Meet Georgia who has lived in Bali for 18 years!
OK I have met plenty of expats that have lived in Bali for about 6 years maybe 10, but imagine living in Bali for 18 years? WOW!
Have a read how Georgia from Melbourne ended up in Bali in her 20s, started a successful fashion label and now with her partner is raising their gorgeous son. Georgia talks about her Bali life during COVID too.
Profile: Georgia, husband partner Albert, son River age 6.
Originally from: Melbourne, Australia
Arrived in Bali: 18 years ago
Home in Bali: Umalas
What made you move to Bali?
Ah it was on a bit of a whim! I was to help another designer friend with her fashion label. She rang me up just after the first Bali bombing and asked me to come work with her as the person who was meant to come had pulled out… but there was a catch…the ticket was booked for the next day! So I just packed and left the next day… just like that I was in Bali and my life changed forever! 18 years later I am still here.
How long do you plan to stay?
Hmm well at the moment who knows because the visa situation seems to change daily. I was thinking in the next year or so to maybe move somewhere else but I have been saying that for years! My partner is Austrian so it would probably be Europe or Australia. My son does not want to leave at all, he LOVES it here as you would.
Where is home in Bali and why have you decided to live there?
Home is in the Umalas and I love it here. It is not so touristy, surrounded by rice fields and it is also close to work and the beach. However there is building now on both sides of our villa which is not so great so we are thinking of maybe moving out a bit further.
Was it difficult to find a villa?
Hmm we definitely had to look around, a lot of bike riding down many gangs. I believe the best way is to hop on a bike and really look in each gang not to just use an agent because you find better places on a bike. We did a bit of both but I found my place on a bike. Our place was like a ghost house when we found it, completely run down, but it had great bones and I knew I had to have it.
What was a typical day for you prior to COVID19?
Wake up and organise my little boy for school, breakfast, then walk him to school across the rice fields (we live close to the school). Then head in to the office for meetings, work, visit my factory, lunch, more work and then pick up my little boy, go to the supermarket and then dinner. A normal day really.
What keeps you busy and financially assists your life in Bali?
I have a fashion label that I started in 2004 called State of Georgia ( the states of me!) and online stores. I also wholesale my collections to agents in Australia. The label has evolved into a capsule online collection that defies seasons and trends, focusing instead on signature pieces that every girl needs in their wardrobe, whilst revisiting some beloved original styles and prints.
What visas are you on? How is it working for you?
For the last 18 years I have been on a KITAS. However I recently changed companies from a PMA to Pt company so was issued with only a 5 month KITAS, so I opted for a Business Visa instead. Then COVID hit which is a mini nightmare for me at the moment as last weekend we were told that we may potentially have to leave the country! I have lived on this island for 18 years. My home is here and I don’t have a home in Australia or anywhere to stay for a long period of time. And trying to get to Austria to be with my partner is really hard at the moment but we have managed to extend it for now.
Did you have your baby in Bali?
No, I decided to return to Melbourne to have River only because I have a rare blood type (A-) and I thought it would be safer there.
How old was River when you returned and did you have any concerns living in Bali with a baby?
I returned to Bali when River was 3 months old and by then he had one immunisation and then a further one in Bali. I have never had any concerns with him regarding things like hygiene and safety however GPs are good for normal things but if anything goes wrong then in my opinion it is better to go elsewhere.
What school does River go to?
River loves his school and goes to Pro Education. He has completed his first year and currently is on school holidays. I have home schooled him through COVID for the last 9 weeks which was a juggle as I have been alone for the last 5 months because my partner got stuck in Austria so the juggle has been real with work and home schooling.
What do you still miss back home?
Good supermarkets, markets, museums, art exhibitions. I also miss the city life sometimes as well as family and a few of my oldest friends.
How have you managed living in Bali during COVID19?
Meditation every day helps and we are in a pretty beautiful place so i’m just taking that in. I’m really living in the now and not over stressing about anything, not watching too much news either. I’m keeping really healthy and exercising regularly.
How are the Balinese coping? Do you have any concerns for their welfare?
I feel for them because this is a huge hit to them but at the same time they are extremely resourceful people, so peaceful and super happy all the time. There are a lot of places offering free food and help at the moment but there is no mistaking that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone for that matter, but the lack of tourists has been a huge hit. And if the airports stay closed its going to be extremely bad.
What do you think will happen to Bali when COVID19 settles down?
I think it could BOOM!
What is the vibe at the moment in Bali?
To be honest some 18 years ago when I first arrived this is what it felt like and I LOVE it! There is no traffic (the traffic was getting so bad) it is peaceful and just lovely to be here.
What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?
Go for it! But be careful, it will get you and you won’t be able to leave! Bali does that to you…like me….18 years later!
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