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Balancing Bali: A Swedish Family’s Journey of Remote Work, School and Adventure in Bali

Meet this gorgeous Swedish family of five living life in a refreshingly way. Say hello to Ylva, Viktor, Amanda, Lukas, and Matilda, who’ve chosen beachside Sanur as their new home in Bali. Their story is all about embracing adventure and showing the world that wanderlust doesn’t have to take a backseat when kids come into the picture. So, sit back, relax, and join us as we explore their laid-back journey of remote work, school, and island exploration under Bali’s tropical sun.

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

We’re a family of 5 from Sweden: it’s me (Ylva), my husband Viktor and our 3 kids – Amanda (9), Lukas (7) and Matilda (3). I’m a freelance full stack marketer working with clients in Sweden remotely from Bali. I also run a newsletter and digital learning hub called Marketing At Scale, to help freelancers to up-skill within marketing and tech. Viktor works as an IT/Supply Chain Manager, but is on leave from his job in Sweden while we’re traveling.

Me and Viktor have always loved traveling, and our kids love it too! Our kids have all traveled abroad before the age of 1, and we truly believe that having kids is NOT a reason to stop traveling!

Swedish kids in traditional Balinese costume

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

There is something special about staying in a place over a longer period of time and we’ve always known that we want to take our kids on longer adventures abroad. We spent 6 months in Costa Rica, while we were on parental leave with our youngest – and we had an amazing time there. Our kids went to an international school in Costa Rica and we saw firsthand how much they developed during those months.

Our time in Costa Rica two years ago actually motivated me to become completely location independent. I resigned from my stable job in Sweden, while in Costa Rica, to start my own freelancing business. And now here we are on a one-year adventure abroad – where I can take my freelancing business with me!

When it comes to choosing Bali, we had been on vacation here in 2019 and really loved it. But, we were actually undecided between spending the fall in Bali or Vietnam for a long time, up until about 2 months before left!

We were on vacation in Vietnam for a month in 2022 and really liked it there too! In the end, Bali won over Vietnam because we sensed that there was more of a community of other traveling families here in Bali.

Waterbom Bali

How long do you wish to stay in Bali? When did you arrive?

We arrived in August of 2023 and we plan to stay at least until December. We were thinking about spending the spring of 2024 in Costa Rica, but we love it so much here in Bali that we might end up staying here! We plan to go back to Sweden in the summer of 2024.

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

We live in Sanur, which is a great location for families. It is a very relaxed beach town but still has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants, cafés and shopping. The traffic is not as busy as in other popular areas like Canggu or Ubud. The only thing you don’t get in Sanur is party beach clubs and sunsets, but the west coast is only a 40 minute drive from Sanur. Sanur beach is also very kid friendly and has a nice beach walk that runs along the coast for several kilometers – perfect for walking, running or biking.

Swedish expats on Sanur beach


What is school life like for your children? Is Bali a great place to raise them?

Our kids really like their school here in Sanur. Our 3-year-old didn’t know any English when we came here but she adapted quickly thanks to her teachers and the school environment. Our older kids knew English and made friends right from the start. We’ve also made it a priority to find after school activities for the kids here.
Both Amanda and Lukas have even been able to continue with their usual activities from back home, soccer and dance. We feel very safe living with our kids here in Bali.

Swedish kids in Lovina Bali

What are some of the challenges you have faced living in Bali?

One big challenge is the traffic on the island. We’re not really experiencing traffic congestion here in Sanur, but when we go to Kuta or Denpasar, it can get really bad. So that’s something to keep in mind when traveling to busier parts of the island. We’ve also found that when renting a villa, landlords in general want you sign a lease for an entire year. We were lucky to find something shorter term, but that is also something to be aware of.

Can you walk us through what a typical day for the family?

I’m working full-time while Viktor is on leave from his job in Sweden, so Viktor is in charge of the household and the family logistics. On a typical weekday, Viktor gets the kids ready for school and drops them off in a Grab taxi – we live about 10 minutes from the school by car. I head to a co-working space called Livit, about a 3-minute walk from our house. Me and Viktor either have lunch together at home or I have lunch at a nearby coffee shop. Viktor picks the kids up again around 2.30 pm. The older kids usually have after school activities: Lukas has soccer practice 3 times a week, Amanda has dance practice 2 times per week and they also have swimming lessons once a week. I usually have meetings with Europe in the afternoon, so I come home at about 4.30 pm.


Swedish expat family in Sanur birthday party

How has living in Bali influenced your personal and professional life, and what opportunities have you found here?

We live a very comfortable life here in Bali, compared to a more busy life back home. Here we can outsource cooking, cleaning and laundry. There is also less clutter to clean up  – because most of our stuff is in Sweden. We don’t need to spend time on house maintenance here either, since we are renting the house here compared to owning our own house back home.

Professionally, I honestly feel more productive and creative working from here. Bali is such an inspiring place to work from. Most days, I work from a co-working space called Livit, which I highly recommend. It’s a nice place to connect with other like-minded digital nomads, but it’s also a very productive and peaceful environment. Some days I head to a beach café and work from there – I love being so close to the sea and want to get in as much beach time as I can.

Livit co working space Sanur

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about Bali, and how would you correct them?

Maybe one misconception is that Bali is just a place for 20-something digital nomads, and that it’s too busy for living a family life. On the contrary, we’ve found that Sanur is really the perfect family location. There are plenty of other expat families living and working here.

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

The best thing about living in Bali is the simple lifestyle we can have here. We also love the tropical climate and the fact that we get the same amount of sun all year round. Coming from Northern Europe, this is a magical thing for us! Of course, we have only experienced the dry season, so we’ll see how we feel about the climate during the rainy season coming in November. Also, the food here is amazing – if you’re a foodie, you will NOT be disappointed!

Sanur villa and pool

What are some of your favourite tips and things to do?

Since we have work and school on weekdays, we prioritise doing fun activities around the island on the weekends. We like snorkelling, surfing, exploring waterfalls and other outdoor activities. We live about 10 minutes walking distance from Sanur beach so we try to go to the beach as often as we can.

Uluwautu beach 

What advice would you give to other families who are considering a move to Bali?

Choose your location carefully – think through what factors are important to your family in your day-to-day life. Sanur is a great choice if you want a relaxed beach town that still has good schools, reasonable traffic and a wide selection of restaurants and coffee shops. Sanur also has a wide range of activities such as yoga, padel and various water sports.

Smoothie bowls in Sanur

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

It takes time to adjust when setting up life in a country. Take it slow in the beginning and give yourself and your kids time to find new routines as a family. Count on a certain amount of “life admin” in the beginning. But trust me, it’s worth it!

If you want to follow our travel adventures – follow me on Instagram.

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