This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali)

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 find all of my previous monthly roundup posts here.

July, for me, was an all-around amazing month. First off, I literally just realized that last month marked my second anniversary of moving abroad. It’s kind of incredible how much I have changed during these past two years, especially when I look back at this post I wrote right when I moved to Jakarta in July 2014.

Last month’s two-year expativersary, even though it went unnoticed until now, made it especially fitting that July was also the month I returned to Indonesia, the country where my expat adventures first began.

This Expat Life Month 24 Bali

I spent the month of July slowly getting reacquainted with Bali. Despite what everyone thinks this is far from a vacation for me. My days – surprise, surprise – have been spent working. And while I’ve spent countless hours hunched over my laptop, in either a hotel room or my current (tiny) studio apartment, I have been relishing having the opportunity to be in Bali. Even if I do have to work.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush
One of my many “offices” on Gili T.

My first week back in Bali was spent in the Kuta area, a place that despite its bad reputation is the place I always seem to kick off my trips to Bali in. It’s become a tradition for Aaron and I.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush
Finding peace in crazy Kuta.

It might not be my personal favorite place in the world but I had a blast being back there. I spent my time in Kuta stuffing my face with my favorite vegetarian Indonesian foods, taking dips in my hotel pool or the ocean during my lunch breaks and getting sun on my absurdly white body. I swear I am half Mexican, even if I don’t look it.

vegetarian soto ayam indonesia (1 of 1)

Before too long Aaron and I hopped on a boat to Gili Trawangan (the place where this little blog was born back in March 2014) to visit with a friend we met while we were living in Jakarta. Gili T, though it caters to a younger demographic than my 34-year-old self, is still one of my favorite places.

Because it’s populated by predominately Muslim residents, being on Gili T was the first time I’d heard the call to prayer in over a year. And while I should have been irked being woken up every day at sunrise, I didn’t mind in the least. The call to prayer is one of those things that I miss about living in Indonesia.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush
Just in case you’re wondering where the closest mosque is.

When I wasn’t staring at my laptop, my days were spent floating in one of the bluest and clearest oceans I’ve ever laid eyes on, watching truly magical sunsets over Bali, eating nasi campur at the night market and sipping Bintangs on the beach. It was a great few days catching up with a friend, feeling relaxed at the idea of being on the road again, and looking forward to being able to spend two whole months in one of my favorite corners of the world.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush
Aaron’s death metal sign is blocking my face. Go figure.

I headed back to mainland Bali mid-month, where Aaron and I rented a place in Uluwatu. I sped through Uluwatu briefly during a trip to Bali last year. That trip really opened up my eyes to how diverse a destination Bali is. Honestly, it’s because of that trip that I was so excited to have the chance to spend this summer here. And a major reason why I’ve now fallen head over heels for Bali.

I’ll write more about Uluwatu soon. But, seriously, if you’re headed to Bali get your ass to the Bukit Peninsula. It’s AMAZING. It pretty much rained during the first five days I was there – very odd considering it’s the dry season here – but I must admit it made me feel less guilty for spending my time inside working.

The sun eventually came out and put me in full-on exploration mode. You all know I’m pretty obsessed with exploring places by motorbike. So Aaron and hopped on our bike and set off. We found abandoned resorts, unreal blue beaches and jaw dropping vistas.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush
This is part of an abandoned resort. So weird and so unbelievably cool!

I love Uluwatu and I wouldn’t be surprised if I head back there this month.

Considering Aaron and I had initially planned to rent a place for the entire summer, we decided to settle down in the surfer town of Canggu for our remaining five weeks. Will we be able to stick to a commitment of five weeks in once place? Who knows.

Canggu is a place I heard about from this post, so I figured Aaron I should check it out. And so far I’m loving it. We found a studio apartment, with a pool, that only puts us back $17 a night. We rented a motorbike, a necessity for getting around town here. And we’re slowly exploring this place that is full of stunning green rice paddies and impressive street art – two things that make me swoon.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush

stree art canggu bali (1 of 1)

I’ve been gorging myself on vegetarian and vegan food – Canggu is a paradise for non-meat eaters. I’ve even found a vegan Indonesian place that I’ve quickly become a regular at.

This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali) - Travel Lush

I could do without the rooster who lives outside my studio and crows at all hours. But other than that, life has been pretty sweet here in Bali. I’m already experiencing post-travel depression. Is that normal? But I’m going to suck it up and make the most of my next month here because, if it’s anything like July, it’s going to go by all too fast.


I’ve been trying (really hard) to stick to a schedule of blogging once a week. And so far I’ve succeeded! Considering I spend my entire days writing for work, it’s no easy feat to get inspired to blog during my free time. But being back in Southeast Asia, my second home and birth place of Travel Lush, has got me feeling all sorts of inspired.

What I wrote in July:

Why I Love Bali, And Why It’s Taken Me So Long

9 Wonderfully Quirky Things About Tokyo

Bye Bye Beijing, Hello Bali!

This Expat Life: Month 23 (Beijing)


I reached an Instagram milestone in July: 2000 followers! Thanks for following along guys. And if you want to hop on the bandwagon you can find me here.

Now onto my most popular photo in July…

I made a point of watching the sun set every night during my week on Gili Trawangan. Each night the sunset was so different but equally as magical. But this has to be one of my favorite moments (and pictures) from July: the sun setting over Bali and the silhouette of Bali’s Mount Agung volcano.

How did your July 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.

4 thoughts on “This Expat Life: Month 24 (Bali)

    1. I ate way too well in Bali … not that I’m complaining too much. I’m going to miss all that veg-friendly food when I’m back in Beijing. Hopefully one day I become more knowledgable about how to be veg in Beijing. Sadly, I’m still fairly clueless (and hungry!).

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