Living a life abroad is dynamic. While it may seem exciting and inspirational at first, dig a little deeper and you will find that a life of travel is in fact both of those things but can be just as monotonous, tiring, frustrating and boring as a life lived at home.
After writing a post on what my life was like living in Thailand, I have decided to write another one to update you on what it has been like now living in Bali.
It’s been part of “the plan” for quite some time now and it’s been unfolding just as I thought it would. We are all set up in a thatched and rustic villa (it even has an outdoor shower! OMG! ) and are both working from home. No more teaching….no more children and no more waking up by alarm clock every day!
Because of Indonesian visa policies, Josh and I can only stay in the country for two months and the days are going quick. While trying to keep a balance between working and growing my personal projects, we are exploring the town and getting out on the motorbike for weekend exploring.
If you’re wondering what life is like for us here, I give you, a week in the life of living in Bali!
• Woke up with the sun and was surprised how cold Bali mornings can be.
• Completed new morning rituals that I hope will help my productivity.
• Took a shower in our outdoor bathroom, washing away pre-existing ideas of the outdoors being a place to get dirty.
• Became extremely frustrated trying to contact my bank in Thailand about why I can’t take money out of my ATM card. I couldn’t get through and sat around thinking that having money trapped in the bank account of a country you are not currently in….really sucks.
• Drove into town to have coffee with Josh at one of the interesting cafes. Realized that my new found appreciation for coffee has changed my taste buds. Flavored syrups no longer taste good in it.
• Hopped on the motorbike and headed off on a road trip to explore the island. We stopped at a chocolate factory which ended up being just another tourist trap and quickly left to check out the famous Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple complex.
• Followed our map to what we thought was a waterfall but was actually a secluded park on the shores of a lake. We were the only foreigners there. There was also some temple ruins there that I thought were much more beautiful than the more touristy one we just paid to see. This is the 4th time in two days that I question why I even bother with tourist attractions.
• Had dinner at an outdoor café overlooking the rice fields. It was a nice place and I felt a little self-conscious as I washed the road trip dirt off my face and hands in the bathroom.
• Went home and passed out in bed.
• Was interrupted by a whimpering outside my front gate that once investigated, turned out to be a puppy. We let him into our yard where he peed in excitement, crawled into my lap and made me understand where the saying “puppy dog eyes” comes from.
• I tried to feed him some of my breakfast, but I’m a pretty lousy cook so he wanted nothing to do with it.
• Skyped with my dad and brother to catch up and give them a virtual tour of our new home.
• Gave an English lesson to my student in China over Skype. It was more like a therapy session as I gave her advice about whether or not she should marry her boyfriend of only seven months.
• Wrote three freelance articles and realized the puppy had gone back to wherever he came from while I wasn’t paying attention.
• Rode into town with Josh to have lunch at Down to Earth vegetarian café. I got a mock tuna pita and a peanut butter vegan cookie. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living in a town where there is more vegan food than regular food.
• Returned home to continue doing freelance work outside and took a break to swim in our pool as the sun got too hot.
• Went to dinner at a “Warung” ( A typical Balinese restaurant serving up big portions for cheap prices.) It was just around the corner from our house and we are aiming to try a new restaurant and dishes as often as possible.
• Went to sleep after battling mosquitoes, spiders and ants that frequent my bed.
• Woke up to whimpering again and noticed that it started as soon as my neighbor left the house for the day. Went outside and didn’t have the heart not to let the puppy into the yard. He stole my flip flop, bit my phone charger and is now napping on his usual pile of dirty laundry
• Started 2 blog articles and came up with some ideas for a few more.
• Cooked breakfast and finally sat down to sort out some financial things I’ve been putting off.
• Procrastinated my freelance work to play with the puppy.
• Went for lunch at a new Warung and ordered BBQ tofu and tempeh which cost me about $2.25 USD
• Brought our laptops to Seniman coffee shop to get some work done. I spent most of the time just researching for a single article. UH!
• Went grocery shopping where we discovered that the supermarket sells durian flavored condoms, made sure to take a picture of them and headed home.
• Spent an hour on Skype with a client arranging some steady work. Score!
• Realized that my Instagram app won’t work, the puppy chewed through my phone charger and none of the burners in the kitchen function(conveniently after I bought loads of fresh veggies to cook for tomorrow.) Felt defeated, went to bed.
• Woke up with the sun, waited for the neighbor to leave for work and then let the puppy come in. He may have ruined my phone charger, but his ears and his belly are soft and I like when he sits next to me while I work.
• Josh came home from taking photos and brought us both back coffees, which he set on the table and walked away from. A loud thud later and we see that the puppy had knocked one off the table, spilling cappuccino all over our freshly cleaned floor. Josh chased the puppy away, but I soon got him to come back.
• Worked on freelance articles and did social media planning for a client.
• Snuggled Puppy and left him to take a walk to get lunch at a Warung.
• Came home, went for a swim and finished the afternoon by slaving over one very underpaid article assignment.
• Was interrupted by a frantic neighbor looking for her puppy. It turns out that she didn’t know about his secret life with us. She told us that his name is Zen. We said he could hang out with us every day while she’s at work.
• Worked on my blog cover photo which still doesn’t look great but is better than what I had before.
• Drove into town with Josh for dinner and came home and went to bed.
• Woke up to puppy squeals and started my day with two cute faces (Josh and Zen.)
• Skyped with my mom to catch up with what’s going on in her life and to talk about plans for our first real family vacation since my parents got divorced back when I was 11.
• Felt more focused today as I worked on freelance assignments.
• Realized that while I still don’t know what I’m doing and how this career venture will pan out. I’m going to keep moving forward and challenging myself to do better.
• Finally pulled ourselves out of the house to get a snack at Alchemy Café. They have raw vegan brownies. Yeeeees.
• Checked out a bar/restaurant that we heard about from a girl in a café and had extremely strong 2 for 1 margaritas.
• Went for dinner and a beer and wished that we had some friends in this town to hang out with. Headed home and passed out, more drunk than expected.
• Woke up and failed to do any of my morning rituals. I don’t like committing to a schedule of any kind and find it difficult to do so, even when I know it’s good for me.
• Filled a cup with dog food and walked down the street to try and feed one of the street dogs who always hangs in the same spot and is so thin that you can see all of his bones. Like usual, he was there and gladly took the food.
• Came back to play with the puppy who escaped yet again from our neighbor’s yard, even though she put up some wood planks to block his escape route. I brought him into the bed to snuggle and he couldn’t stop licking Josh’s face.
• Headed to Seniman coffee shop to get work done in order to break up the monotony of working from inside the house. Thought it was pretty ironic that I was craving to work in a different space after wanting to work from home so badly.
• Decided to focus more on my blog and publication writing today instead of freelance work. I want to make a better effort not to let my more meaningful personal projects fall behind just for the sake of making more money.
• Headed home, finally got a hold of my bank in Thailand and was able to get the hold off of my ATM card. We will see if it actually worked.
• Continued working and was disrupted by the largest lizard I have ever seen pop out from behind a piece of art on the wall. I scared it when I yelled for Josh to come see and it went back behind the painting. We spent the next five minutes sliding folded pieces of paper behind it to get him to come out. Thinking that it would be cool to scare him out so we could get a look, we ended up just screaming and running away when he eventually appeared, only getting a peak of his massive tail.
• Spent the next ten minutes scratching at the tiny bites scattered around my body, wondering if they are from a mosquito or something else. Decided that they are totally mosquito bites and have been worrying about coming down with Dengue fever ever since. I wonder how nice it will be to leave SE Asia and not have to worry about coming down with these diseases anymore.
• Headed to a Warung for dinner and practiced my patience as we waited over an hour to get our food. I am trying to work on some anger issues so this was a good test in keeping my cool.
• Headed to my first ever poetry slam at a venue in town. There is an international writer’s festival going on here at the moment and this poetry slam was one of their free events. I fell in love with it the moment the first person got on stage and started writing my own in my tiny notebook while on the back of the motorbike to our next event.
• Stopped at a fundraising art exhibition for an artist that Josh met while at a coffee shop in town. She was selling her art to fund her mission to continue her education in Berlin. The set up and her art was beautiful, but we sadly don’t have the funds or stable home for a painting. I had gotten so used to being a veteran in Chiang Mai that I forgot how awkward it feels to try to meet new people in a new place.
• Spent a long time driving around to find a Warung that was open for breakfast but didn’t mind as we are making it into an entertaining little mission to eat cheaply and stretch our money farther.
• Drove to a waterfall that while impressing, was filled with too many tourists for us to be excited to swim there.
• Continued on our road trip to the “secret gorge.” There were only few people there, climbing over rocks, balancing across logs and wading through the river. It reminded me of hiking “The Narrows” in Zion National Park in the U.S.
• Kept driving to the beach and were pleasantly surprised to see that the sand was black and sparkly. I read before that Indonesia has black sand beaches but had forgotten. The only people there were a group of local women, working hard to collect a specific kind of rock from the sand.
• Traveled a little further down the coast and found a beach more suitable for swimming and lounging. I cautiously pet a puppy for fear of rabies of course, and then ate some grilled corn and drank a beer with Josh. Some university students that were studying English and tourism approached us for some interviews for their school project. I thought it was sweet that they were working on their projects, even on a Saturday.
• We drove back home, ditched all plans we had for the evening and watched a movie in bed until we fell asleep.
So, there it is. That is what I am getting up to these days in my new Bali life. In weeks ahead I hope to have more personal projects and a LOT more socializing and meeting new people. I’m feeling much happier about life and hope to continue that pattern into my next venture!
Can anyone out there relate to my internal ramblings? I would love to know in the comments below!
-The books mentioned in this post contain affiliate links. If you decide that one of these awesome books belongs on your bookshelf or Kindle, a percentage of what you pay will go to me at no extra cost to you! This percentage will help me bring you more posts and lovely book recommendations. Thanks guys.