French family move to Bali for their 6 month “mini retirement”
Meet: Kathy, Johan and Zoey,
Originally from: Annecy, France
Arrived in Bali: May 2022
I was super excited to finally meet my clients Kathy and her gorgeous 3-year old daughter Zoey in Bali. Sadly I missed catching up with Johan because he was over at the coworking space in Canggu where he works during the week.
Kathy had just picked up Zoey from kindy and they showed me their cool apartment in Berawa where they had been staying for the past couple of months. It was so nice to hear Kathy share with me that some of my other clients that I had connected her with, were all meeting up together on a regular basis for either children playdates or a fun mums night out!
It was so special to finally see Kathy and her family living in Bali because we had first spoken about their plans before COVID! Plus they were another client who had never been to Indonesia before as well. I love that they didn’t give up on their dream, bringing it to fruition years later – now their story inspires others which also becomes part of the interview collection that they once used to read themselves back in France dreaming of the day!
How did you come across Our Year in Bali?
After investigating the web, forums, blogs about Bali we starting to read regularly the “ meet expats family” section. Once we made our decision to move, it felt like Simone was the right person to help us with the move (bearing in mind we had never been to Indonesia before!) We contacted Simone back in March 2020. We were starting to talk to move on a sabbatical year in Bali and when covid hit all our plans got stopped. We’ve been in contact with Simone for almost 2 years till we finally arrived here!
What experience did you have with Simone assisting you?
She was incredibly helpful, available and reactive. We bought the living guide and additional support which gave us a deep and clear insight on different key information’s you would normally take weeks or months to gather by yourself. It was key for us with a child to make the move as easy as possible and hassle free.
What made you move to Bali?
Life is too short, and we are not willing to wait for our retirement to finally travel properly and make the most of life. Therefore, we decided to take a “mini retirement” from our routine in France. Bali seemed like the perfect choice: good weather, large choice of landscape: sea, cliffs, volcanos, jungle… and “cheap” living (at least we thought at the time which is no longer fully accurate).
Where is home in Bali and why did you decide to live there?
Canggu seemed to be the easy choice as it gathered all the criteria’s we were looking for: a large choice of schools and type of education for Zoey, close to the sea to surf and have excellent internet connection in order to work remotely.
How long do you plan to stay?
We planned to stay 6 months, and 3 months have gone so fast. We are currently debating (mainly on my side) to stay longer!
What does school life look like?
The choice of the school was linked to the location mainly. What we liked about Alam Atelier is their nature based and child centered philosophy. The large outdoor facilities are very impressive and the teachers there are all so kind and warm to the children. The language barrier for Zoey was my big
concern and the teachers are giving extra attention to Zoey and truly trying to help her to integrate and make her feel in a safe and welcoming environment.
What are the biggest challenges you have found so far?
I think the biggest challenge is the lack of sidewalk and independence. Not being able to walk 50 meters without the fear of being hit by a car and even more with a child is the hardest for us. On top of that I still don’t feel comfortable driving a scooter so we are dependent of a Gocar which makes each trip double the amount of time. Oh and the heat is something that really takes getting used to!
How do you find healthcare? Do you feel safe?
Generally, we are quite happy with the health care system.We have had to go a few times to the doctors and the local emergency room. I would recommend having a list of recommended dentists, doctors from expats like what Simone provides. Zoey fell very badly in a playground, and we had to go to the emergencies, the locals recommended us a dentist which ended up being not at all at the standard we hoped for (in terms of hygiene and check up) but Simone found us the name of a good dentist which was very professional and made the difference.
What does your daily routine look like?
Typical day is Johan drops off Zoey at school and goes to Bwork (co-working space) to work till the end of the afternoon. I get up earlier than Johan and Zoey and head out to the gym, and then go and work in a coffee shop till 2.30pm which is the time I go and pick up Zoey from school. Being an interior designer (www.studioveyrat.com or instagram: studio.veyrat), I love to change places and get inspired by the stunningly designed cafés and restaurants. Afternoon’s we either meet up with other moms for playdates or head out to the pool. As we live next to the beach, in the evenings we like to all meet up at the beach and walk, have a swim and enjoy the sunset.
How do you get around Bali?
That’s the tricky part. Johan drives a scooter. But for me despite having taken lessons, the intense traffic and bad driving of certain tourists lately in canggu makes me scared of driving alone. When we need to go somewhere I either take a Gojek or Gocar.
What is the best thing about living in Bali?
The freedom and the mentality here… it’s so wonderful to live here, the rhythm is so different and the culture so much friendlier. And you meet likeminded people from all horizons quite easily.
What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?
Do your research and make sure to have sufficient savings or a business running as it’s not so cheap to live here. Once that’s sorted, don’t over think it! And just take the leap. Bali is magical, it will take a few weeks to get acclimated and understand the habits and local customs, but Bali (and the people) grow on you and you won’t want to leave.
Do you want to live in Bali and keen to find out more?
Our Year in Bali is a consulting service offering packages that give you extensive expat information living guide, planning lists, key resources, checklists, cost of living guide, a directory of trusted providers, introductions, support and much more. Click here to book a free 30 min Move to Bali consultation.