Meet: The Leigh family (Marika, Jason, Havana – 13, Nico – 11 and Lulu – 9)
Originally from: New Zealand
Arrived in Bali: June 2022
How did you come across Our Year in Bali?
I started looking on Instagram for ideas about living in Bali and came across Simone’s page.
What experience did you have with Simone assisting you?
It was fantastic! All the information Simone provided was so useful, particular the detailed budget as I was totally guessing what things might cost before getting this. This helped a lot with our pre-planning. It was also great to talk to Simone about the school options, we ended up deciding to do online correspondence school which I hadn’t even considered before reading Our Year in Bali’s website. It’s been a great option for us.
Simone had answers and information to all the things we asked so we felt a lot more confident after speaking to her, and her contact list is invaluable.
What made you move to Bali?
We love Bali and every time we come we want to stay longer. It was always a dream to live here, and we just decided to make it a reality! I think it’s such a beautiful experience for the kids living somewhere different and we’re creating family memories that will last a lifetime. Bali has a special place in my heart, I love the people, the beautiful culture and of course the warm weather.
Also moving here has allowed us to create a lot more time in our lives as we are not working full-time. I’m lucky enough to have an online business so I can work from anywhere. I have a beautiful online shop where I help my customers improve their skin and overall health, particularly with liquid collagen which is my number 1 seller! I also coach others on how to run their own online business and make money from their social media scroll time – it’s a lot of fun and fits in well with my life.
Where is home in Bali and why did you decide to live there?
We explored around a lot before we decided to live in Canggu, first staying in Sanur, Ubud, Legian, Jimbaran, Ungasan and Nusa Lembongan. We decided to stay in Canggu as we wanted to be close the beach as the kids learn to surf, and Canggu has so many amazing food and yoga/fitness options. It’s definitely busy here but we like that there is a lot to see and do. We may spend some more time in Ubud later this year too. Choosing to do online schooling gives us more flexibility to move around.
How long do you plan to stay?
At this stage we are staying until late January and plan to go back to NZ for school next year. Jason and I would love to stay longer, but the kids would like to get back to their schools and friends – we’ll see!
What does school life look like and how is raising your tribe?
We chose to do NZ correspondence school as it gives us a lot more flexibility in where we live. After being locked down a lot over the past few years at home, the kids are pretty used to online schooling. The kids have adapted so well being here and take everything in their stride.
The kids went to summer camp at the Wood school in Ubud which they loved! And they do weekly enrolment for travelling families so we’ll definitely go back there when we head up to Ubud.
What are the biggest challenges you have found so far?
Finding a villa was more difficult than we thought. Prices have increased a LOT and its quite overwhelming scrolling through all the villas on facebook and trying to find something that meets your criteria took time. But we are so happy with the one we found. It’s been a new challenge learning to drive a scooter in Canggu traffic!
How do you find healthcare? Do you feel safe?
We feel very safe here, and haven’t had to use any healthcare luckily. Also, Jason is a nurse so we have him to check things with first!
What does your daily routine look like?
The kids do a few hours of schooling, and I do a few hours work in the mornings then have the rest of the day free to swim and explore.
I’m lucky enough to have an online business so I can work from anywhere. I have a beautiful online shop where I help my customers improve their skin and overall health, particularly with liquid collagen which is my number 1 seller! I also coach others on how to run their own online business and make money from their social media scroll time – it’s a lot of fun and fits in well with my life.
Jason and I try to go to a fitness or yoga class and some days we have a massage or go for coffee. We usually have lunch at the villa and go out for dinner in the evenings.
We often go to Waterbom park (tip we bought a 6 month pass which is such good value so we can go as often as we want!). We want to explore a lot more of Bali so plan to do some little trips away every month.
How do you get around Bali?
Since we arrived in Canggu, we’ve rented scooters so that’s our main mode of transport. If we are going somewhere further we just use Grab to get a driver. We have also rented a motorcycle for short trips.
What is the best thing about living in Bali?
Ahh so many things, the warm weather, the food, the people are so friendly and kind, the massages, and best of all having a lot more time in our day and not been rushed or stressed trying to fit in a full-time job and managing a family.
What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali?
Just do it! We had a few moments of self-doubt when the moving to-do list seemed so long, and the thought of walking away from our routine and jobs seemed scary, but now we are here it is all so worthwhile. There’s always a reason not to go, but if it’s something you want to do, then go for it. Don’t let dreams always be dreams.