Expat tales: Sun, surf and sunsets

LIVING THE DREAM: Surfing is both work and leisure for Janine Hall.

LIVING THE DREAM: Surfing is both work and leisure for Janine Hall.

Janine Hall left the corporate world to ride the waves in Bali.

What inspired your move, and how long have you been there?

I was inspired to follow my dream and work barefoot in a bikini and kaftan in eternal summer doing what I loved. I recognised that my childhood dreams of corporate success had changed and what I wanted for my next chapter was one of bohemian happiness and a tropical lifestyle doing work that benefits women's lives. I've been here now for five years and am still in the honeymoon period!

What do you do there?

I run global women's wellness retreats helping women recharge and reflect through yoga and surfing. Escape Haven operates out of Bali, Byron Bay, Portugal and Morocco. I have also recently launched a charity that serves Bali's orphans, teaching them the skills they need for a better future and providing economic support for the poorest villages on the island. Creating Futures Foundation empowers children under the belief that if you change their mindset you change their future. It does this through surfing, self-awareness and confidence growth, through yoga, meditation and English lessons.

What are the greatest advantages to living there?

The sun, the people, the peacefulness, the ocean and the community of global creative souls that inhabit the island. I also love that it's a place you can indulge in your passions and wellbeing for a fraction of the price.


The heat can sometimes get a bit much and it can be challenging to be productive in the hot, wet season of December through to March, but it's the price of living in the tropics, I guess!

How expensive is it compared to New Zealand? How much is a beer?

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It varies according to the category but approximately one fifth to one tenth of the price. A massage is $10, to change a flat tyre is $5, to hire a boat and driver for an hour it costs $15 and a three-course dinner for two in a beautiful restaurant is $50. The average price of a main is $7. Alcohol is comparable.

What do you do in your spare time?

It's all the same thing for me - walking the dog, surfing, yoga, take an adventure around the island or to neighbouring ones. Diving, eating out with friends and sunset drinks.

What's the local delicacy and would you recommend eating it?

Babi galung - roast pig. They say you should eat it on a Sunday as you mimic the pig once you eat it - you lie around and sleep!

Yes I have eaten it, and Oka in Ubud is the most famous place to sample it where for $5 you get a plate of pig and its innards.

Easiest way to get around?

By bike for the daring adventurers, or a driver, which will cost $50 for the day and the adventure and journey is yours.

What's the shopping like?

Amazing. Many fashion designers live on the island and do their production here so they have a store here set at local prices and export the rest which sells in stores for three to five times the Bali price. The Balinese are also master impersonators.

You can have a field day shopping to your heart's content.

Best after-dark activity?

Midnight swim on a full moon! A bonfire on the beach and a seafood BBQ at Jimbaran. A movie night under the stars at Nammos Beach Club is also an amazing after-dark experience.

Best time of year to visit?

April through to November when the weather is cooler and dry. To avoid the crowds come outside of July and August.

Besides family and friends, what do you miss most about home?

The smell of New Zealand summer, nothing beats it - anywhere.

How easy is it for you to get back to New Zealand?

Easy, with Air NZ flights I can be there in about 8 hours by flying direct.

If you know an expat who wants to share inside knowledge about their home away from home, email escape@star-times.co.nz with Expat in the subject line.

 - Stuff


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