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100 things I have learnt while living in Bali

There are so many things you can learn when living as an expat in any country but living in Bali gives you a spiritual feeling, something more than meets the eye.

Bali is known as the island of the gods and on reflection we have all absorbed such a rich, diverse culture for the last two years. The Balinese live harmoniously and see spiritual meaning behind almost everything.

Looking back on photos when we first arrived you have a completely different family.

Literally the first cafe we went to for breakfast the next morning after we arrived had this sign hanging up on the wall in front of us which read  ‘Be brave, take risks, nothing can substitute experience’. Well this was a good sign and good start!

So much has changed since then and it is refreshing to see the humble Balinese reminding me of the simplicity of life and happiness with having less possessions and more human connections and love. The strong sense of community and expression of gratitude is so impressionable.

I can see the kids have also taken in so much and hopefully all that we have gone through will leave a strong ever lasting mind-print.

I am writing this now because tomorrow night (yes Christmas night!) we are finishing our Bali chapter and moving to a regional city in new state in Australia. We are renting a beautiful home for a year and the kids will start a new school. Lots of exciting changes coming our way! A change that wasn’t dreamt up all too long ago and was a result of moving away from Sydney.

Below is a mix of things I have learnt (some I already knew but now know better, or still learning) in no particular order.

To be honest I could write another 100 more but lets stick with this extensive list for now!

  1. living in Bali has been life changing
2.  children can adapt to anything
3.  helping others becomes up close and personal
4. new appreciation for fruit & vegetables, the growing and harvest process (loved buying at local markets every week)
5. everything in life is negotiable
6. being a witness to the daily spiritual practices and devotion to the Hindu faith and knowing that the youngest generation will continue these traditions (loved seeing blessings on offerings in a cafe, at the beach or at a busy street intersection)
7. you can live outside your comfort zone
8. going barefoot before entering a house makes lot of sense and barefoot is way more relaxing
9. my children have compassion for others and need a lot less materials than I thought
10. being part of an expat community is so interesting, friends happen a lot quicker and become your family and there is no BS
11. dont be afraid to ask for help, see challenges as opportunities
12. you can bring four suitcases for a year away and better still return like that too!
13. forever friendships are made when you least expect it
14. my family and I are not precious about living in a furnished place with less personal possessions and can move around
15. how fun and frustrating it is learning Bahasa Indonesia and seeing the enjoyment Indonesians have when you try and converse with them
16. google translate is a great invention!
17. life can be a lot simpler and by moving away you can make it even simpler (less expectations and commitments)
18. there is no groundhog day in Bali – love how every day is different here and you see the world differently too!
19. waking up to roosters and prayer calls changes the morning brain and city routine
20. meditation can be done anywhere, anytime and you release stress every time you do it. I did a Vedic meditation course and now know this will be a life skill.
21. you can learn something from anyone no matter what background or belief
22. everyone has as fascinating and unique story and it has been so rewarding interviewing other expats
23. its great getting inspired from entrepreneurial people living on their own terms, creating a free life with a same mindset
24. you dont have to be brave to move overseas
25. recycling and education is desperately needed here
26. how people have so little can feel they have so much
27. we take health for granted
28. dont judge a book by its cover
29. think outside the ‘ricefield’
30. dont see yoga as exercise but really a spiritual science designed to awaken us to our highest potential
31. dont judge Instagram photos as the real deal – photos can be so touched up and changed so dont be disappointed!
32. communicate simply to others
33. a smile goes a long way and the Balinese have the most genuine smile. You can see they are content with life through their smiles.
34. documenting your life helps self reflection and others too
35. we have learnt many cultural traditions and one the kids loved is there is no tooth fairy in Bali but Indonesian children throw their teeth backwards over their shoulder and over the roof of their house! This custom welcomes good health for their whole family.
36. not in a million years did I think we would adopt two sick, stray dogs (even when I am highly allergic and need to take strong meds!) and by doing so you learn some much about your children and caring for animals
37. its a privilege to live in someone else’s country
38. rice is life
39. patience is taken to a whole new level here!
40. dont take anything for granted (first hand we have seen families with no electricity or clean water)
41. daily challenges make you become creative here and you can do things a little unconventional!
42. you can still feel so close to friends and family even when you live far
43. old habits still exist wherever you go
44. you can find beauty in the smallest of things
45. generosity can be so small, simple and wonderful
46. you can just do only one thing a day and life will go on (patience is a great skill!)
47. things can be used over and over again – the sustainability message
48. safety should not be taken for granted (so frustrating seeing so many people not wearing a helmet!)
49. not matter where you are in the world or where you come from we are all human and are 99.90% the same
50. a fresh coconut water a day keeps the doctor away
51. busy life doesn’t always equal a meaningful life
52. surrender, surrender, surrender
53. learn to say no
54. you dont always have to have high expectations
55. our family health has improved living in the tropics!
56. Bali time is ‘rubber’ time, punctuality has a whole new meaning!
57. Bali is a cash based society and it makes you more aware of what money you spend everyday (especially when the highest note is $10!)
58. volunteering your time not money is more important
59. dont care what people think
60. freezing cold showers can be good for the body?!
61. thongs (flip flops) being the national shoe are the best idea!
62. be more open and honest
63. children appreciate the small things in life
64. who really cares, does it really matter?
65. everyone shares something in common
66. push yourself to do things you normally wouldnt do
67. being a role model for your children takes on a whole new meaning when you show them the struggles and highlights of relocating your life
68. settling into a new country takes time, dont rush it
69. “never in a million years would I think”….I would live here etc etc etc life is SO unpredictable!
70. home is where your family is
71. you can learn something new everyday
72. Bali sunsets are magical
73. nothing beats a $8 massage!
74. seeing the hundreds of kites in the sky and hearing them buzz everyday during kite season is amazing
75. things you thought were important actually are not
76. everyday we get exposed to a third world culture but also from other expats and their diversity
77. respect for others and appreciate that your way doesnt always mean it is the correct way
78. live in the now, cant change the past, dont focus on the future
79. take what you need from nature and appreciate it, nature is also more powerful than you can imagine
80. we take having English as our first language for granted
81. judgement goes out the window – there is no such thing as normal
82. if you want to live a life you have never lived, you have to do things you have never done
83. amazing how strangers quickly become your friends
84. you never ever fully appreciate home until you leave
85. life can be hard, different and foreign and its ok
86. amazing how you can get used to almost anything
87. we can live without our ‘Aussie’ favourites and discovered we dont actually have any?!?
88. more confident to strike up a conversation with anyone (introverts can survive)
89. my family has never been homesick one day in two years?! (Not sure if that is good or bad?!)
90. moving away from your home exposes you to a whole new education path for children, we have met people world schooling, unschooling and home schooling
91. don’t compare your home to your new country
92. flexibility is key and helps settling in
93. it is possible to put yourself out there and you never know what might happen
94. look at things again with genuine curiosity like you did as a child
95. you can feel lost and lonely but thats ok
96. what a small world it is
97. there is a natural flow of traffic amongst the chaos of the famous Balinese traffic -road rage doesn’t have to exist
98. smoothie bowls are a great breakfast invention and Bali does it right!
99. you have to understand that pretty much anything can fit on a motorbike or pushbike
100. love is life

What do you think of this list? Love to hear your thoughts and favourites!

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