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Briony Macgregor, Jimbaran Bay

Who are you?

I am a typical empty nester aged 44.All my children moved out of home and I decided to move and travel abroad for a change. I decided to gain employment overseas in Indonesia, last October.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I decided I needed a change of lifestyle after raising my 5 kids and took the logic of it’s now my time personally and career wise. Being a mum for so long I had to find myself again, and what better way then right out of my comfort zone? In doing this I gained confidence and self worth.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I personally didn’t have any challenges or worries about moving as my family gave me 100% support and praised me on my decision to try new things. I found by having such a supporting family it made my decision so much easier.

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My partner was also happy for me to try something new, so I left him in NSW with the house and dogs, knowing we would catch up in 8 weeks or so.

How did you find somewhere to live?

My job supplied me with the first month’s accommodation which gave me ample time to find a new residence there after. And after being there for a month it was easier to negotiate areas and rental prices.

And with working six days I didn’t have much time to explore the island so I tended to stay in the same area of Jimbaran Bay, which made it a short commute.

Are there many other expats in your area?

There are a lot of expats living in Indonesia and they are there to help if needed. I had been travelling to Indonesia for many years so it was familiar to me already, and knowing locals gave me sound peace of mind.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

The locals are wonderful and once you gain a rapport with them they treat you like family, they are very kind and generous. I have known a family for almost 20 years, and their help and guidance made my life so much easier, from finding cheaper pharmacy goods, to markets for shopping and clothing.

What do you like about life where you are?

Living in Indonesia is great, the lifestyle is totally different due to weather conditions, food and just living in general. To live a different way of life is very rewarding and relaxing to the mind.

The buildings are amazing. And places like Lombok, a small little island off Bali, was lovely, the temples and beaches and night markets. The smell of fresh food cooking in the street was divine, even the corn on the cob from the man cooking on the beach smelt and tasted beautiful.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

There were not many dislikes to living abroad, challenges maybe like not drinking from a tap or the traffic and lack of time frames, but after a few months you get used to the pace of living on the island.

There was some crime, but if you keep your wits about you and not hold your bag near the road I found you are fine, or it may be because I’m now a middle aged woman with some weight on me!

Other dislikes would be the rudeness some fellow people inflict on the locals. Being a rather poor country people’s standards of manners sometimes lapse and they have the mindset that they are less and are often spoken to poorly, which I cannot understand as they are very beautiful helpful kind people. I get sad that because it’s a third world country people tend to think they are lower class and I do not believe in that. I found the Indonesians happy to help for any occasion. I fell and broke my ankle whilst there and they were running with bandaids… god love them. But unfortunately I needed more then a bandaid.

I am back in Australia now, I left my position of work due to workplace difficulties and the way management treated staff. As there are no laws over there for mistreating staff I find that sad, and see the turnover for the company I worked for. It is huge… lesson learnt for other companies to treat staff well with a small turnover.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Culture is totally different as it’s a Hindu/Muslim country and as long as you abide by their laws there is no problem, I actually embraced it.

They have a relaxed way of living and the kindness is so engaging, I miss this in Australia.

The colours within their clothing and fabric is bright and energetic.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

The food and drinks are amazing and great prices. I was able to eat and drink for a average of $10 a day, that included my three meals and beverages.

I stayed at a homestay with a local family and they charged me $2.50 a day for breakfast, consisting of anything from pancakes, fried rice, or an omelette… tea, coffee, juice. Every day I stuck to my same order, crispy pancakes with a cup of tea. After a few days the staff had it all laid out for me.

The food seemed fresher as I was shopping at morning markets daily. The markets opened around 5/6 am and finished by 9 when stores were opening. The produce was so fresh and tasty and cheap. They also sold other odds and ends there but nothing that I ever needed as I tried to live basically.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Pretty much a do as I say not as I do attitude.

What are your plans for the future?

I have decided to go back into mining in WA, however I would love to move back at the right given opportunity.

Would you like to share your experience of life abroad with other readers? Answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

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