COVID19 has taught us so many things and one of those things is that we can work and school online and remotely. It has also driven families to not hold off on their dreams and make the most of it too. It has been great helping families around the world plan their gap year in Bali for 2021.
THE RISE OF THE ADULT GAP YEAR
Personally having a gap year was a dream come true. I was even more grateful that one year became two amazing life-changing years. Deep down I always had a longing to experience life abroad and enjoy the challenges and new beginnings it would offer. Did I plan to do a year away before having kids? I was too busy getting a degree, working and saving for a house that I didn’t have time to think about it.
So what I am saying is that you can have a gap year or go on sabbatical at any stage of your life. I certainly wasn’t expecting to do it with two young children but that’s when it fell into place for us.
There is definitely a rise in the ‘adult gap year’ and I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on ABC Radio on about this topic. Have a listen here as I talk to Jessica about our experiences and decisions to move to Bali.
BUT WHY BALI FOR A GAP YEAR?
Sure the likes of New York or Hawaii sounded very exciting but after some initial research it didn’t make any financial sense and there would be roadblocks with visas etc. Even after thinking about places in Europe, it quickly made sense for us to explore South East Asia. And to top it off, my husband, who took a lot of convincing in the first place to do this gap year, was the one to suggest Bali! The idea of living in Bali came as a huge surprise to me and we had only ever holidayed there nearly a decade ago. However, it made perfect sense to live in Bali and read here to find out why.
A GAP YEAR WITH CHILDREN
When you tell people you are doing a gap year with children everyone tells you how brave you are. I really didn’t stop to think it was brave at all. Yes it took us out of our comfort zone and gave us many challenges as a family. But these challenges hopefully will teach our children resilience, appreciation for other cultures, compassion and so much more.
BECOMING AN EXPAT
There were so many ‘firsts’ and one of them was being an expat. It is strange to be lumped into that category and to find yourself in new and strange community. You are also torn between being part of an expat community and also being involved and mixed in the local community and culture that you came to live in. One thing for sure, it gave me new outlook, clarity and time to reflect. I have learned lessons and grown and developed in ways I never would have if I had stayed at home .
Together as a family we did things we normally wouldn’t do back home – shopping for fruit and vegetables at the local markets, regular visits to a baby orphanage, teaching English to village kids, sponsoring education for Balinese children, making international friends, learning a new language and the list goes on.
START PLANNING NOW
It takes a lot of planning and organising if you want to make this happen but it is definitely worth the hard work. That is why I decided to create a consulting business helping other families make a move to Bali. If it isn’t Bali that you are interested in, I can also consult on all decisions we made and research that was done in order to transition to expat life so you too can have a gap year. My skills and experience can be replicated for other countries.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
I am so grateful we were able to do a gap year because it has made us change the way we wanted to live our life. We never returned to our home in Sydney and decided to move to the Sunshine Coast, a regional centre in Queensland.
On the Sunshine Coast, I feel we have moved to another ‘expat’ community but within our own familiar country. Most of the people I meet aren’t born here and have moved their families from the city life. It is great to be amongst like-minded people who have made the move like us. Often these families have lived overseas at some stage in their life too.
We would have never done this move interstate had we not done our gap year overseas. Bali was good training! We needed to leave our bubble and realise that maybe there was a different life available to us and our children.