In 2016, I was lucky enough to fly to Bali each week, working abroad during what was without a doubt, THE BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE! I had so many amazing adventures travelling throughout Bali and learned a lot of life lessons along the way. Which, in turn, made my year working abroad a truly life-changing experience.
Living in a foreign country has taught me so much about myself.
Working abroad, I’ve learned to become even more accepting of cultural differences. I now have an innate appreciation of cultural diversity. And I have never appreciated some aspects of living in Australia more. That being said, I’d happily follow in the footsteps of the many Australian ex-pats now working abroad living in Canggu. In fact, I would move to Bali in a heartbeat! When I’m home in Australia, I crave Balinese cuisine. I miss the endless summer nights and long to return to the balmy heat of this tropical haven! In fact, it’s the laid-back lifestyle in this region of the world that I love the most. Growing up in Queensland, I feel alive in the summer. And as much as I love living in Melbourne, Bali now feels more like my second home.
The strangest part of the whole experience of working abroad is that it barely felt like work!
The flights were extremely busy and I’d practically fall in a heap the minute I got home. Yet, it still felt like coming home from a vacation and I’d drive into my garage thinking ‘back to work tomorrow!’ Before realising I was actually on days off and domestic flying was actually a thing of the past. Passengers constantly tested me whilst I was at work. But the minute I stepped off the plane, either arriving in Bali or returning home, I was completely at zen.
Australia had become a place where I didn’t actually work anymore and I could just enjoy my time at home. Meanwhile, my Bali trips were like a mini-vacay, once (or sometimes twice) a week!
Between flights, my friends and I would spend endless hours laying by the pool. Soaking up the sun, the surf and the sand. Sipping coconuts on the beach and learning how to surf. Visiting the salon for massages and spa treatments, daily! Exploring waterfalls, bartering at the local markets, watching the sunset and dancing the night away.
As a crew, we had a very close bond whilst working abroad together.
“Meet me at the Beach Bar at 5!” became a regular phrase. You always knew you could go there at the end of any given day and find fellow pilots and cabin crew enjoying a cold Bintang, or sipping on 2 for 1 Cocktails. Then, we would go out to dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants, where we had already made friends with owners. We also got to know the staff at our resort, as they would help us arrange transport to and from the hotel and welcome us back when we returned later that night. And as we always stayed at the same hotel, it felt more like our second home.
On the plane, there was also a buzz in the air!
We’d operate busy flights, full of holidaymakers excited to be returning to Bali, as most Aussies have been before. I’d chat with guests during the inflight service and give tips to travellers who were visiting Bali for the first time. And it was always great to see the same guests returning to Australia on my following trip and asking about their adventures.
There were, of course, a few drawbacks to working abroad though. Such as the exhausting red-eye flights home.
After working all through the night, we’d have long waits at Adelaide airport before flying home to Melbourne. So I’d eventually end up hating everyone for at least 12 hours after we returned home, extremely sleep-deprived!
Jetlag and the constant time changes took their toll and I could never rest at normal hours of the day.
But I’d quickly bounce back. On my days off, I’d catch up on some sleep, before hitting the gym for two hours a day to get my energy back. Followed by Pilates and yoga classes, to whip my bikini body back into shape, before returning to Bali again two days later!
I was away a lot and I did become a little disconnected from my family and friends here in Australia. But my fellow crew now feel like family and the memories we have made will live on forever in our hearts… Terima Kasih BALI, Indonesia, my home away from home!
Working abroad is an amazing experience! So if it’s something you have always longed to do, then I urge you to pack your bags and go. (Read the story of ‘How I Landed My Dream Job’ here) Whether it be a remote year working abroad, volunteer work providing foreign aid or simply taking a gap year, travelling will change your life!