This Expat Life (Bali): Month 37

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.

This is what a coffee break looks like in Bali.

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.

Would you rather work in an office in China or in a villa in Bali with a pool?

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.

But I do love this city too!

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!!!

Actually my friend totally already visited. Here’s a sneak peek of my Great Wall photos!


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.


How did your August shape up?

About Justine

Justine Lopez is a California native who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust. In 2013, she set out on a yearlong round-the-world journey and never looked back. Since then she's lived the expat life in both Jakarta and Phnom Penh. She's now living and working as a freelance writer in Beijing. As she meanders her way through Asia she's always seeking out great vegetarian food, budget travel deals and amazing new travel destinations.

5 thoughts on “This Expat Life (Bali): Month 37

  1. Wonderful blog as always Justine!! Your pictures are incredible! I was a bit tickled to read that they offer cigarettes to the gods. Really? Guess their perspective of cigarettes is different than ours! Hope the transition to life in Beijing is going smoothly. Looking forward to seeing you soon!!
    Love, Cindy

  2. I love reading your blog. I am no expat but I used to live in Bali for 4 years before moving to Jakarta for work. So I know how you feel. Every single time I go to Bali, I always have this ‘home’ feeling and yes, the island is ridiculously photogenic. Looking forward to your next blog! Enjoy tacos and cheese!

    1. Thanks Sasha! Jakarta and Bali are definitely vastly different places. I do have a soft spot for both of them though 🙂 How long will you be in Jakarta for? I was hoping to get back there this summer just to revisit, but it didn’t work out. Yes, I will so enjoy the tacos and cheese!

      1. Both Jakarta and Bali are unique in their own way 🙂 I will be in Jakarta for quite a while, considering my full time job here. Let me know when you visit Jakarta, maybe we can grab a coffee reminiscing about Bali together haha. Have a great day!

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