Every other week I sit down with an inspiring island babe to have a salty talk about life on the island. This week I’m talking to Sophia Molen, blogger and online entrepreneur at TAO Stories. Sophia is one of the inspiring and refreshing souls I met on the island and I love how she is the Instagram blogger who brings a good dose of tao philosophy to the island.
// About this Bali Babe
Name: Sophia Molen
In Bali since: 2016
How did you fall in love with this island?
It’s certainly the Bali lifestyle that attracted me back to the island after a little backpack trip that I did three years ago. The ultimate feeling of freedom that can be found here. You can do whatever you want (to a certain extent) and do it in a really good way. From networking, partying, doing sports, meditation, being creative etc.
What made you eventually move to Bali?
After two years of partly working in a hospital and partly working on my online business, I earned enough money to travel around the globe while working remotely. This was the start of my digital nomad adventure.
I managed to stay in Portugal, Vietnam, Brazil, Spain, Arizona, and California.
After a year of moving around, I was exhausted and craved a home. While looking online I found a really cute apartment complex in Bali, which gave me such a good feeling. It became my home and it’s the place where I still live after two years on-and-off in Bali.
How does a random day on the island look like? Can you run us through a day in your life on the island?
I got to be honest that I’m not really productive here in Bali. I meet up with different friends every day, take a few photos for my Instagram, go for sunset drinks and often end up making new friends. My life in Bali is extremely social. But hey, networking is part of my job right! 😉
What was the hardest part of moving/living here?
Last year I had a bike accident and that forced me to fly back to Amsterdam to get knee surgery. I considered having the surgery here in Bali, but I heard ambiguous stories about medical care. Also, my visa expired a few days after the accident, and getting visa extension (even in a situation like that) seemed pretty complicated. So I decided to fly back to the Netherlands, not the most comfortable thing with a broken leg. This was the point, I realized how far from home I really was and that I needed someone to take care of me during the upcoming months of rehabilitation. I could never have asked for that much help from my Bali friends that I just knew one year. I realized I needed my parents. Of my entire Bali experience, this was probably the hardest part.
The Bali life seems pretty idyllic and I’m a very optimistic person, but one thing that I’ve realized is how inconvenient it can be to live in a third world country, far away from ‘Western conveniences’ like good health care when something bad happens.
You are full time blogging for your TAO Stories websites next to creating content for your Instagram page. Did you always know you wanted to get into the world of blogging? – Can you tell us a little more about your journey?
I always felt like writing philosophical stories and sharing my perspective on life. Blogging is the perfect way to share for me. Instagram feels too superficial to share philosophical stories, however, I always try to excite my followers for a bit more profoundness yet share with them the joy of simple things in daily life.
What is the biggest misconception about living as an Instagram blogger on Bali?
That it’s just about showing the “pretty” stuff. Most Instagrammers love to show the breathtaking villas with stunning pools, pretty people, and amazing food etc. I feel it often creates a misconception about Bali. Yes, Bali is like paradise with its white beaches and amazing scenery, but Bali has such a raw side to it as well (that I personally find way more interesting). I love to show a bit of both on my Instagram and I would often shoot my outfits in underdeveloped streets featuring typical Indonesian things.
What is it you love the most about living life in Bali?
The feeling of freedom for sure. It feels like life “flows” here. I love the synchronic events (opposite of coincidences) that seem to happen here more than anywhere else I’ve ever been. If I would want something to happen, I would only have to think about it in a certain way and it would come to me in no time. The manifestation of certain situations and desires occur quite easily around here.
What surprised you the most about Bali and the life here, is there something you didn’t expect or weren’t prepared for?
When I came to Bali without knowing anyone on the island, I thought that the island would be a really safe place for me to hop around by myself. I’ve never been in a bad situation myself, but seriously, every freaking day, tourists get robbed and pulled off their bikes. Just this week, a girl’s leg was cut open by a guy that wanted her phone and perhaps didn’t agree on her bare legs. I hear cruel stories like this all the time and people say it only gets worse.
Excuse the drama, but I think it’s important for people to know what’s currently happening in Bali before they decide to come live here.
What would you advise anybody who wants to move to the island of Bali or wants to move to another country in general?
One simple way to be safer in Bali is to always bring long pants and jumper in your bike’s backseat. If you happen to drive home alone at night, put on the clothes and preferable hide your hair so you look more like a local instead of a tourist.
What are your future dreams and goals here on the island, what would you like to achieve?
As I’m not planning to stay here for too long, I’m not setting my goals to the island. I’m thinking about moving to Lisbon this summer and just come back here once in a while.
At what places can we find you when in Bali and at what places definitely not?
I live in Kerobokan, a pretty local and non-touristy neighborhood. I love to live here and do grocery kinda things. I would go to Berawa to catch up with friends, and the Batu Belong area for a bit more excitement.
What do you miss the most from your hometown/country when you are in Bali?
Sometimes I really miss my productive days. Back in the Netherlands, I have those weeks working on my dreams and ideas like non-stop. I love to work on future, but I also love being present and just live right now (what I find here in Bali). I guess I haven’t found the right balance yet.
Follow more of Sophia and her philosophical stories as well as her beautiful images on Instagram: @sophiamolen and on her blog: www.taoofsophia.com. She documents her travels on her travel blog: www.taotravels.today