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From Honeymooners to Expats: Dutch Couple Makes Bali Their Home for a Year

Meet: Lydia and Maarten 

From: The Netherlands 

Arrived in Bali: May 1st 2022

What made you move to Bali?

In 2019, my partner Maarten and I visited Bali for our two-week honeymoon and instantly fell in love with this beautiful island.

In 2020 a life-changing event happened. We learned the hard way that life can be short. This impacted us in all aspects of life and it made us reflect and get clear on how we wanted our lives to look like moving forward. We wanted more freedom, to live with intention and put ourselves first. Since then, we approach life with the mindset to rather give it our all and have it turn out differently then expected, than always be wondering “what if”?

Within just two and a half months of having our first serious conversation about going to Bali, we boarded a plane and embarked on a new chapter in our lives.

Kuningan village in Ubud

Home in Bali is in Munggu and why did you decide to live there?

We are staying with two of our close friends in Munggu. We have moved around quite a bit before we are now actually in a place that really feels like home. It is a beautiful villa, in a quiet area surrounded by rice paddies and with incredible sunset views.

One of the things I love to do is to drive towards Seseh and Cemagi (and further up the coast), exploring the more undiscovered parts of this area, drinking my morning coffee or working in cafes that are less crowded, and soaking in the authentic, natural beauty of the island.

Dutch couple living in Seseh beach

How long do you plan to stay?

We are planning to visit family for a few weeks in the spring/summer and coming back to Bali afterwards is definitely one of the options.

Dutch man watching view on Nusa Lembogan

Please share your working life and how it has changed living in Bali.

Before coming to Bali, I worked a corporate job (in communications and project management) in a skyscraper building in the City of Rotterdam. I was excited to be working in such a big city, going for a stroll along the river on my lunch break and being able to get a coffee on every corner.

However when the pandemic hit, everything changed. I worked from home for two years, which initially felt great – no commute, starting the day with yoga and cuddling my cats in between work. But eventually I started to miss the personal connections, the variety of my days and going out to have meetings.

After making the decision to come to Bali I quit my job and started as an Online Business Manager. I provide management support to authentic and purpose-driven CEOs, combining my skills and expertise with a drive to make an impact. I love the freedom and fulfilment this gives me, and it feels like I’ve built a business around my life instead of the other way around.

Lydia in the ricefields of Bali

What is the expat community like- has it been hard making friends?

The community vibe in Bali is incredible. Whether I’m at a yoga class, having my morning coffee or attend a digital nomad workshop, people are always open and eager to chat.

One day, a girl I didn’t know came up to me at my favourite café and introduced herself. She followed me on Instagram and came to the café because of my stories. The fact that she came up to me to talk made my day and we met up again for coffee and got to know each other better. The people here are so positive and genuine, and it feels amazing to have these meaningful connections!

What are the biggest challenges you find living in Bali?

The biggest challenge has been finding a good quality and reasonable priced home. But overall the people in the different places we’ve stayed at are incredibly welcoming and friendly.

Dutch couple hiking in Bali

How do you find healthcare? Do you feel safe?

I was a bit concerned about the healthcare in Bali before moving here (just because I didn’t know how it would be). But from my experience with the hospital, general practitioner, and dentist here, I can confidently say that my mind has been put at ease. The only point of attention is the availability of certain medications, but overall, I feel safe and secure with the healthcare services here.

What does your daily routine look like?

I love to start the day early with a yoga class or morning walk at the beach, followed by a smoothie bowl and a morning coffee in a cafe. Then I open up my laptop to get a few hours of focussed work in before meeting Maarten for lunch. After lunch, I might take a refreshing dip in the pool before getting in another few hours of work. With some of my clients and my business partner in different time zones, I often have calls scheduled for the end of the afternoon. I love to watch a breathtaking sunset, whether it’s from the beach or from the comfort of my home. I like to end the day by going to dinner with Maarten and having a relaxed night chatting with friends, reading or journaling.

Coffee in Bali

What is the best thing about living in Bali?

It is tough to choose just one thing. There are so many things about Bali that I absolutely love. The weather is amazing and the Balinese people are so kind and welcoming people. But also little things as palm trees, colourful flowers and seeing the morning offerings bring a big smile to my face.

Chatting to a local Balinese man in Sidemen

What advice do you have for other couples making the move to Bali?

My advice would be to don’t rush things and talk to people. Invest in making connections here and ask around to hear experiences and get advice. And of course to go out and explore different parts of the island, take it all in. Life moves pretty fast! There’s so much beauty on this island, so take your moments to enjoy and appreciate that.

Dutch lady on the beach in Bali

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.

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