Bali Babe: Shelby Matias – The roaming soul behind Roam Rumah


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 Shelby Matias founder and jewelry designer at Roam Rumah.

// About this Bali Babe

Name: Shelby Matias

From: California

How did you fall in love with the island?

I first came to Bali in 2011 with my mama. She had come here in the 70’s and we decided to do a girls trip when I was 19. We lived in a tree house for a month and had access to an empty beach. I fell in love with being barefoot and sandy.

It took  me 4 years, but I eventually ended up back in Bali on a one way ticket.

What made you eventually move to Bali?

I was working for a few companies and ended up getting sick. I developed crazy anxiety and a bit of depression and it forced me to make changes in my life.  I knew that if I didn’t go to prove to myself that I could, I would never be satisfied with my life back in California.  So I bought my ticket and just decided to go.

You are the founder and designer behind Roam Rumah jewelry. Can you tell a bit more about how the idea of starting your own jewelry label started?

The jewelry line, like what brought me to bali in the first place all comes back to my mama.  On our first trip we collected sea glass on our little stretch of beach.  When I decided to come back she spent the first month with me.  We decided to get rings made with the glass from our first trip.

After 6 months on the island, I had run out of money and was heading home.

With some inspiration from my amazing friend Taylor, I created Rumah.  I designed a few pieces and got as much jewelry made as I could with money I borrowed from my parents. (shout out mom and dad-you’re the best) I made enough in CA to get back to Bali and I decided to see where it would take me. It escalated from there and a few months later I had expanded to Roam+Rumah.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

Everything about the jewelry comes from the ocean.  I lived on Bingin Beach for the first year and a half and fell in love with the sea.  To this day its where I collect the glass, do all of my designing and take all of my inspiration.

What is it that Bali has that home doesn’t?

I think Bali for me was a place I needed to come to get my ass kicked. Home was a bit too easy for me, I needed somewhere I didn’t know anyone,

I wasn’t anyone’s daughter or little sister, somewhere without  a safety net.

I definitely found that in Bali.  I’ve gotten my ass handed to me here, but I am a better person for it.

What is the hardest part of living here?

For me, the hardest part of living here is the treatment of animals, and having to accept the fact I can’t save them all.  I have a really hard time seeing helpless dogs on the side of the road and not being able to help.  There are amazing organizations like Barc4Bali Dogs that deserve more support and funding, because the dogs are dealing with the effects of humans.

What does a day look like in Bali?

I think my favorite part of my life here is everyday I wake up and I can create the type of life I want.  Most days I wake up early, and snuggle my two dogs until they get sick of me. I then make them breakfast while I make myself coffee and check emails.  Sometimes I head to a coffee shop to meet friends for a coffee, other times I head straight to the beach.  There’s something really special to me driving on my scooter through the back roads, I can’t quite describe the high it gives me.


What do you miss from home?

I definitely miss my family and my dogs back home.  My parents still live in my childhood home and its one of my favorite places in the world.  When I do go back to visit, I spend most of my time there with my parents just enjoying their company.

What surprised you the most about Bali and the life here, is there something you didn’t expect or weren’t prepared for?

I think something that continues to surprise me is the amount of people that have come to Bali to run away from their issues.  When I first came here, so many people asked me what I was running away from.

It never felt like I was trying to escape my life back home, I was looking for something more. Something bigger than myself and my bubble.

What are your future dreams and goals here on the island, what would you like to achieve?

When I first moved here I promised myself to always leave people, places and things better than when I found them.  I don’t think I’ve accomplished that  just yet.  In the next few years I would like to grow the jewelry business to put myself in a position to open a dog boarding/sanctuary center.  Just a little something I’ve got in mind 😉Shelby3


What would you advise anyone who wants to move to Bali or another country?

JUST GO.  There will always be a million reasons why it won’t work out, but there is always a million and one reasons why it will.  You won’t know unless you try.