When people think of Bali, they immediately think of stunning beaches, verdant rice paddies, and rich culture. Or maybe it’s the sunsets and spas on almost every corner that entice people the most. It is all those things and more. But Bali is a unique island that is more than what it seems.
If you’re planning a move overseas soon, then you’ve probably made the major decisions already after lots of research on your new country, including a visit there. But there are smaller details that you might have overlooked.
Turquoise waters lap the white-sand beach fringed with casuarina trees. There are no jet skis or banana boats here—just a few stand-up paddle boarders and a kayak or two. A few ubiquitous long-tail motor boats that sound like loud lawn mowers are scattered in the water, but you can still hear the birds singing away in the trees.
We’re sitting on top of a massive boulder, watching the once blue cloudless sky turn pink. The behemoth stone has been polished by the wind and sea over the centuries, and it’s a perfect place for a sunset picnic.
"We live in a mansion," says Victoria Roffenkauf. "Our lives are totally different than how they would be if we lived back in the U.S. No way would we have a home with a private pool and an elevator. That's insane."
Tired of shoveling snow yet? Are those once delicate flakes now just a pile of grey slush? Snow is beautiful while it's falling; who doesn’t like a romantic snowy day next to the fire?
Back in 2013, my husband Mark and I were living in Chicago, working 80 to 90 hours a week behind a desk. At the time, we each had our own businesses and we were completely run off our feet just trying to get by.
Having grown up in Chicago, I never thought it would be possible to live in a big, First World city for $1,000 a month. That much wouldn’t even cover my mortgage for a month back home.
"I get to wake up in the mornings, have coffee on my balcony overlooking the ocean," says Shane Cavilee. "And it never gets cold. I could be home doing the same type of job, but be cold and miserable in the winter time. Who needs that?"
Bali, an island smack in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago, often evokes thoughts of idyllic blue oceans, beautiful sunsets, and verdant green rice paddies. But Bali is much more than that. It is a rich, cultural, spiritual island that can best be explored with the advice of the friendly locals.