If you’re interested in how a family that travels full-time settled down in Ubud, and enrolled their kids in the renowned Green school, you’ve come to the right place. Say hello to the Frugal for Luxury family – Laura, Christian, and their three children – who have visited 61 countries and resided on four continents. In this interview, Laura shares their journey from the USA to Bali, and talks about the challenges and advantages of living in a foreign land. She discusses their experience with Our Year in Bali and how Simone aided them in navigating their transition to Bali. Continue reading to discover their reasons for relocating to Bali, their experience with raising kids and schooling in Bali, and their future plans.
Meet: The Frugal for Luxury Family
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you originally from?
This is a tough question and as the years go by, we have more and more trouble answering it. I, Laura, am originally from France. Christian, my husband, is from Germany. We both left our home countries after high school, to study in the U.S. (Florida). We met there and had three children born in Florida (U.S.A.), Switzerland, and Germany – all countries our family lived in. In 2016, we moved back “home” to Orlando, FL and spent 2.5 years traveling full-time from 2020 to 2022. After a quick 6-month stunt at home in Florida, we moved to Bali in January 2023. We call Orlando, FL home!
When did you first arrive in Bali, and what brought you here?
We arrived in early January 2023, and landed in Bali about 5 hours before the start of new-student orientation at the Green School. We moved to Bali to give our children a chance at studying at Green School. It is a gorgeous bamboo environment, a school with no wall and no shoes, where children learn from an international curriculum heavily focused on sustainability and green studies, with many experiential opportunities to apply their math, English, and science learnings.
How did you hear about Our Year in Bali, and what was your experience like with Simone’s assistance?
I actually first heard of Our Year in Bali while researching family life in Bali. There is very little information on living a family life on the island. Most bloggers and vloggers are young adults living as digital nomads, but very few families seem to share their experiences in the country. Simone’s website was one of the only resources with tips from local expat families.
What motivated you to move to Bali, and how did you go about making the decision to do so?
Our only motivation was the Green School. We grew disappointed of the schooling system in Florida, for which we had stopped traveling full-time, and the Green School had always been Plan B. Once we decided to give it a go, it only took about 2 weeks to hear back from the school that we had gotten 3 spots for our kids. We did not expect to get in in January, which gave us just about 2 months to organise our move.
Where in Bali do you currently reside, and what made you choose that location?
We live in Ubud and love it! Since arriving, we have visited Canggu and Sanur as alternative towns to live in. Canggu is not our vibe and feels too busy for our personal preferences, and Sanur is gorgeous, but too far from the Green School. We wanted to be within 20/30 minutes of school but have access to modern amenities and opportunities for the kids. Ubud fits the bill!
How long do you plan to stay in Bali, and what are your future plans after leaving?
Our family has a hard time making plans… so we try to stay away from saying how long we will be in an given place. For Bali, as we are very happy with the school so far, we plan on staying on the island for as long as it is fun and the kids enjoy their school and learning experience. We have absolutely no plan for after leaving!
What is the schooling experience like for your children, and how has raising a family in Bali been for you?
We moved to Bali for the Green School and it has not disappointed. We have pretty high standards when it comes to schooling and are hard to please, but the Green School is an impressive learning center. The kids are absolutely happy, and exhausted when they come home. They move all day and come home every night, having learned something new. Raising a family in Bali has been really good so far. We find that the extra-curricular activities are plentiful, cheaper, and of much higher-quality than in the U.S. While the cost of life is lower, the kids end up doing a lot more and our monthly budget is higher, however, the value is there and we are happy to see them blossom here.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since moving to Bali?
I can’t really think of challenges. Bali has a very different culture that can take some getting used to, and we have quickly understood that we will never be locals. The locals are welcoming however, and we are able to find a way to live our lives in parallel to their culture, while learning a ton about their beliefs and ways of living. My husband would argue that the Bali traffic and driving experience is a challenge!
What are your thoughts on healthcare in Bali, and do you feel safe living there?
Not really… it is my personal fear. We have a good international insurance, which includes repatriation, but I am quite nervous about something happening to any of us. Getting to a hospital can be tricky as there are no ambulances and traffic can be a nightmare, making accessing care a challenge, and I don’t think that I am yet confident enough to get diagnosis or procedures done in Bali. My fear is about not being able to receive adequate care quickly, in case of a larger problem or an emergency…
Can you walk us through what a typical day looks like for you living in Bali?
We wake up quite a bit earlier than we do at home and drive the kids to school. From there, Christian and I either use the school’s co-working space or attend organised conferences at school; or we drive to a local club where we work out, swim laps, grab lunch, and use the wifi. We’ll then drive back to school to get the kids and get them to after-school activities either onsite or in a different location in Ubud. We get home quite a bit later than we would at home and typically order some food to be delivered – this is totally new to us as we’ve always cooked every single meal we eat! Bali has an extraordinary food scene at prices that make cooking difficult! Kids go to bed and we watch a show from our bedroom, since only bedrooms have A/Cs and the days are long and hot!
How do you typically get around Bali?
We had a local driver driving our own car during our first month here. We have decided to give driving on our own a try as it affords us more freedom in schedule, etc. We have also purchased one scooter for shorter drives as it is a much quicker way to go places in Ubud!
What would you say is the best thing about living in Bali?
The quality ,diversity, and value of available extra-curricular activities available for kids! That blows our minds!
What advice would you give to other families who are considering a move to Bali?
Be ready for everything to be different, and more different than you’ve ever imagined. Within a couple of days from arriving, we could not remember how we did life a week prior. Everything is different, in ways I can’t quite explain! Finding a community here, of similar families who’ve been here a while, is a tremendous asset. We are very fortunate for our school community, as well as friends we knew in the U.S., who have settled here before us. It makes figuring out things so much easier!
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience living in Bali that we haven’t covered yet?
Focus on the positive! It is easy to go down the rabbit hole of differences and how things could be more efficient, better, and safer. Never loose sight of all the benefits and pluses of living in Bali and keep the perspective of how they balance out, or outweigh, the things that potentially drive you crazy. Change is always good. Nothing is permanent if you don’t want it to be. Just keep an open mind and realize all of the learning and growing your family is getting from the experience!
How can I follow Laura?
Instagram – Laura AKA The Frugal for Luxury Family