Bali Babe: Sabine van Kooperen – The Spirit Behind The Confidante Spirits
Every week I sit down with an inspiring island babe to have a talk about life on the island and their personal journey. This week I’m talking to Sabine van Kooperen, owner and designer at The Confidante Spirits.
// About this Bali Babe
Name: Sabine van Kooperen
From: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In Bali Since: November, 2016
How did you fall in love with this island?
When I moved to Bali, I didn’t know what to expect besides everything I’d seen on social media. The only thing I knew about it came from Instagram pictures, haha!
But as soon as I moved here I fell in love with the place. Because it is a palmtree Valhalla! What all these pictures don’t show though, is the chill and laid-back vibe that flows around the island. To be fair, I still have more to discover because I haven’t seen that much besides the South and the West part of Bali. But from what I’ve seen I can tell you that I simply love the lifestyle!
The fact life here is much more lived outside in the open air makes me very happy.
I lived in two quite local neighborhoods where I was surrounded by such sweet people, personally I think the Balinese are really sweet and warm! I love the Balinese culture and their people. The island breaths Hinduïsm, spirits, karma, and you’ll literally find incense everywhere you go. All these different fragrances! I truly love it. And then the sunsets, the food, the motorbike rides through rice fields.. do I need to continue? 😉
What made you eventually move to Bali?
Starting my own little clothing label! Bali is a great place to live for a while while working on your own project. As long as you don’t get lost in the party scene, it is an amazing place to take a break from our Western culture and have some “me” time.
What is it that you do here (work wise), can you tell us a little more about your journey?
In the beginning I was figuring out how the process of producing clothing on Bali actually works. So I began with creating some samples of my designs, got my web shop online and I cruised around looking for the right fabrics and dyeing and printing places.
When I eventually found the right suppliers I decided to start with my first production!
In between I also did some styling jobs for friends. There is real goodwill give- and take mentality on the island, like, if I do something for you, you can help me out with your own talents by doing something for me in return. Balanced trading which I love.
During this process of work I discovered a bit of the island, made a lot of new friends and did an amazing mindfulness course with Nadja (Mindful Bali) to work on myself. Aside from all of this I found enough time to chill and relax, and so I did!
What do you miss the most from your hometown/country?
The open mentality of people. I feel that, where I’m from, people genuinely, don’t really want to share their business experiences or advices cause they’re scared you might “steal their idea” or run away with it. To me that attitude is bullshit. There is nobody in the world inventing a new wheel, so why not share your knowledge?
In Bali, I can literally sit down in a coffee café, in an urban nomad village such as Canggu, and pitch my idea with a stranger next to me while trading advice.
What was the hardest part of moving/living here?
It’s probably cliché but having my parents and friends not physically next to me is one of the hardest things. It also got a little frustrating I was not making any money since I don’t have a business visa. These visas are expensive and hard to get in Indonesia so for me it’s just a lot of spending at the moment. And investing, or maybe even both 😉
How does a random day on the island look like? Can you run us through a day in your life on the island?
I wake up with sunlight, a crowing rooster and then I hop on my scooter with my laptop, deciding where I will eat my delicious avocado on toast and I work for a bit.
About three times a week from 7AM till 8AM I work out on the beach with 2befitBali before starting my day. This is how I met Jones by the way 😉 One of the best ways for me to workout because it’s on the beach and with some amazing trainers! It’s the only thing that keeps me in shape since I failed surfing and walking on this island is not really doable. Almost everything is done on the motorbike.
After my morning routine I usually have to run some errands for the production in Denpasar, then come back, watch the sunset with a coconut, go out for dinner or get some tasty Indonesian food and then I chill with friends. Sounds good, right? I have to say I realize how perfect this sounds and it actually really is.
What is it you love the most about living in Bali?
All the previous things I mentioned.. I can’t choose one!
What are you missing most from Holland?
Sometimes I miss some routine, or being productive. I’m not able to make money in Bali because they have strict rules and you need an expensive visa to be able to get work here, so sometimes I felt a bit slow and lazy. It’s good for me to go back and forth to Holland. I absolutely need that balance.
In Amsterdam I can be extremely busy with an overfull schedule and sometimes I really do like that!
What surprised you the most about Bali and the life here, is there something you didn’t expect or weren’t prepared for?
That most of the locals are so sweet and still not entirely tired of all the tourists, especially the ones that are behaving reckless, stupid and disrespectful. Unfortunately, there are quite some of those out here.
It makes me kind of sad to think of the high level of tourism.
I heard from friends that it increased massively since the last 5 years and not in a very healthy way.
It’s quite polluted and solutions in how to handle all the trash that we all produce aren’t really there. So if you go, be super conscious, try not to drink too much from plastic bottles and just take a fabric bag with you instead of taking all the plastic bags that they give you in the shops.
What are your future dreams and goals here on the island, what would you like to achieve?
For me, Bali would be more of a second home then a first home, I will try to come back as much as I can and learn and discover more about Indonesia, learn some Bahasa and try to adapt their life values in my own life as much as I can
What would you advise anybody who wants to move to the island of Bali or to another country in general?
Make some effort in learning their language, I’m ashamed of myself that I didn’t practice any of it. I got a bit lazy because I lived in a touristy/expat area where almost everyone speaks a bit of English, but if you go outside these areas you really show some respect if you try to speak their language.
When I travelled through South America I learned to speak Spanish and it was so much fun, and all the locals loved it. Just think about it for a second: what would you expect from someone that moves to your country besides learning your language? To be kind, always!
To see more of this power babe and her creations check out the website and web shop of The Confidante Spirits: www.theconfidantespirits.com