Go live in Bali the nomads said. It will be fun they said. And they were right. It was fun but honestly, living in Bali is something I will never do again. Sean and I have “lived” in seven countries and visited many more over the last two years. Bali was my least favorite place to live in. Bali for me is the perfect holiday destination and I can’t wait to go back and explore other parts of the region and the islands more. In fact, I will recommend Bali to countless people, families for holidays. Also, it will forever hold a special place in my heart because it was where Sean proposed to me. That being said, I will never go there to live again with the main reason being…
Paradise Living Ain’t So Easy
Ubud isn’t an easy place to live. For all the yogi vibes, luxury on budget accommodations and places to eat it is chaotic, full of trash and the wifi is awful. You can’t walk without being very aware of your surroundings due to the number of scooters and stray dogs. Traffic is pretty bad around town so what should only take a few minutes can occasionally take you twice as long. Those of you from Northern Virginia will know what I am talking about but imagine instead of cars it’s scooters and tourists.
I grew up all over the world. I’m used to the “that is just the way it goes” kinda vibes but there was something about Bali that just had me frustrated. It might have been where we lived and we all know that where you live impacts you a lot. It might have also been all the good vibes and people who had me rolling my eyes more than not when I was out in town. I wish I was exaggerating when I say that I heard the phrase:
“ My chakras were blocked and my guru helped me clear them, it was life-changing.”
There is nothing wrong with that but if you talk to locals about the yoga vibes and clean eating they aren’t sure how they got this reputation as yoga was not popular until tourists came and brought it. Bali is full of people living in paradise and for many, they can live like kings at 2 grand a month but it creates a weird balance and inauthenticity.
Searching For Authenticity
Bali when authentic is beautiful and you see the authenticity with their temples and spirituality on a weekly basis. It was one of my favorite parts of living there. They care so much about preserving their traditions and rituals. It is beautiful to see and most people are so warm and friendly. Yet, Bali also felt completely inauthentic. One of my biggest issues with Bali is when things were built or are done it is not built for the people but for tourists. Which is fair, it is a tourists economy but I find it disheartening. Even in music nights in Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur, we would see the locals enjoying themselves. In Bali, the only locals we ever saw were the ones working. That was hard for me. They have been priced out and part of it is because there seems to be no real middle class.
I realized that there are many areas in Bali left to explore and have met countless people who love Bali. I only spent a majority of my time in Ubud. I am judging a region hardcore and that’s why I’ve said it’s not the place for me. For all the people who love Bali, I’ve also met and talked to a lot of people who felt the same as me. They came because of the personification they saw on Instagram and in blog posts but no one really talked about the trash, the wild roosters and how hard it can be to do the simplest of things. I’m not telling you to not live in Bali in fact, I have one friend who LOVED living in Bali but she also understands where I am coming from. It is just not my vibe. Bali is not easy to live in. You have to work a bit harder to make yourself at home there if you don’t fit into this yogi and or an Instagram perfect world.
Watch The Money
Bali can be extremely affordable until it is not. It’s why I say that you get a lot for your money when on holiday but to live there it starts to add up. The co-working spaces are expensive, like insanely so. Sean and I spent more on our membership than our current rent in Thailand… We paid for it because we needed the quality of wifi to be good and for the social elements. People are really kind in Bali and we enjoyed many conversations with people but that all it was. A quick conversation and we both moved on. We ended up eating out at least once a day too which adds up. Even after finding a few local Warungs to eat at it. This is where things are different from holiday vs life. Yes, a $5 lunch is a bargain but when you live in a place on a budget it adds up. On holiday a $5 is a steal but for us, it was an expensive one. That being said, the food was pretty dang good.
Holiday Vibes And More
Bali is perfect if you are a free spirit and have money to spend but if you are a little anxious, like to cook with fresh produce then make it a hard pass and enjoy a holiday at a beautiful villa there instead. So there you have it, that is how I really felt about living in Bali. It is a weird juxtaposition to have. Bali is a perfect holiday destination and I am SO glad we ended our time there with a 2-week holiday but I don’t think I’ll ever stay long-term there again. That being said, I have some fun blogs coming your way on Bali as I’ve already been getting a lot of questions about what to do there and what to expect. Including a few of parts of Bali that had me smitten and of course, I chased a few waterfalls too… So stay tuned!