After moving abroad in July 2014, I started compiling monthly roundup posts about life as an expat in Asia and all the nitty gritty that goes on behind the scenes here at Travel Lush. You can check out my previous monthly roundup posts: May, June and July.
Living a semi-nomadic life is kind of bizarre. Since I moved to Beijing a year and a half ago I’ve split my time between living in Beijing and spending the summers and winters in Southeast Asia (Bali, Indonesia, and Nha Trang, Vietnam, to be specific).
So every few months, I pack my bags and move from Beijing to Southeast Asia and back again. And while I love this lifestyle, sometimes it’s a bit tough to keep making the transition from one place to the next.
Not that I’m complaining. I did recently wrap up a blissful three-month stint in Canggu, Bali. While I did spend the summer working, I thoroughly relished the everyday things that life in Bali offers, like walking on the beach, motorbiking past rice terraces, eating excellent vegetarian food and living in the most perfect villa. It was pretty great, but I knew it couldn’t last forever.
And now, just like that, I’m back in Beijing.
So what did I get up to my last month in Bali? Here it goes:
Traveling to Amed
My trip to Amed was by far the highlight of the summer for me. I’ve been traveling to Bali for years, but somehow I’d never been to the north before this summer. I don’t know what took me so long because I was blown away by the beauty of Amed.
The beachside town is lined with black sand beaches and colorful fishing boats and is fringed by the glimmering ocean on one side and towering green mountains on the other. It’s gorgeous.
But the most unbelievable part is that the entire town has an uninterrupted view of Bali’s tallest volcano, Mount Agung. Oh and did I mention that there is epic snorkeling right offshore? Yeah, Amed has that too.
Realizing just how much I love working remotely
As someone who has spent a large chunk of her adult life freelancing or having bosses that are open-minded enough to allow her to work from home, I’m really used to working from wherever I want to. And while this style of work isn’t for everyone, I absolutely love it.
Some people feel most productive in an office environment. But more and more I’m realizing that I’m far happier and more productive working on my own terms. Even though I currently work a 9-5, and therefore don’t dictate my own schedule, my bosses do allow me to work from home in Beijing at least a couple days a week and to work remotely during the summer and winter months (as long as I’m in a similar time zone as Beijing). I’m incredibly grateful for that.
Honestly, I don’t think I was made to sit in an office for eight hours a day. So this summer I took the time to really appreciate not having to commute, being able to work in my pajamas day in and day out, and having the opportunity to dip into my private pool whenever I wanted to!
Spraining my foot and visiting the emergency room
This summer in Bali was near perfect, but I did get into a minor motorbiking accident my last week on the island. Thankfully I’m fine, but my foot and toes did take the brunt of the impact. (We sideswiped a parked motorbike in case you’re curious.)
My left foot was swollen, bruised and battered, and for the first few days it hurt so badly I could barely put weight on it. Because it wasn’t getting better after three days I finally went to a local clinic to get an x-ray. I went to the most legit clinic I could find, assuming all clinics have x-ray machines. But when I asked the doctor he informed me that the nearest x-ray was at the hospital, which was about an hour away.
He poked and prodded my toes and foot and said he doubted anything was broken and to just take it easy. So I spent my last week in Bali sitting in bed, working during the day and watching TV at night, hoping my foot wasn’t actually fractured or broken, and dreaming of walking on the beach which was completely impossible.
Mentally prepping to return to Beijing
Like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s really odd to just pick up and leave places. And though I’m used to moving around a lot, it is always jarring returning to Beijing. Truth be told, my existence in Bali is vastly different than my life in Beijing.
While I do love Beijing there’s a lot about my living situation that I don’t love, mainly that my apartment is
a hellhole less than ideal and it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. So while I do love the city, my living situation is always a rough one to come back to. It is free, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much! But still…
Working & Blogging
I had grand plans to attempt to blog once a week during the month of August, and I failed miserably. The fact that this monthly roundup post is three weeks overdue is a case in point.
One of my dearest college friends is visiting Beijing for an entire week. We have grand plans to do all the touristy things, including visiting the Great Wall! And in October I’ll be going home to California for two whole weeks! I’m going to eat so much Mexican food and cheese!!!
Bali is one of my favorite places to take photos. Honestly, that island is ridiculously photogenic. Here are a few of my most popular snapshots from August.
This is why I love getting lost while traveling. While motorbiking around the beach town of Amed, Bali, we decided to head down a random road, with zero clue of where it would lead. Before we knew it we were heading inland, zipping past the greenest rice paddies and mountains so high they touched the clouds. It was unbelievably beautiful. We kept chugging up the super steep hillside, stealing views, until we felt it unwise to continue. The breaks on our bike were not very good, so we basically rolled back down the mountain. This was taken at the end of our mini adventure: a beautiful rice paddy with a tiny sea view. Amed’s coast is stunning but it’s interior is breathtaking.
These little baskets of colorful goodness are scattered all over the streets of Bali. They’re actually called Canang Sari and are assembled daily by the Balinese as an offering to the gods. You’ll see them everywhere, from the dashboards of cars to the entrances of homes to the shores of beaches. They can contain a variety of items… flowers, cookies and candies, cigarettes and incense. They’re assembled with incredible care and precision, with each color, item and placement of each item representing one deity or another. The culture on this island is yet another reason I love it here so much. There’s always something new to experience and learn 🌼💕
A post shared by Justine Lopez (@thetravellush) on
I have less than two weeks left in Bali. Why did the summer have to fly by so quickly?! I always have a hard time tearing myself away from Indonesia, but something tells me this time is going to be the toughest. I love this place more and more each time I visit. BUT instead of sulking, I suppose I better enjoy the time I have left!
How did your August shape up?