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Australian retires in Seminyak and purchases a villa to rebuild

In this interview, we sit down with Jane, a spirited Australian expat who exchanged the routine of life down under for the vibrant and laid-back charms of Bali. Originally hailing from Adelaide, Australia, Jane brings a wealth of life experiences, from her early years in country South Australia to a successful career in art and design. Having made Bali her home in December 2022, she reflects on her journey, motivations, and the unique aspects of her life on the Island of the Gods.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you originally from?

I grew up in country South Australia, then studied in Adelaide for 4 years. After completing a Bachelor Degree in Art and Design I taught Art in Loxton (also country South Australia) for 7 years and lived there for 20 years. I had four children there before separating and moving to Adelaide with the children 10 years ago. I’ve had my own Cosmetic Tattooing business in Adelaide for the last 8 years.

When did you first arrive in Bali, and what brought you here?

I first visited Bali in 2013 when I was 40 and have been back at least twice a year ever since, usually with the children.

How did you hear about Our Year in Bali, and what was your experience like with Simone’s assistance?

I found Our Year in Bali on Instagram I think. My experience with Simone has been a real flow on effect. Simone has introduced me to someone, who introduced me to someone, and so one. Simone and her referrals have seen me breeze through getting set up in Bali. Simone’s villa agent has become a close friend and through her I have leased a villa to live in and purchased a villa which I have demolished and am re-building, both in Seminyak. I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing contractor so my building project has not been stressful at all.

What motivated you to move to Bali, and how did you go about making the decision to do so?

I always felt so happy in Bali. I made the decision a long time ago but was waiting for my kids to get a bit older so that I could move here permanently. My youngest son was planning to move over with me and attend the Australian school but he decided at the last minute to stay in Adelaide and go to boarding school. So I’m here on my lonesome but between the kids and friends, I’m rarely on my own! I also have my dog here and have rescued a kitty so I’m very content. The kids love having an alternative base here that’s only a 5 hour flight and so different to home.

    Kitten rescued in Bali     

Where in Bali do you currently reside, and what made you choose that location?

I’m living in Seminyak. I love Seminyak because it has everything you need close by. Great coffee, restaurants and shopping. The traffic isn’t too crazy here so it’s easy to move around. I walk most places or grab a cab or bike. I very rarely go outside of Seminyak because I can’t deal with the traffic. If you want to go anywhere, it’s definitely not a simple exercise.

This was an early retirement move for you, please share your experience

I took an early retirement at 49 to move to Bali to focus on my painting. I’ve been very lucky because I haven’t had to work here and I’ve been able to enjoy a very laidback lifestyle along with my painting. Eventually my villa will become a business and I may pursue a commercial path with my painting. Let’s see what evolves.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since moving to Bali?

I find this life a lot less challenging than living in Australia. Your money goes a lot further and I feel I have a lot more freedom and a lot less responsibility here. No one is in a hurry here so at times the waiting can be frustrating. Traffic is a nightmare if you want to go anywhere outside of your own little community.

What are your thoughts on healthcare in Bali, and do you feel safe living there?

I have in-patient cover only incase I need to be medi-vacced or anything major. Other than that, healthcare is efficient and affordable. I do not have any concerns around healthcare. I feel I can access anything I need but I am in Seminyak where there are many emergency medical centres and a couple of major hospitals.

Can you walk us through what a typical day looks like for you living in Bali?

Monday and Thursday mornings at 8am I have a private tutor come to my villa for a 2 hour Indonesian lesson.

Every morning I go to Kim Soo for coffee with my dog where I have made so many friends and met so many interesting people. I paint for 3-5 hours during the daytime. I rotate between the gym, lap swimming and F45 and I absolutely love taking the dog for a walk through the Seminyak lanes or to the beach in the evenings. I also meet with my building contractor regularly at my villa to check progress and make decisions. In the evenings I stay in with the pets and order from Gojek. I go to restaurants occasionally when friends are here. I have not cooked once since I moved here. The food is so good here and so cheap and plus I hate cooking!

How do you typically commute around Bali?

I walk to most places as I don’t go far. I grab a gojek car to the supermarket and back. If it’s not too hot I’ll use a gojek bike. I rarely go outside of Seminyak. If I have quite a few places to go I’ll get my driver for a half day.

What would you say is the best thing about living in Bali?

The vibe here is so nice. No big egos or angry people! The local people are so lovely and I also meet so many interesting foreigners who are all here doing interesting things. I love how cheap everything is, especially the food which is so fresh and delicious. I feel like life is so much more simple over here. I also love the weather and the comfort of my beautiful villa. I love walking everywhere.

I think the most special thing is having staff! They make your bed every morning, change towels, sweep and mop. They will prepare food, make coffees and drinks, do any dishes. They turn the beds down at night. It’s just such a treat to have this every single day of the week!

Australian expat in Seminyak in a villa

What are some factors that retirees should consider before making the move?

Your money definitely goes a lot further here. Having a helper is a huge treat and really makes life easy. It’s definitely a slower pace. If you have the money and are in good health, I really can’t see any downfalls of retiring here except that it’s very hot outside!!

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience living in Bali that we haven’t covered yet?

I feel like I’ve escaped the cost of living prison in Australia. It’s so nice to not have people taking money out of your accounts every week for stuff you don’t want but can’t avoid like rates, water bills, insurance on everything, ridiculous utility bills!

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