Meet: Emma Vipond-Cooke, Jules Cooke, Hugo and Freddie Cooke (2.5 year old twins)
Originally from: Melbourne Australia
Arrived in Bali: Jules and I moved to Bali at the beginning of 2018 for our business Long Table Events. We returned to Melbourne in February 2020, for the birth of our boys with the intention of returning a couple of months later and then…Covid happened. We essentially got stuck in Melbourne and have recently returned with the boys 2 1/2 years later. We’ve been back in Bali for over 5 months now and couldn’t be happier!
What made you move to Bali?
We have always loved Bali. I have been visiting since I was 10 years old with my family and Jules and I also got married here in 2016. So it has always had a special place in our hearts. We started Long Table Events at the end of 2016 and built it to a point where we needed to be here full time so we decided to make the move at the beginning of 2018.
Tell us more about your Bali based Wedding and events business
Long Table Events! My 3rd (or 1st?) child! Long Table Events is Bali based Weddings and Events Business. We organise all types of events on the island from Weddings, Corporate Events, Branded collaborations/activations to Private Parties. We have an amazing team here that have stuck by us over the last couple of years and we’re so thrilled to be back doing what we love on our beautiful island home!
Home in Bali is in Berawa and why did you decide to live there?
Before making the move to Bali we always stayed in Berawa and loved that it was this quiet little local area that was full of rice fields but right on the beach and we felt back then it was overlooked by tourists as everyone always stayed in Seminyak or Canggu. So when we moved permanently we were always going to live in Berawa. Since coming back after the pandemic, it has changed a lot and with all the new beach clubs opening has become a bit of a tourist hot spot and for us has lost its charm a little. We are now considering some quieter spots (Pererenan, Seseh) that sill has that Bali charm.
How long do you plan to stay?
At this stage, indefinitely. However, we are aware that things change quickly here, it’s not as stable and secure as Australia for example. While the business is going well and we’re happy as a family, we have no plans to leave.
What does school life look like and life raising your children?
Hugo & Freddie are 2.5 years old, so it is a beautiful life here for them, particularly after being in Melbourne lockdown for the majority of their little lives. They go to a wonderful daycare called Little Tree which they love as do we. They have such full lives here with all the wonderful people and experiences they get to have which is exactly what we always hoped for them.
What is the expat community like?
We have an awesome group of friends here that we have met over the years. It can be hard when you first move as you have to make a real effort to meet people and often people are harder to connect with because a lot of people are transient, so people don’t want to put in the time. I am very lucky that through my work I have made amazing connections and friends as well.
What are the biggest challenges you find living in Bali?
Missing family and friends is number one! We are lucky my Mum is here a lot but it’s not the same as her just being around the corner. Also everyday things that you take for granted back in Australia such as simple banking systems or going to Coles or Woolies to do your shopping, here you sometimes need to go to multiple shops to get everything which is frustrating and time consuming!
How do you find healthcare? Do you feel safe?
This was one of my biggest concerns moving back here with the boys, especially after the pandemic. The healthcare system here has come a long way!! There are now big international hospitals here that offer great care. We have had to visit a couple of times with the boys and they have been great. We have Expat insurance here which of course is a must (or travel insurance) particularly for emergencies.
What does your daily routine look like?
We have so much more flexibility in our days here compared to Australia which is nice. We have a gorgeous Nanny to look after the boys so we can work and also have some free time ourselves. In general our weekdays are much the same, we wake up, have breakfast etc. Our Nanny will take the boys to daycare so I can go to the gym and then start work. The boys come home and hang/play with our Nanny until I finish work and then we will do the normal bath/bed routine, so quite ordinary really. On the weekends, we focus on doing a fun/new activity/adventure with the boys such as Bali Safari or Splash or taking a trip somewhere we haven’t been before. The one hard thing about being an expat is the visitors. People are visiting ALL the time and want you to be part of their holiday which is lovely, but can get exhausting and expensive and hard when you are trying to run a business, have a family etc so we’ve found it important to establish some boundaries around how we manage that otherwise you could be out every night!
How do you get around Bali?
If we’re with the boys we use Gocar/driver. Otherwise Jules and I both have motorbikes, so we ride everywhere. Bali traffic is insane, so bikes are much quicker if you can ride!
What is the best thing about living in Bali?
The freedom, the weather, the people!
What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?
Living in Bali is very different to holidaying in Bali. Setting things up here (visa’s, banking, villa’s etc) can be challenging so be prepared. Talk to people who have done it before, ask questions and do lots of research. It’s a lot easier now to find information online than when we first moved here. Oh and also listen to Bali Insiders Podcast for information! Haha!
Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked?
I think another bit of advice would be to explore more than just Seminyak and Canggu. Bali is an incredible island with so many things to offer. Also engage with and get to know the locals. Balinese and Indonesian people and culture is incredible, the western world has a lot to learn from their philosophies and values. That’s why you moved too, to experience a different culture and way of life, so make sure you embrace it!