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Working in the Hospitality industry for the last 10 years in Bali

Meet: Holly

Originally from: Byron Bay, Australia

Arrived in Bali: 2010

Home in Bail is: Umalas

What made you move to Bali? 

My husband and I were regular travellers to Bali, so it has always been a special place for us. In 2010 while on a holiday, I was offered employment by a former General Manager we had worked with years prior. He had recently moved to Bali and needed help with the resort he managed. The decision was easy for us, but we had no idea how to transition to “Bali Life”. We learnt quickly and Bali soon became our home. I was employed as Spa consultant at Prana Spa that was part of The Villas Seminyak. I went on to become Director of Spas for the hotel group which had several day spas in south east Asia. We were currently building and designing a second Prana Spa in Ubud before covid-19.

How long do you plan to stay? 

Bali is our ‘Forever Home’ now, and we would like to stay indefinitely. But we also take it as it comes or day by day. Living in a foreign country has its challenges and we try to adapt to the changing conditions as best we can. Bali offers opportunities that our home country does not, so for the past 10 years we have really enjoyed the lifestyle.

Where is home in Bali and why have you decided to live there? 

We currently live in Umalas. We lived in Seminyak for 6 or 7 years as it was close to my employment at Prana Spa. We have since moved closer to our daughters school to make the commute easier (bali traffic). We love our current area as it is close and central to everything. Only 25 mins to the airport, 10 mins to Canggu and 40 mins to Ubud (by motorbike).

Was it difficult to find a villa? 

We found it quite easy to find the homes we have lived in. There are many agents that advertise on social media and the internet. There are so many options like yearly/monthly rental and it pays to do your research. Negotiation is a must, we found this to be crucial with price and terms.

Financially, how do you live in Bali?

Early on, both my husband and I were employed in the hospitality industry, we have since had children and I am currently a stay at home mum. I have a passion project I am working on to launch later this year. My husband is currently employed by a resort in Seminyak and also working on a passion project of his own. Side projects are quite common in Bali.

What was a typical Bali day for you and your family before COVID? 

Wake up……coffee….. then organise the kids. Drop our daughter to school, then gym if we are lucky. Sometimes a play date with our son. Then at around 3pm it’s time to pick our daughter for school and an afternoon activity like dance or sport. If we are lucky (no melt downs) we will try to catch the sunset at the beach. Dinner bath bed for the kids before my husband comes home from work. We will stream Australian TV and catch up on the block or the bachelor haha!

How has COVID affected you and how is Bali currently living with it?

I had employment ready with my previous employer. We were designing our new Prana Spa in Ubud and unfortunately Covid-19 hit and everything was put on hold. March was a really uncertain time and we made a family decision for myself and our children to go back to australia. My husband made the tough decision to stay in Bali as we had our home and pets to care for. We planned to only be in Australia for 2 months but covid-19 wasn’t improving and we ended up staying for 6 months. We have only come back to Bali recently. We follow all local regulations like wearing masks in public and hand sanitising before entering businesses. Bali is handling it quite well and we try to go about our day as normal as possible.

What have you decided to do for education in Bali? 

Our daughter goes to a lovely community home school for international and local children which is close to our home. She really enjoys it. We love giving our children the opportunity to grow up and learn in another culture. There is no shortage of schools here in Bali.

How was it being part of an expat community? 

Its a really great network of people here. Just like anywhere in the world we have many friends and always meet new people. Bali is quite transient and being a holiday destination so close to Australia we have many visitors from home. The Expat Community is usually quite supportive too, I feel there is an understanding as everyone is in the same situation living abroad, so the support is great.

What is the best kept secret/hidden gem in Bali you’ve discovered? 

The islands that are so close to us. We love a quick escape to Nusa Lembongan. We visited Flores last year which was amazing. Indonesia has so much to offer and it’s so easy to visit other islands from our base in Bali.

What have you struggled with the most in Bali? 

Finding a variety of food for our fussy kids. There’s so many restaurants for adults and a lot of great eateries for kids, but we find some supermarkets have limited or inconsistent supply of regular foods and snacks. Sometimes we need to travel to 3 different supermarkets just to buy a basic shop. The other struggle is learning the ever evolving laws with almost everything. It pays to have a good network of both expat and local friends to help with any questions or issues.

What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali? 

Give it a go, if we can do it, anyone can. Do research about any information needed. Join the Facebook forums as these are an invaluable source of information. There’s many expat recruiters to help with employment and great opportunities to start a business. Seek out a well respected agent who can help with visa applications, legal matters and to stay up to date with any other business requirements.

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