Back in early 2021, this family did some google searches on advice on moving to Bali and that is how they found me! We had a great Zoom call together and they decided on using my top consulting package to give them the best support and a greater understanding into Bali expat life.
Fast forward to our interview today and it is so wonderful to see they are thoroughly enjoying their new family life which was originally planed for 6 months and has now been extended to a year or more.
Meet: The O’Connell Family – Patrick, Hannah, Bella (4) and Bailey (2)
Originally from: Hannah from the UK and my husband Patrick is from Melbourne.
Arrived in Bali: January 2022
What made you decide to MOVE TO BALI?
Before our move (and during the pandemic) we were living in the UK, and this downtime made us realise we really wanted more from life. We had travelled to Bali twice on holiday before and fell in love with it. So we dreamt up the idea overnight and then put the wheels in motion.
How long do you plan to stay in BALI?
We initially planned to stay here six months and see how we felt at the end of that period. However after just three months of being here we applied for our KITAS to be able to stay for at least another year. We’re enjoying each day and going with the flow at the moment.
Where is your home in bali and why did you decide to live there?
We currently live in a short term rental in Canggu however we have just bought a brand new villa in Umalas which is going to be ready in October. It will be our home for now, and then an investment property if/when we decide to move out of Bali. We love the Umalas area as it’s quieter than the hustle and bustle of Canggu. There’s loads close by for the kids (including their school) and it’s a nice central point between Pererenan/Canggu and Seminyak/the airport.
What preparations did you make before arriving in Bali?
When we moved at the end of January, 7 days quarantine was still required in Jakarta before entering Bali so there were a few additional hurdles
in that respect. However before arriving we did lots of research into areas and schools, plus utilising all of Simone’s information. We booked an Airbnb for one month for when we first arrived so we had time to settle in and figure out where we’d like to live more permanently – I’d definitely recommend doing this and giving yourself time.
how do you financially live in bali?
My husband runs his own business helping designers learn business and entrepreneurship. It’s been an easy transition being online already.
What have the settling in challenges been for you?
Adjusting to life on a scooter for sure! Also finding what you need in the supermarket – but you soon get used to this one and figure things out. I thought I would struggle meeting people and making friends, but it’s actually been super easy. The expat Facebook groups here in Bali are amazing for that!
What tips do you have for those with young families?
I think the biggest thing people struggle with in Bali is the adjustment to transport with children, particularly from a safety perspective. So I’d say do whatever you are comfortable with. Don’t feel like you have to drive a scooter just because everyone else is. But if you do, please make sure you buy a well-fitting safety approved helmet, for all the family! Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people on the Bali expat Facebook groups – everyone is super friendly and in the same boat as you. That’s how I have made several of my friends and it really is a wonderful resource.
What does your daily routine look like?
The kids go to The Garden four days a week so most days we’re up at 6.30am, we get the kids ready and drop them off on the scooter. Pat and I then either work from home or from one of the many amazing cafes in Canggu. Patrick goes to the gym most days and I go to a yoga class once a week. I also have one day set aside to run errands and get my nails/hair done etc. We pick the kids up at 2.30pm and then head home to jump in the pool and play until Patrick finishes work around 5pm. At least once a week we head to the beach at this time to unwind from the day. If not, the kids generally get back in the pool again before dinner. The kids are then in bed at 7pm and we chill out together or catch up on some work.
How do you find healthcare? Do you feel safe?
The healthcare here in Bali so far has been great. Do not underestimate how many times you will visit the GP, especially if you have children. Being in a new country throws up lots of things you aren’t familiar with so it’s super important to find a great doctor. Dr Ristie in Berawa is amazing and all of the expats I speak to seem to go to her. I’ve also visited one of the local hospitals due to chronic sinusitis, and whilst it was fine, it probably wasn’t the best hospital in.
How do you get around Bali?
My husband and I both have scooters and the kids come on with us. I was very apprehensive about this at first so we got a driver for the first month, but with the Bali traffic it took so long to get anywhere (even before tourism had picked up properly again). I had never ridden a scooter before so I got lessons here in Bali and after a month of building up my confidence, I’m happy on the road. I take it slow and try to avoid riding at night. If I got out in the evenings with friends, I’ll always get a Gojek. For longer trips with the kids, for safety we always get a GoCar or a driver.
What is the best thing about living in Bali so far?
Being outdoors all the time and living so close to the beach! Being from the UK, we are not blessed with the best weather and I’m not a fan of the cold.
Here we are literally outdoors everyday, making the most of the tropical climate. We love taking trips to the beach early evening when the kids are home from nursery and we’ve finished work, there is no better way to end the day!
What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?
My biggest piece of advice would be to just go with the flow of Bali life. Everything happens at a slower pace here and the quicker you accept that, the easier everything becomes. Bali is wonderful, but it can also have frustrations (and it’s the same wherever you live), so just focus on the good things and remember why you chose to move in the first place. Oh and give yourself time to settle in – because it can take a good 6 months!
Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked?
Just that Bali is what you make it! Drop any expectations and just go with the flow, enjoying every single day. The transition to expat life can be overwhelming so give yourself time to adjust and settle in.