It was such a treat to catch up with the Woodham family after they had already been living in Bali for a couple of months. They were settling in so nicely and their villa is within walking distance to everything Canggu has to offer! Have a read of their wonderful story coming from lockdowns in Melbourne and now living their best Bali life.
Meet: Michelle, Joe, Annabelle (3) & Sophia (1) Woodham
Originally from: Melbourne, Australia
Arrived in Bali: 8th April 2022. We got about 2 weeks of a quieter Bali before tourists started flocking back!
How did you come across Our Year in Bali?
I can’t actually remember haha! Possibly instagram or google!
What experience did you have with Simone assisting you?
We bought the Gold package and my gosh there was so much information! The budget was probably one of the handiest tools and we used a lot of the contacts to get us settled. Also speaking to someone that has made the move while we were in the planning stages was so reassuring!
What made you move to Bali?
Coming from Melbourne we experienced two years of some of the harshest lockdowns and after the last one, in which we had our second baby we knew we had to make a change for our family. We wanted to be by the beach and as avid travelers we had always had a goal to live overseas one day. So with two young kids we thought why not! We love Bali as a holiday destination and thought it would be perfect considering how child friendly it is and how beautiful the people are.
Where is home in Bali and why did you decide to live there?
We live in Berawa. Close to everything we love doing. Beaches, great cafes and restaurants, the mountains, Annabelle’s school, our gym and lots of other families. We love the busy exciting vibe but luckily have a villa tucked away in a quiet pocket surrounded by rice fields (for now).
How long do you plan to stay?
Before we arrived it was 6-12 months but now.. who knows! Definitely at least another 12-18 months.
What does school life look like and how is raising your tribe?
Annabelle goes to The Garden in Berawa 4 days a week and loves it. It incorporates everything we value and it is very cute when Annabelle comes home practicing her Bahasa or yoga poses!
We also have a nanny who looks after our 1 year old while we work. Sophia loves her!
One of the most important aspects of moving to Bali was the opportunity to have more help in order to spend quality time with our kids and not being preoccupied with the daily grind!
What are the biggest challenges you have found so far Living in Bali?
The biggest challenges at first was definitely trying to adjust to the different way of life and culture. Just the little things of not having footpaths to walk on with the kids, different foods and places to shop, and for myself (Michelle) personally not being able to ride a scooter. We also found out my daughter was allergic to mosquitos and was the only one getting attacked and would wake up with welts all over her! We are generally a routine/scheduled style family so not having that for the first few months while we got settled was out of our comfort zone but also why we came to Bali, to slow down and relax! But fast forward a few months and we feel proud to have overcome most of these challenges and embrace our new lifestyle!
How do you find healthcare? Do you feel safe?
We thankfully haven’t had too many issues that have needed emergency healthcare. That probably does worry me a bit with the kids and traffic and getting somewhere quickly. But the general experience of a dentist, GP, kids immunisations, stitches etc has been easy and great. All using Simone’s recommendations.
What does your daily routine look like?
Most mornings Joe and I take it in turns getting the kids ready for the day and going surfing/to the gym/yoga. Annabelle goes to childcare 4 days a week and we have a nanny 4 days a week. After school drop off we will work from home or from one of the amazing cafes in the area.
After school/work we will spend time as a family or one on one with the kids swimming, going to the beach, catching up with friends or going to the many parks/cafes/play centres.
As I work part time I am fortunate enough to spend one day a week catching up on life admin and doing things for myself such as nails/hair/massages/catching up with friends.
Now that we have settled in we are starting to use the weekends to explore this beautiful island!
How do you get around Bali?
We both ride scooters, in Canggu we felt we needed to for independence. I was pretty scared to ride one when I arrived but after 2 lessons with Canggu Scooter school and 2 months of practicing I felt more confident. Now I love it!
When we go out with both children we use a car. We have always just used Gojek as it worked out cheaper for us than hiring a full time driver.
What is the best thing about living in Bali?
The best thing! That’s so hard!
We love that we are outdoors basically all the time! The kids go swimming nearly everyday and there is always something to do!
We love the people, the healthy cafes and restaurants, the spiritual approach and the opportunities it brings! There are so many interesting cultural things to learn and experience.
What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?
Be prepared and ok to take your time to settle in. Embrace and respect the change in culture.
Bali isn’t as cheap as it once was so ensure you have enough money to stay for as long as you want.
Get out and meet locals and expats so you have people to relate to. Moving countries is fun and adventurous but it can be hard especially with children!