We recently had the pleasure of chatting to the amazing Anett and Lorand from Tropic Explorers who are currently living the expat dream life in Bali. They never planned to be living in Bali but have been based on this magical island for more than a year now. This is their story. Read on below.
Our love of photography and creativity work started when we were university students. Anett was part of a photography group where she had many projects. She knew then that photography would be a big part of her life. Fashion, landscape and interior styles are what she is passionate about.
Lorand started with graphic design when he was at university. Then he worked for production studios for a few years as a motion designer and cinematographer. We have been working in the creative field for a while.
Travel, on the other hand, has always been something we wanted to do together. It was just a matter of time when we would start. We travelled a lot around Europe before deciding to leave our country for longer periods.
Living the Expat Dream in Bali
Funnily enough, we never planned on living the expat life in Bali. We both worked as employees in Hungary for a few years but we have always felt that working for somebody else is absolutely not for us. Anett especially felt like she was living in a type of prison when she worked for the government.
These feelings helped us make the biggest decision of our lives. In 2015, we both quit our jobs at the same time. It was quite shocking to our families but we were so determined that nothing could change our minds. We are so happy that we didn’t let anyone influence our decision. Since then, we have been gratefully working on our dreams and not someone else’s!
As we both worked as freelancers since 2015, a couple of years later we came up with an idea. Why not move to Southeast Asia and travel while working? After all, we both love the tropical environment. So this is how our adventure started. We left Hungary in January, 2019 to begin exploring the world. We started @tropicexplorers and haven’t looked back since.
In 2020, we came back to Bali for only two months. Our plan was to keep travelling but COVID-19 changed our plans. When this craziness started, it was hard to decide whether to go home or stay. But now we are grateful for being able to spend so much time in Bali. It’s hard to believe that we arrived more than a year ago and we hope to stay for longer now.
Expat Work-Life Balance in Bali
We usually move to a new place in Bali every month so we can see more parts of the island (all of them are very different). Currently we live in Ubud in the central part of the island. It’s more peaceful compared to the popular Canggu. You can really enjoy the nature in Ubud – gorgeous waterfalls, amazing jungles and lush rice fields are always around the corner.
We are trying to find the balance between work and exploring/relaxing. It’s not always easy, of course. Sometimes we feel that we have too many plans! But in our free time, we tend to explore the island and chase as many waterfalls as possible. Bali is blessed with popular and hidden falls.
Work wise, we created Motion Flow Media four years ago to offer creative solutions to clients across the globe like photography (interior, lifestyle, product, landscape), cinematography, content creation, social media, animation, post production, web design and app development.
And now we are very excited because we just established our Indonesian company here and have big plans of giving jobs to the lovely local people. Unfortunately, Bali is still closed for international tourism – so a huge percentage of people lost their jobs or have no customers at all. We would love to give something back to the island. More info is coming soon!
Our Favourite Places in Bali
What blows our mind most about Bali is being close to the active Mount Agung. You have to be lucky with the weather because usually it’s covered by clouds but when the volcano is out it’s just magical. We find it hard to describe the feeling of being near Agung. You simply freeze from the view.
We also have another new favourite place and memory because of our recent wedding. In December of last year, we decided to get married here in Bali after 12 years of being together. It was a last minute decision – so we had to arrange everything quickly – but in the end we pulled it off.
Our goal was to end the crazy year of 2020 with an epic memory. Even though we knew our family couldn’t join us due to the restrictions, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer. We have always dreamed about getting married barefoot on the beach. It was a dream come true. Having our Bali friends with us made it an absolutely special day.
Must-See Attractions of Bali
Besides enjoying the beaches, we suggest that visitors go explore the rice fields, jungles and waterfalls too. There are so many hidden spots that not many tourists know about. Another off-the-beaten-path destination is the east where Mount Agung is located. It’s such a beautiful place.
Also, you can’t miss out on exploring Nusa Penida – a smaller island situated next to Bali. The beaches are incredible and you can even swim with manta rays which is truly amazing! If you have plenty of time in Bali, be sure to head into the jungle for some hiking. You won’t regret it!
Upcoming Adventures in Bali
Believe it or not, there are still many parts of Bali we haven’t explored. Despite the fact that it’s a small island, Bali is filled with too many gorgeous spots that everyone should visit. Our exploring is still in progress.
Every time we explore a new area of Bali, we are amazed at how magical the island is. Now our plan for the upcoming months is to spend a few days in Amed (eastern part) and then in Lovina (northern Bali). Plus there are some big waterfalls on the way up north that we want to visit as well.
*FYI: most of the tourist attractions and beaches in Bali were closed until June/July. In the first half of 2020, we spent most of our time at home.
Amazing Expat Life in Bali
Living in Bali as an expat is incredible. The locals are kind and warm-hearted and their culture is beautiful. All day long you can smell the incense placed on the offerings right next to the roads. So many people are mesmerised by Bali – not only because of its landscapes and beaches but also because of how magical the people and culture is.
The best way to describe Bali is that the people, culture and landscape mix together in such a wonderful way that you never want to leave! This is how most people feel after visiting the island. We have never had any problems integrating into island life and Bali felt like home from the first minute.
A few months ago we were honoured to witness a local wedding where we had to wear traditional local dress. It was an incredible experience and one that we will never forget! Compared to a European wedding, the Balinese ones are completely different. It was such a unique day for us.
Why Bali is a Foodie Heaven
Bali is a foodie heaven – both for vegetarians and meat eaters. For local dishes they use a huge variety of fresh veggies and usually you can find the vegetarian versions of each dish. We are absolutely in love with nasi goreng (fried rice), gado gado (salad made up of a bunch of veggies and finished with peanut sauce) and tipat cantok (rice cakes). You have to try them all!
If someone prefers Western food, there are endless options to choose from. Ubud is considered to be the capital of vegan/vegetarian food and this is so true! It’s incredible how many different types of creative vegan/vegetarian meals you can eat here. Once you try them, you won’t want to eat meat anymore. We are super happy with the food in Bali.
Tips for Expat Life in Bali
It might sound funny but the “most important” thing that every expat moving to Bali should know is that the island is tropical. The humidity is super high and there are geckos and bugs everywhere (even in the 5-star hotels). Just mentioning this because it’s funny how many people get surprised by all these things!
Joking aside, the Internet works well in Bali and there are many great co-working spaces that you can utilise if you don’t want to work from home. But you need to know that driving a scooter is a must here: because of the heavy traffic, it takes ages to get somewhere with a car. Lastly, be sure to visit the unexplored regions of Bali and not just Canggu.
Thank you so much for reading our Bali expat guide and we look forward to seeing you here one day 🙂