If you’ve ever wondered if the island life is for you, the answer is YES! Or maybe it’s not. Check out the pros and cons list that I’ve made.
- Weather—Bali is right under the equator so it’s a scorcher every single day and everyone embraces the hot sweaty mess we become. In the Summer (October-March here), it rains for a few hours a day. It honestly sounds way worse than it is because it’ll shower for a bit then the sun will immediately come out and it’s as though the rain had never happened. Very seldom will it downpour for an entire day. Plus if you ever get caught without an umbrella, they sell ponchos at every street corner. As a native Bostonian, the what would be Winter months were always so treacherous to me. It didn’t make sense to be spending such a significant part of my life in misery so I left after 26 years of suffering. I would much rather deal with daily sporadic showers than frostbite.
- Affordability—the cost of living is super low here! You can get pretty decent housing for ~$500 US/month if you’re not picky but they can also be as luxurious as $10k/month. Factors like a pool, location/neighborhood, roommates, size, proximity to beach, age, and style will impact the price.
- Food—Sam & I try to eat vegan 6 days per week and we find that it is easy to manage that here. There are thousands of options here ranging from $2-$200 US meals. I was definitely surprised by how much variety Bali had to offer. As an avid Food-stagrammer, I will definitely be making a separate and elaborate post on food later.
- My favorite—the ability to be present and focus on what is actually important. Living in the states, I basically lived paycheck to paycheck on things that I didn’t really need (Lululemon at retail price, designer purses & overly extravagant mani’s). Even though my income has gone down drastically, my quality of life has actually improved. I am spending less money on things that I don’t need so I am able to live lightly, both physically and mentally—with less regret and guilt from gluttony. The few things that I do spend my money on have been thoughtfully evaluated purchases. As a result, I am surrounded by things in my home that I truly love. I no longer have excess junk around me and nothing that only makes me moderately happy. Who would’ve known that reduced consumption would lead to more happiness?
- Planet Earth—If you’re not a fan of creatures and critters then the island life is not for you. There are stray dogs on every other block and we get some visiting cats who manage to climb into our villa too. There are frog sounds at night and little lizards everywhere (bathroom, trash can, restaurant walls, etc.). I personally don’t mind any of this at all and actually kinda enjoy it. However, the worst part is I get ~15 mosquito bites every night (sometimes in *unforgiving places*). I’ve tried a dozen repellents but nothing has seemed to work. Back in the states I’d use Off if I absolutely had to but I’ve been straying away from chemical products. They sell all natural repellents everywhere (cosmetic boutiques, furniture stores, you name it)
- Traffic—If you’re unwilling to ride on or drive a scooter, then I sure hope you don’t mind traffic. Riding around in motor bikes allows you to zig zag through the horrible congestion. Most of Bali is made up of single lane roads and the population here is quite high. Side note: technically you need an international drivers license but it’s not enforced here at all. Under very rare occasions, cops at traffic signals will try to flag down foreigners to get a bribe out of them. However, since they are standing on feet to direct vehicles, you can escape them by riding off and effortlessly get off the hook. Operating a scooter seems scarier than it actually is. The roads are packed and small so the speed remains relatively low at all times anyway. Just be sure to always wear a helmet, never drive drunk, and not be a hero. Follow these three golden rules and you are good to GO!
- No Recycling—Yes you read that right. This one really took a lot out of me. I used to recycle EVERYTHING (even paper clothes tags, center of toilet paper rolls, and gum wrappers) and even compost! So throwing away a glass bottle was literally heart clenching to me. I understand that it’d be hard to implement in a developing infrastructure so I get it but it still hurts me every time.
- All Chill Zone—This one is slightly subjective depending on what your vibe is. Nobody here understands urgency. I’ve been a city person all my life. Back home, I managed 4 social media accounts, 4 businesses, and an array of hobbies. In order to do that, I was ok with living at 329492MPH. Learning to slow down took some getting used to. Obviously in the grand scheme of things, this is better for my mental wellbeing.