Have you ever imagined what it would be like to take your family away for a full year? Away from work, family, friends and familiarity? A full year to focus internally on just your immediate family? Corinne and husband Trent didn’t just imagine it, they did it!
I’m so excited to share their past year with you.
I was first introduced to Corinne through a mutual friend and I will confess, I was so curious to know how this Queensland family came to call Bali home.
“We were just sick of living a normal life. Trent worked shift work which often included evenings or overnight and I worked during the day so some weeks we would basically be passing the batten and the batten was Ivy. It wasn’t a quality family life.”
Seriously! Light bulb moment right there for me. To have the courage to stop, assess and make time as a family the most important, it is absolutely inspiring.
Trent had both long service leave and accrued holiday leave, in addition to 18 months of hard saving. With only three suitcases, carry on luggage, a surfboard (and without their precious pets, boxer Marley and Burmese Cat Yoji) the family of three packed up their life as they knew it and boarded a plane.
While many friends were excited, some admittedly jealous, others concerned. “A lot of people wondered how we were so LUCKY to be able to do this. It wasn’t luck at all!”
As Corinne explained, there are a lot of up front costs in relation to a year in Bali.
The Villa lease is paid in advance, in full. There was also Travel insurance, flights and Visa fees to be considered. While at home they had organised for their house to be tenanted and their beloved pets to be cared for. The timing also carefully considered so they would return before Ivy commenced school in Australia.
Planning, saving, and decision making.
Recalling the feelings Corinne experienced as the plane took off from Queensland, there was a combination of relief, excitement and fear!
Relief that all the preparations were complete, packing (both their suitcases and their home for tenants), finishing work and selling their cars and many of their possessions.
Excitement because as Corinne said “Well that’s obvious!” And Fear.
What if it didn’t meet their expectations? What if they hated it and the negatives outweighed the positives? Holidaying somewhere and living there are very, which only took a short time to surface.
“My first shock was boredom.” As silly as Corinne said it sounds, it makes perfect sense. We are all so busy all the time, to stop working and be removed from the weekly schedule would leave a huge hole. Within a month Corinne was back online using her accountancy to work remotely while also finding new ventures to work on.
“The other shock was, if I’m brutally honest, our relationship. It is really hard to be around someone 24/7 every day.” Especially as the couple had such different working hours in Australia with her husband Trent working shift work. “It was really about finding a balance.” And for Corinne learning that she didn’t cope well without time to herself.
But on the flip side, it was the opportunity to meet new families and make lifelong friendships that was an unexpected surprise.
Meeting other expats living in Bali came easily, so many in very similar situations.
Away from home, without the creature comforts of their friendship circles and cliques and willing to meet new people. “Back in Australia I found everyone is in their own bubble of friends (including myself) you’re not really looking outside of that.”
So what does a normal day for her family look like in Bali?
Getting Ivy ready for “school” which would be considered Kindergarten in Queensland, travelling via scooter to drop off, with Ivy sitting on front. Corinne would then come back to the Villa to log into the work server, to see if any work had been emailed to her from Australia. If not she would spend time on her photography, food photography for her friends blog and collaboration projects often featuring Ivy. The afternoon pick up then rolls around pretty quickly and off she goes to pick up Ivy from school.
Then this is the part I love most!
Afternoon’s spent at home in the Villa, playing in the pool, colouring, watching movies or heading for a play date with friends. More often than not an afternoon at the beach! While it’s not cocktails and fancy pools every day, it sure beats my winter afternoon’s in Melbourne.
There Balinese home is a two story rendered Villa, fully enclosed with three bedrooms, two living areas, dining, 3 bathrooms a pool and beautiful yard. And only 5 minutes walk from the beach, although much easier and safer to scooter their way around. “Ivy keeps asking if we can buy a scooter when back in Australia and I keep trying to explain that we could but it’s illegal for her to ride on the front!”
“As far as experiences go, it’s really just the experience as a whole that we are grateful for. For Ivy to be able to grow up and remember this amazing year. The area we live is very Westernised, full of shops and trendy cafes so it’s really like living in Australia but just with a different vibe and living cost.”
When I asked Corrinne what would be the most important part of the experience that she is looking forward to bringing home into her daily life in Australia,
“To remember that you don’t have to work an office 9-5 job to get by in life! There are so many other ways to make a living. Experiences are everything, having material things at the end of the day mean nothing!”
While it will be incredibly hard for them to leave the amazing friends they have made, the beautiful food and coffee, how amazing that they have given themselves this opportunity. Creating such an inspiring experience for their daughter, reconnecting and finding new passions.
“I would absolutely recommend it (to other families), however I think you have to have a love of Bali to really enjoy it. You also need to have an open mind and be a patient and positive person! Some days can be extremely frustrating, however overall it’s an amazing lifestyle.”
While away, Corinne has fostered a love and passion for photography, something she hopes to continue on her return together with her accounting. To see more of her incredible images, and her life in squares, follow her Instagram www.instagram.com/capturingivy