Meet: Giulia, Marwan and son Alessandro
Originally from: Italy and my husband is from Jakarta
Arrived in Bali: The first time I was in Bali was in 2012 because I was doing a thesis in Anthropology. It took me 2 years to move permanently here!
What made you move to bali?
In 2013 I joined a volunteering program in the slum area of Jakarta, Tanjung Priok. This is where I learned my first words in Indonesian. A local family hosted me for 2 months while of was teaching English to kids of that area. In 2014, I finished my Masters Degree in Italy and I was finally able to move to Indonesia. On October 5th of that year I decided to travel by land from Europe to Indonesia. I started in St Petersburg, Russia and travelled all the way to Bali without taking any flights for 5 months. I founded the One Way project, One way to Bali where only one way tickets were issued heading to Bali by train, tuk tuk, ferry etc.
I fell in love with the people, the unique culture, the slow paced life and the stunning nature. It was love at first sight, I felt like i had found the ideal place for me to live!
Where is Home in Bali and Why did you Decide to live there?
It was in the Umalas for seven years and now it is in Seminyak. Umalas is a great neighbourhood for expats who want to stay in a central position without giving up to the quietness and there is still a bit of rice fields here and there. It feels vintage to live in Seminyak now, there are great deals, cute cafes, and it feels like when I first move to Bali.
Please tell us about your villa and neighbourhood.
The current place I am living in is my husband’s property (hunting and renting villas is part of his profession), it was under management but now we decided to maintain it by ourselves. We moved here because it was very beautiful and ideal for expecting and raising our baby. It is located in a complex of several other villas. The neighbourhood is so quiet and we love to have walk with our dogs and son everyday. Surrounding the area there are many cafes and restaurants that make nearby Petitenget famous over the last decade, namely Potato Head, Biku, Mano beach club, and many others.
How long do you plan to stay in BALI?
We don’t know! Bali is a dynamic place, I usually end up moving to another place every time I feel I have finally finished the decor of a villa hehe! We already changed five houses in 5 years so I keep my mind open to moving again and I like it this way too! We try to keep everything minimalistic so we don’t have much to move or take care of!
how are you able to financially live in Bali?
At the moment thanks to our family savings and my husband’s job. I used to work as Tour Manager for different Italian Tour Operators in Indonesia and as travel designer for Italian travel bloggers by helping them organise a custom trip off the beaten track to groups of no more than 12-14 people. After COVID I lost my job and then a few months later I was pregnant so I am a full time mom now but I keep my work updated as I love traveling around Bali.
What is the best part about living in bali with a baby?
Looking at the expat community in these past years I always thought “If I will ever have a child I want to have it here”.
So many pros! Children here are raised in a multicultural environment that shape them to be more tolerant and open to diversity and they are also enriched by different knowledge!
They have a chance to grow in a safe environment, in contact with nature and with so many activities! They are also exposed to learning different languages so I think everything is very stimulating for their growth.
There are many soon-to-be parents or parents with newborns who are unsure if it is safe to bring their baby to Bali. What would you say to them? What advice do you have to share?
Every place has pros and cons. Bali has to suit the parents first in order for them to be happy to live here! Don’t panic Indonesia and Bali can be messy, and sometimes slower (if you constantly compare it to western countries) but within time you will learn how to surf those waves!
Spend a month or two and connect with the expat community Facebook groups! Travel or live with a good health insurance and choose the right neighbourhood to start: Sanur if you are looking for quiet area close to the beach and schools; Umalas/ Canggu if you want to be close to cute cafes and events; Ubud for more a of wild jungle feeling!
Please tell us what it has been like living in Bali during COVID? What would you say to families who are keen to make a move but are hesitant considering the unknowns.
It has been a roller coaster of emotions and a blessing at the same time! I felt lost when I first lost my job and I know many people did too between the expat and local community. The unknowns are to be expected in Bali; if you are looking for a safe and stable life I guess Singapore can be a better choice! In Bali everything changes constantly. It is a dynamic island and very stimulating. Sometimes it can be overwhelming so in my opinion you just need to learn how to find your own rhythm!
What advice can you give to Families making the move to bali?
Observe and respect the local community and you will be welcomed!
Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked?
We have only one child so far, baby Ale, currently 7 months old and two lovely dogs 🙂 We love living on the island and growing our family here!
If you are looking for a 2 bedroom villa with a pool located in the heart of Umalas (Jalan Bumbak) in a private complex we are still looking for new tenants to welcome in our property! It is called the “Villa Kita-Umalas” neighbourhood it is quiet and ideal for kids!
We will be happy to help by giving you tips about where to eat or where is the nearest supermarket etc. anything to make your stay more comfortable!
Thank you Simone for sharing our story and we look forward to reading more expat adventures on your website!