A pandemic-inspired journey: From Melbourne to Bali – embracing a new chapter
Meet: Tanya and daughters Tully and Bella
From: Melbourne, Australia
Arrived in Bali: April 2022
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you originally from?
I grew up in regional Victoria, Australia but spent most of my adult life in Melbourne. I have three children – Lachie 23, Tully 15 and Isabella 10. My husband and their dad passed away in 2014 and we had many holidays together in Bali. After he died I didn’t think I could ever come back without him, but here we are living here now. I often think how he would really be smiling about that.
When did you first arrive in Bali, and what brought you here?
I arrived with my two girls in April 2022 – we had spent the pandemic in Melbourne where I think we had some of the longest lockdowns in the world. We had a map of the world on the wall and would pick places we would go to when the borders finally opened. We missed holidays and traveling so much! At first we were just looking at holiday destinations but the longer the pandemic went on the more I started to think about living somewhere for a longer stay. We originally planned to stay for 6-9 months but now we don’t plan to leave any time soon!
What motivated you to move to Bali, and how did you go about making the decision to do so?
I was first thinking about Italy but it seemed quite complicated to secure housing and schooling and I had never been there before. Then I heard from an old family friend that his villa in Bali was vacant and that if we really wanted to go somewhere we could live there while we found our feet and got settled. We left 10 weeks later!
Where in Bali do you currently reside, and what made you choose that location?
We are in Berawa – we started in Canggu because that’s where my friend’s villa is, but we had been here before and I knew I liked the area. And its close to school too.
What is the schooling experience like for your daughters?
My older daughter Tully, loved it straight away which was unexpected! My younger daughter Bella took longer to settle in but the both love it now. I think the standard of education is great at Canggu Community School, and they have both had amazing opportunities that they wouldn’t have explored if we were back in Melbourne.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since moving to Bali?
Finding housing – it’s a hot market here right now! I also have my moments of worry about medical needs if there was an emergency.
Can you walk us through what a typical day looks like for you living in Bali?
Its really not so different in terms of structure to what our life was back home . The girls go to school and I go off to work, but it feels different – Bali is special place and there’s something about the vibe here that feels so good.
How has living in Bali influenced your personal and professional life, and what opportunities have you found here?
We originally only planned to come for less than a year, but pretty soon after arriving, I knew I really needed to find a reason to stay longer – I just loved it so much! I started looking into how I could work here and came across Classroom of Hope – and Australian registered charity who were rebuilding schools in Lombok after the 2018 earthquakes. The schools are made using a new technology that makes blocks out of recycled plastic waste that are also earthquake resistant and sustainable for over 50 years! I’m now the CEO and absolutely love my job!
How have you adapted to the local customs and traditions in Bali, and what have you learned from the experience?
We’ve loved learning the language and learning more about Hinduism.
I am getting formal lessons – twice per week. It’s really helpful to be able to speak the language in my work, but the Balinese also love that we are learning it too – they always help us when we get words wrong! My 10 year old has picked it up really fast and is really confident conversing with the locals.
How do you see Bali evolving and changing in the future, and what impact do you think this will have on expats living here?
The pandemic changed the way we work – many people can work from anywhere in the world so I think we will see a lot more people doing that. There’s a lot of development going on in Bali so while it feels like there’s a housing shortage now, I think there will be lots of available properties coming onto the market in the coming years. I hope there is a shift to more sustainable development because some of what is being built is poor quality and doesn’t consider the impact on the environment.
What would you say is the best thing about living in Bali?
The lifestyle and the food! The tropical climate allows us to be outdoors much more which is how we love to live.
What advice would you give to other families who are considering a move to Bali?
Just. Do. It.
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