experiences living here:

I felt so spoilt not cooking for two whole years!! That’s one thing I definitely miss about Bali, the incredible selection of delicious food! I even had my lunch delivered to school on a daily basis for a few dollars, which was an absolute treat!

From warung food to fancy restaurants, I frequented everywhere in between! Usually I would eat Indo food during the week from my local warung on Jl 66, it would cost around $2 for veggies and brown rice. Weekends I would treat myself and have dinner at places like Sea circus, Ultimo, Rumours or Biku.

What do you think about the locals?

I have so many special local friends. Many of whom feel more like family than friends. They are so kind and giving and always smiling!!!

What did you enjoy most whilst living here? 

I enjoyed the whole experience! the people, the food, the travelling. The adventures would definitely be my most favourite thing… I managed to visit many places within Asia and also frequent trips around the Indonesian archipelago. Some spectacular places I travelled to around Indo: Jogjakarta, Komodo National Park (I saw Komodo dragons in the wild), Flores, Semarang (rainbow village), Nusa Penida, Jakarta, Lombok, Lembongan. And there’s still so much more I want to see and explore!

What did you least enjoy?

Traffic and pollution.  

It would take much longer to get to places due to traffic, but I got used to it. The pollution I did not get used to, and it was always so upsetting seeing rubbish and the over use of single-use plastic. I feel like this is slowly starting to improve  with more awareness and regular beach clean ups happening and slow phasing out of plastic bags. 

What did you miss back home?

  1. My family (however I would constantly have family and friends coming to Bali to visit)
  2. Aussie chocolate (my family and friends would always bring me supplies when they visited)

Did you experience any “culture shock’?

Not at all, I totally embraced learning as much as I could about Balinese traditions and the Hindu religion and immersing myself into the culture. I was very lucky to have many first hand experiences with making offerings and attending ceremonies with my beautiful Balinese friends. 

How was it being part of an expat community?

It was really important being part of the expat community, I made many expat friends throughout my time. Tourists would come and go, but my expat friends were always with me for dinner dates or weekend adventures.

What was the best thing you did while living there?

Definitely the friendships I made and the travel. My passport is so full and my heart is even fuller with all of the incredible memories I will treasure for my lifetime.

If you had to describe Bali in three words what would it be?

  • Spiritual 
  • Paradise
  • Epic

What tips do you have to those looking at making the move to Bali:

  • Definitely respect the locals and form friendships with locals. Attend ceremonies when you are invited (You will learn so much).
  • Learn Bahasa Indonesian to help with communication. 
  • Explore far and wide, don’t always go to the same spots. 
  • Make the most of domestic travel around Indonesia.
  • Meet other expats and form friendships.
  • Make sure you have health insurance. (The international hospitals will look after you).
  • Get an Indonesian motorbike license if you plan to ride a scooter or car (the police will be happy to see this).
  • Most importantly, follow your dreams 🙂 that’s what I did and I had an amazing experience living in Bali, and may even head back there again one day to live again. 

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