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!
|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!