A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to move to Bali.
It wasn’t because I hated my job or my living situation. In fact, I loved living in Hong Kong. I had an enjoyable job at an agency, a great group of friends, and a cute apartment that I shared with my boyfriend. Nonetheless, there was a constant niggling at the back of my head, a little voice asking if this was all there is to young adult life. I wanted to challenge myself and try something, and somewhere, new.
Bali is the quintessential tropical paradise—a traveller’s dream. The island has a reputation for year-round sun, irresistible beaches, and cheap delicious food. I had been lucky enough to experience some of the most idyllic aspects of Bali during my travels, but I’ve always felt there was a bit more to this Indonesian island. Besides, Bali has developed extensively over the last few years. It’s no surprise that it’s become such a popular hub for digital nomads.
In the beginning, the mere thought of moving to a tropical paradise was just a crazy faraway dream. But after two amazing trips to Bali, I brought up the idea to my boyfriend to see if he’d be willing to go with me. We didn’t intend on lazing around the beach the whole time, though! My boyfriend has a full-time job that would allow him to work remotely, and I wanted to take a deeper dive into my yoga practice whilst earning some income doing digital freelance work. After some deliberation, we finally came to an agreement and made concrete plans to fly over in March 2020.
As it goes, sometimes life just gets in the way of all your best plans. My boyfriend and I gave up our cosy apartment and got everything packed and ready to move over. In March, he went to Bali to get settled in while I flew over to the UK for a family reunion. He had found a great place that was within our budget, signed up for a gym membership, and sourced a co-working space to spend our working days. However, two days before my flight to Bali, the Indonesian government announced a full travel ban on foreigners due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We were devastated. We rescinded our offer on the house, cancelled my flight, and eventually made arrangements for us to ride out the pandemic back in Hong Kong. As of now, we’ve moved back in with our parents and are keeping a close eye on the news to see when travel might resume again.
With everything that’s happened over the past few months, our scheduled move to Bali has been turned on its head. I was originally so worried about certain things: that we’d run out of money, that I wouldn’t be able to find any freelance work, or that there would be issues with our visas. Like most people, I had no idea a full-blown global pandemic was coming our way. Looking back, those issues I was losing sleep over seemed silly.
It took me a while to nail down my daily groove, but I have finally eased into a routine that helps me to stay productive and focused. I usually start my day around 7 am, drink a big cup of warm water, and jump on my laptop to go through emails and read the news. I also take this time to set my to-do list for the day—this can range from identifying new prospects and writing to spending quality time with loved ones or putting together a delicious dish.
I usually do some work for a few hours before I roll out my trusty purple mat and do a yoga flow. Since I started practising at home more, I have loved learning flows from Alo Yoga. They have a great variety of options to choose from depending on what you want to focus on that day.
I then go about with making myself breakfast (which is almost always avocado on toast from Ali Oli Bakery!), after which I carry on with my to-do list, occasionally taking breaks to have a snack and rehydrate.
In the evenings, I relax and have dinner with family, friends, or my boyfriend. In such hectic times, it’s easy to miss the buzz of a busy restaurant or the excitement of a summer vacation, but it’s also given me the luxury of time to build my yoga practice and make memories with the amazing people in my life, and for that I’m grateful.
I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has destroyed a lot more for other people than just my travel dream. But if there’s one lesson I’ve learned from this situation, it’s that even the most well-thought-out plans won’t always work out. Instead of crying over spilt milk, you might as well try to make the most of your circumstances.