You can usually find me sitting at my favourite table in our restaurant, Stiff Chilli, writing stories, people watching or gazing at the ocean. The tides provide a brilliant backdrop to our ‘office’. Chillidog, our rescue pup, is usually at my feet or running amok on the beach. I enjoy nothing more than a chilled Pinot Grigio and some relaxing tunes in the background.
Chillidog is a Bali dog who stumbled into our restaurant one night at barely five weeks old…and is now one of the most spoilt dogs in Bali.
Living in Bali is a lifelong dream for my husband Rob and I. We’d been visiting since 2004 and since we moved to our beloved beach town home of Sanur permanently 18 months ago, we pinch ourselves every day.
For years back in Australia we worked in high pressure roles. Rob managed a Bunnings store for 19 years and my role as an area manager meant I was away from home two weeks of every month. Routine ruled our lives and long days meant we hardly saw each other. We’d both overcome serious health scares, with the culmination being my breast cancer diagnosis in 2012.
While on holiday in Bali in 2015, we became aware of an opportunity to manage a beach restaurant in Sanur. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. After rushed meetings before returning home and many emails to follow, our decision was made.
We sold up our home, our cars and most of our belongings and moved to Bali. Even though we still have responsibilities here, our work to lifestyle ratio leans much more to the relaxing side. I have plenty of time to spend writing novels, something I’ve wanted to focus on for many years but never had the time.
Although you’ll find expat hotspots across the island, there was never any question for us that Sanur would be our home. On the southeast tip of the island, it’s an idyllic haven where you can still live amongst the locals and enjoy everyday Bali life. It’s just the right balance of familiar Western comforts and Balinese culture.
Getting around here is easy, whether you drive yourself or use the many taxis and Bemos (green vans) cruising the streets. Bemos are a cheap way to get around, a ride costs $2.
The expat community is strong in Sanur too. People have welcomed us and helped with the move. You’ll never be stuck for something to do, if you want to keep busy. I have many expat friends who take advantage of the free yoga classes available on the beach and Rob enjoys the occasional round of golf at a picturesque and challenging course nearby.
There are two distinctive seasons in Bali. The dry season typically runs from April to September. During this time, the south-east trade winds make it quite comfortable. I have to admit to feeling cool, but nothing like the harsh winters of home on the Gold Coast.
Away from the tourist hub of main street, the back streets and lanes are dotted with villas where expats reside, including ourselves. We chat with our neighbours, get involved in the local community and listen out for the old-time jingle of the ice-cream vendor. Days pass easily here… Life is good…