It’s raining, a lot. It’s just like being back in the UK… except the heat… and the motor bikes… and the mosquitos… ok, it’s nothing like the UK.
I am a Bali Child
I was a very lucky child. My parents believed in my brother and myself having once in a lifetime experiences through travelling rather than the latest games, toys or fad items. Admittedly, as that 10-year-old child lacking the PlayStation Dance Mat I didn’t understand it, but now I owe everything to them.
Bali was a place that we visited every year. On a round-the-world trip my parents made friends with a local Balinese man in a restaurant in Kuta, 30 years later he is affectionately known as my Godfather. To travel across the world for a 2-week trip visiting our extended family was second nature, my brother and I had a very tried and tested routine for getting through the long journey (McDonalds breakfast, Nintendo DS games, annoy mum and dad to no end).
My Godfather will animatedly tell the story of how I cried and refused to leave (I was 4) to anyone that will listen, and its because of the love and support, the friendships and the community, that as a young girl my dream was always to live in Bali.
18 years later… here I am.
Party in Bali
In August 2016 I chose to spend 2 months in Bali helping my father prepare his dream of having a holiday home in Umalas, next door to Made (The Godfather). It was the first time I would be by myself, no family or friends from the UK… just me and the people who I have come to call family.
From 2013 – 2015 I had made multiple trips with an English friend to the island; sunning, falling in love and partying – a lot. Within those trips I had made friends who were only too happy to hear that I would be coming for an extended period. I was pumped and thrilled that I had taken the risk. My work at the time as a Help Desk Manager was for a small, accommodating company who were happy for me to take a leave of absence from the office and work remotely, as much as possible, from Bali.
There was always that end…
Those 2 months were filled with new friends, Bintangs (local beer brand), cigarettes and love, but there was always an end in sight. The countdown began to the imminent leaving date and my heart pounded in my chest with sadness daily. How was I going to leave my life of palm trees and sunsets to go back to 9-5 work and dark damp wintery England? I spent a lot of the last few days wrapped up in my love and treating myself with my last remaining cash (sushi every day). I made thousands of new memories and constantly took pictures to remember everything just as it was.
As I was packing my bag on that last evening with infamous Golden Retriever Dut staring at me, I threw a tantrum… that’s right, a 22-year-old girl threw her clothes around the room, stomped her feet and stuck out her bottom lip. I couldn’t comprehend in my mind why I was leaving! I was re-enacting my Godfather’s favourite story.
At the airport I cried unabashedly – snot, drool, sniffing, the works. I made myself a promise in that moment, next time I came to Bali it would be for the long term. Watching the ground roll away underneath the plane, having my music video moment looking meaningfully out the window I knew I was leaving my heart and soul behind in Bali.
Will I be back in Bali?
There you have it, a brief overview of the history and story that brought me to Bali…After a short visit home to catch up with family, prepare for Christmas and do some part time work I am back in the land of paradise. After ‘moving’ to Bali the very apparent differences between holiday-life and real-life have made themselves clear. I am in no way complaining, I mean, not many people can say they’ve left the monotonous life of 9-5 work to live in the tropics surrounded by my favourite people and animals to work from my laptop – but it isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
And of course I came back! Each month I am going to bring you my tips, tricks and life savers for travelling (and living) on tropical island. I will talk about food, health, culture, love… everything and anything. As well as integrating what’s happening in the tropical community of Bali and life updates.
But for now, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Bali Bunny. xo
Text written by Rose Hodge
Pictures by food.t