Skip to main content

Escaping Melbourne’s Chill: Our Pandemic-Inspired Island Bali Family Adventure

In February 2022, I had the opportunity to connect with Bec from Melbourne to discuss her family’s aspirations of relocating to Bali and what this exciting venture could entail. Our conversation delved into various aspects, including alternative schooling, distance education, cost of living, suitable residential areas, healthcare options, visa requirements, and much more. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and I had the privilege of witnessing their successful transition to Bali, where they’ve truly embraced the island’s unique lifestyle.

The feedback we’ve received from our clients has been truly heartwarming, with Bec sharing her thoughts: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Simone guided us in turning our dream of spending a year in Bali into a reality. From our very first Zoom chat, I knew that ‘this is really going to happen, there’s no turning back!’ Simone has provided us with a wealth of comprehensive and thorough information, and we’re grateful we sought her assistance early on. It has given us the peace of mind that we won’t overlook any crucial details. Thank you once again, Simone; your service is truly remarkable, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

It brings me immense joy to present this interview with Bec, offering you valuable insights into the journey of relocating to Bali.

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

We are a family of five from Bayside Melbourne, Victoria.

Rom works in IT and I’m an artist. Just the four of us have moved to Bali, our 2 sons, 15 year old Jaime and 11 year old Archie. Our 18 year old daughter Luci has recently moved to Sydney for work and she visits us in Bali as often as she can.

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

We arrived in early December 2022. We fell in love with Bali way back when we first came in 2012 and have been back every year since apart from during the pandemic. It was those missed trips during covid that made us yearn for Bali even more.

I’d always dreamed of moving the family abroad for a year or so, so the kids could experience a different culture and lifestyle and Bali just seemed like the perfect place.

walking in Ubud

What led you to discover Our Year in Bali, and could you share your firsthand experience of working with Simone to facilitate your journey?

We discovered Simone’s services early on via a Facebook group, while we were still just toying with the idea. I think it was during that initial conversation with Simone that it switched from a possibility to “We’re really going to do this!” Once we signed up, everything just seemed to fall into place.

We we’re connected with many of her contacts from visa agents, villa agents and school contacts. Simone was a great sounding board to any of our queries as they arose. It made the whole process so much less overwhelming. Plus the extra reassurance of trusted contacts in every area imaginable, was priceless.

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

I think the pandemic had a lot to do with our decision to move. From Roms ability to work remotely and noticing how quickly the kids are growing up and wanting to do something really different and exciting after being stuck at home for so long during Covid.

Also to slow things down, have a break from our busy lives and get a better look at this beautiful island that we’ve come to love.

We also wanted to escape Melbourne’s chilly winter.

Young expat sipping a coconut at Berawa beach

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

We began our journey in Sanur, but missed the familiarity of the south-west side;  Canggu and Seminyak area and our kids found it a bit too quiet. We then found a beautiful villa in the heart of Canggu, down a gorgeous gang where we got to know a few local families and business owners. The guys would often have a little bbq in the street and sit around drinking and cooking and it always smelt Amazing! They cooked us a farewell dinner and sat around on the ground and ate together off a huge banana leaf, it was such a treat, one of our favourite meals yet!

We are currently living in Bumbak, near Umalas, this area is a good compromise between Canggu and Seminyak. Quieter than Canggu and easier to get around and still with loads of great food options.We’ve only been here a week so we’re still getting to know the area. I think the area you choose depends on where you go regularly. We found we spend quite a bit of time at Finn’s Recreation Club, for gym and kids sports activities, plus it’s nice to be abit closer to Seminyak as we often like to go there for special restaurants when friends visit.

Tell us about your experience with schooling while in Bali.

We made the decision for the boys to attend online school in Australia. We figured they survived online schooling during the pandemic and this would allow for more flexibility in terms of where we decided to live. It’s also a much more affordable option.

In hindsight, we may have been better off enrolling our 11 year old in an international school as we found online schooling to be really isolating.

Fortunately Simone introduced us to Open flow Learning centre, an experiential learning facility, set in a beautiful bush/jungle property 20 minutes from Canggu. They have full time and part kids of all ages and do some really fun activities which Archie loves and it gives him a break from online schooling.

Online school suits our teenage son as it allows him the flexibility to plan his time how he likes and go to the gym regularly where he’s met a group of friends.

family a beach warung in Canggu

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when moving to Bali?

Fixing up and packing up our home to rent out was by far the biggest job. Followed by finding the right villa in a very inflated market. We were lucky to find a couple of great villas but there’s no bargains in the areas we like.

Being a learning advisor for my 11 year old son meant I didn’t get to paint nearly as much as I’d hoped. But really, that’s a small price to pay for getting to live in paradise…

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

Fortunately we haven’t needed anything major but our experience with GPs, dentists and specialists have all been extremely positive and professional.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use their hospitals in an emergency.

Cycling in Ubud

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

My husband starts work at 7am in line with Oz time and finishes up by 3, he’ll either work from home or from a co working space. Most days start with some Yoga and meditation, get my youngest settled with online schooling, which he does until about 2, then we might go to…

Gym or soccer or Basketball training or hit the beach, fly a kite, hang by the pool. On the days Archie is at OpenFlow, I’ll do a yoga class and some art.

I generally cook a few times a week but only because I enjoy cooking, it’s not necessarily any cheaper! We’ll eat out at local warungs once or twice per week or get Gojek delivered.

Weekends we often go out for brekkie at one of the many great local cafes or go to our favourite beach hangout, The Times, or one of the many beach clubs. Or we might go for a ride and explore new areas.

Occasionally we’ll have a weekend away and explore other parts of the island.

We’ll also throw in the odd cultural cycling tour, snorkelling, ceramics or jewellery workshops during the school holidays.

Melbourne expats doing pottery class in Bali

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

Firstly, the Balinese people and their warm, friendly, easygoing nature.

Their fascinating culture, the climate, beaches, the surf, the terraced rice paddies, magical temples, picturesque waterfalls, and overall spiritual vibes.

Also, the amazing variety of local and international cuisine, the relaxed lifestyle and the affordable cost of living.

There’s an energy here that you can’t quite describe, it can be both relaxing or chaotic depending on where you go.

Life is slower here, there’s more time to chat and laugh and just hangout with family, friends and the locals, without the usual interruptions and obligations of home life. Also having a housekeeper a few times a week means there’s more time to do the things we enjoy.

There’s a few great apps I’m a big fan of, that make life so much easier! Like Gojek for food and transport, Happy Fresh for supermarket delivery and Tokopedia, if you can navigate it.

Teenage boy chatting to the local Balinese school kids

What are some factors that families looking to live in Bali should consider?

Rental prices are currently triple what they were prior to the pandemic so that needs to be factored into your budget. Location is important too, it’s best to live close to where you frequent regularly as traffic can be intense. Every area seems to have something different to offer so it’s worth trying out a few different places before you lock yourself in.

expat family visiting water temple in Bali

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

Bali has a special kind of magic. Learn to go with the flow, respect their culture, be open to their kindness and in return, be kind, patient and grateful for the opportunity to experience this wonderful part of the world.

Ready to get started?

Book a free discovery call to learn more about how we can help you feel confident about a move to Bali.

Leave a Reply