Transportation of a Bali Expat
Do you remember the Savage Garden song ‘The Animal Song’? I don’t know where it comes from but that song comes into my mind almost daily, as I now transport my family around on a motor scooter. And I do sing it, out loud!
I want to live like animals
Careless and free like animals
I want to live
I want to run through the jungle
With the wind in my hair and the sand at my feet…
To be completely honest, I love riding my Scoopy motor scooter! Bali roads and traffic would make my world here much more restricted and stressful without her, yep she’s a girl, meet Ruby!
This single life change, going from a family car to motor scooter, has probably been one of the most impactful changes moving to Bali, however it does provide us a real sense of freedom and fun.
One surprising element of this transport switch that fills me with most gratitude is simply the time that I spend close to my sons when on a motor scooter.
As we travel, I have close contact with them both, I can hear them through our helmets frequently humming away to themselves, a cute and quirky trait which they both do at different times that I have never noticed them do before our move! We have brief conversations about our day and the environment that we pass by, but I think it is that basic human need of touch that gives me the greatest sense of warming as a mother, as I can easy give a little squeeze of an arm or a leg and also receive that same reassuring shoulder massage or tap of affection in return. Such fond moments which would rarely be experienced while driving a car, are now part of my daily blessings!
Living in Bali as a solo parent when Chris is away for work however, sees this transportation element needing much more logistical care and planning.
With Baxter sitting in front of me and Hudson behind, we are like three snug ‘peas in a pod’ who are becoming confident and cultured on how we best go about daily life.
School drop off certainly looks a lot different to our familiar car drops to school in Australia!
Our International School is a short 5-7minute journey on small village roads and scooter short cuts requiring minimal effort or planning… we are two boys, two school back packs, one Mumma and her handbag!
When it comes to attending other social events, going to recreational places and other basic life hacks like the weekly grocery shopping… and well, it can be a ‘little more effort required’ from Little.Miss.IBU!
My grocery shopping has become more of a weekly excursion than the adhoc Australian supermarket stop, which now sees me take a ‘motorbike taxi’ with my reusable bags in tow for a bigger weekly shop. A distance of around 7km from our villa, this costs a mere $1.50 – $2 AUD.
On return I engage a car to accommodate my shopping bags now full of groceries. This trip is a refreshing novelty, although frustratingly taking twice the travel time, but still a small cost of around $4 – $5 AUD. It does however see me happily sitting in air conditioning, out of the elements and listening to the radio. It’s funny how the simple little things can bring a smile to your day!
With two active outdoorsy boys, in Australia our most frequent social avenue was the beach for boarding and surfing and the skate park.
Bali being a similar climate and culture to our previous home, sees us embarking on the same joys… so it is with my ‘big girl pants’ on and some time to strategise and plan, that I am proud we have been successful in still doing these fun family activities, with our motor scooters as our trusty transport.
Carefully navigating my way to the beach in light early Sunday morning traffic, Little.Miss.IBU transports her two boys, a beach bag and one surf board secured to the surf rack attached to the left side of Chris’ motor scooter.
Using this same surf rack, I also strategically secure the two scooters that we brought with us in suitcases from Australia and safely take an afternoon outing to the very popular skate park near our home.
Grateful that both destinations do not require large busy roads, hectic traffic jammed with cars or long distances, we do a safety and stability check and take our time to arrive carefully and I’m actually surprised by how well this works without any hesitation or fears.
With my families safety always at the forefront, be reassured that if I had any doubts about these trips I would certainly not take any risks to get us there… there is always the option of taxi’s and drivers, however motor scooter logistics are common practice in Bali and is just one very stark difference that we encounter daily living as expats.
The single biggest element which can hinder life enormously with a motor scooter as your primary mode of transport is the weather!
When driving a car, it’s rare to give the weather conditions much thought, as it really does not impact on your journey considerably.
Riding a motor scooter however, we currently have poncho’s that are almost a permanent fixture in Ruby’s boot at the moment as being rainy season, tropical storms brew quickly most afternoons with heavy down pours… and let me tell you, being stuck out and about when on your Scoopy, in heavy rain, is never fun!
You have two choices: pull up, seek shelter and wait it out, and who knows how long the down pour can last… or ‘poncho up’ and head home ‘Hati Hati’! (slowly)
The sun and wind are also weather considerations which can impede on a planned outing. Sitting in between cars and traffic in the searing sun and heat can be very taxing and oppressive, as can the wind as it requires more concentration but also the pollution and dust experienced can be more extreme in such conditions.
Talking poncho’s, who would have thought that an overseas move to Bali would also heavily impact on one Little.Miss.IBU’s daily fashion?
Yes, I do my best to be a stylish fashionista in a plastic poncho, however I have never had to give so much thought to my daily clothing selection as I do now, with my legs required to be splade apart on Ruby several times a day so that my youngest son can travel in front of me. #Modesty.Alert!
And don’t get me started on hairstyling… if it’s not from the heat and humidity preventing modern sleek long hair styling options, it’s the constant kink of ‘helmet hair’ that sees me in defeat and most often just pull it all back in a simple pony tail!
I want to run through the jungle, with the wind in my hair and the sand at my feet… yep, wild and free, that’s more my fashion style these days!