Why I’m Staying in Bali

As some of you know, I came to New Zealand to visit an Auckland crush (and well, a visa run too). Our time was full of passion, home cooking and island exploring. All amazing, not to mention, this place offers the most jaw dropping views and pristine life. The people are very nice, crime is low, and the active lifestyle keeps everyone fit and darn good-looking. So, why did I leave if it was such as great time?

Just like many who discover Bali, I can’t stay away and had to come back. Bali is me right now. Here are my reasons…

Bali doesn’t require much.

With every dollar and day I spent in New Zealand, I felt my anxiety growing. The cost of living there is unfortunately, outrageously high. In Bali, my $1 USD stands tall against ~13,000 Rupiah. One espresso shot is ~$1.20. A full tank of scooter gas is $2.91. An average meal ranges between $3-7. I don’t pay more than $500-600 a month for a well-kept apartment or a place in a villa.

With that said, I came to Indonesia for a specific purpose: to grow The Spinning Wheel (TSW). The goal: to fully dedicate myself to it, hone in on my strengths, grow skill sets, and produce quality content. All this while developing it at an organic pace. Few realize that it is time that Bali offers in abundance due to the low-cost.

Aside from the typical vacationers, the island draws a unique mentality.

There seems to be four types of paths I run into here. All together they have a unique common thread.

  • Self-Discoverers who are breaking away from a past life and in search of a new one. Many seem to look for a living that is true to who they are with every intention to work smarter not harder. Check out my friend and upcoming Bali villa mate Anne. This past year she left her role as VP of Communications in NY. After visiting Bali in January, she let her apartment go and packed her bags with an April return date. She’s at the precipice of her new journey. I’m grateful to be part of this evolution.
  • Entrepreneurs who are focused on getting their passion projects, services or products off the ground. They are here as long as they need and want to be. They will make it work. Being in Bali is an every day reminder that it will be worth it. Some have their hand in a few projects while maintaining a remote gig, like the following…
  • Digital Nomads that stop in Bali for so many months before they hop onto the next place with their full or part-time online work. They are everywhere in Bali experiencing everything possible outside the cubicle.
  • Lifers came and never left. They fully embraced living here. It’s evident in their style, the family they’re raising, and their knowledge of the local language. Some live well in a third world country on a first world salary.

What do they have in common? They are all seeking something different from the typical prescribed life. At some point, they all rejected the corporate rat race and are now playing their own game of life – just like me.

Since the very beginning, leaving this place was an emotional struggle.

I was supposed to move for a couple of months to Vietnam back in February after my time in Ubud. As the time was nearing, I came to terms that my heart wasn’t ready for another country. I had no doubt I wanted to stay here for a long time. To this day, I tear up when I think how this makes my mom terribly sad. It still breaks my heart.

Here is where I need and want to be. I felt this when I first discovered Austin, TX and I’m feeling it now with Bali.

Coincidentally, had I left for Vietnam, I would have never met this Auckland crush.

The mesh of local and expat culture created a unique ambiance I had never seen anywhere else.

It was perfect for what I need to accomplish with TSW.

  • a support group I can leverage to develop my work and skill sets
  • a big emphasis in living actively, eating clean and being clear-minded
  • a place of heavy focus, inspiration, and ambition
  • an ingrained and present local Indonesian culture
  • a tropical exotic paradise
  • plenty of westernized yet cutting edge healthy food incl vegan & vegetarian
  • a community of like-minded people
  • a more than average modest lifestyle
  • a general attitude of appreciation and acceptance

At the end of the day, I feel validated as a single woman. I made some major life decisions that were tough. I uprooted from the US, left the rat race, and I am accepting a life potentially without a white picket fence. Living in Bali, I am without the guilt, shame, or judgement that used to cloud my mind back at home.

I am working to make something for myself with both feet in determined to create my dream life. I am also not worried about the things I can control, only myself.

So, I returned Bali. It is for me. It is me.

And, this recent new connection? To be continued. If things are meant…

Follow me on Instagram @Elisaut to see all the moments and milestones of my journey. I may never have that grand house on the hill. I may never be a wife. I may never be a mother. But, I sure as hell will create a great life to make up for it and for now, it’s in Bali.

Let me know if you’re in the same boat. I want to hear from you guys too.

‘Til Next, Elisa