Ever since Julia Roberts fell head over heels with Javier Bardem at the end of “Eat, Pray, Love”, women of all ages have been flocking to this little Indonesian paradise for a little slice of heaven that they could call their own.
Moving to Bali is all the rage these days. As one of the trailblazers of this phenomenon (I moved here from Australia in late 2009, well before all the hoopla started) I feel like I’m uniquely qualified to dole out the few nuggets of wisdom I’ve acquired since moving to Indonesia.
Visiting opposed to living in Bali
First of all, I feel like there’s an important distinction to be made between merely visiting Bali and actually working and living here. The first is relatively easy, as Bali allows travelers from most countries to come here without a visa, and even the ones that will have to get a visa won’t have too hard a time gaining entry in the country. Actually living here, however, means making enough money to get by, which often requires either obtaining a work visa or getting a little creative with your possible income streams. For instance, I work mainly as an English teacher at a local school, but for the past two years or so have chosen to legally supplement my income with some freelance writing work done on the side.
If you do manage to earn a living in Bali, however, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most gorgeous places you could ever dream of calling home. Even after staying here for quite a few years, Bali still astounds me with the sheer breadth and diversity of its attractions, as every weekend seemingly brings yet another venture into the nature. I must’ve trekked up and down Mount Batur more than a dozen times throughout the years, and it still leaves me speechless with its beautiful landscape and gorgeous views of nearby Lake Batur. An outdoor enthusiast within me thrives on the moments of adventure while hiking the Batur Volcano in Kintamani and white water rafting the Telaga Waja River. Likewise, whenever I pay a visit to the Tanah Lot Temple, one of Bali’s foremost religious structures, I instantly feel that familiar jolt of intensity that greeted me when I first arrived on this Indonesian isle. Especially during sunset, when the famed Kecak fire dancers take over, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re being transported into another, more magical era altogether.
The home where spiritual bonds with contemporary
You see, no matter how cheesy it sounds, for most of us living in Bali has a certain kind of spiritual component to it. Whether it’s being blessed by the High Priestess of Bali or booking a trip to one of the island’s many meditation spots, there is real peace of mind to be had here, which in this day and age has to count for something. Even in Bali’s trendy art hotspot of Ubud, the creativity that imbues many of its galleries, palaces and gardens often has a spiritual bent to it. The lovingly decorated shrines that can be found throughout the island stand as a testament to the profound sense of faith that seems to keep Bali together, a pure-hearted faith that is one of the main reasons why many people, myself included, have chosen to pack their belongings and start a new life in this Indonesian wonderland.