Our Experience of Moving to Bali
Our founders, Natalia and Mateusz Zawada, recently made the exciting decision to split their time between Bali and London. With STARSEEDS' new sustainable factories located on the island, the move allows the team to have a closer connection with the people making our clothes. We chatted with them about the realities of moving to Bali, what people should know before taking the leap and what living in Bali is really like.
Tell us about your experiences of travelling to Bali before you made the decision to move. What did you love about Bali?
M: For me it’s a combination of the beauty of the island, generosity, and friendliness of the local people and great weather.
N: To be honest, when I first came to Bali, I didn’t fall in love with the place. It was the final stop during my holidays in Indonesia. We were on the way back from the pristine islands of West Papua, where we spent days watching marine life and connecting to nature without any access to Internet.
So when I arrived to Ubud I was very disappointed with how loud and polluted it was. The souvenir shops seemed to attack me from every corner of the temples, which was ruining the whole experience of such a historical town.
But I gave it a go.
Driving around the island I looked more closely and discovered something about this culture that kept calling me in. There is something magical about the Balinese attitude. Everything seems to be a ritual. They have the ability to create something unique out of nothing. And they do everything with a mindful attention to detail.
What was it that inspired you to spend more time Bali?
M: Bali inspires me to slow down. This sometimes can be tricky as working remotely has its challenges, but I'm less stressed while being here.
N: Something I would call the Balinese art of living. When it comes to art and craft, you might like it or not, but generally speaking the taste levels here are very high. I like to say they are Italians of South East Asia.
Starting from a little offering basket filled up with floral petals, to how they put things on a plate - everything is art! And it goes beyond the aesthetics. The art of touch, the art of healing, offering, music, ceremonies. Everything is done with mindful attention and presence.
Another thing is the community. You rarely see a homeless or hungry person here. They have a way of supporting each other.
What were the challenges of making such a big move? What advice can you give to others considering a move of this scale? What practical tips can you share with us?
M: So far the biggest challenge is the time difference; we’re 6 and 7 hours ahead of Europe and London. We would not be able to do this if we didn't have a great team working with us in London and in Warsaw.
Customer support can be tricky, but so far we have managed to avoid any major mistakes.
N: Bali is open to everyone, but you can only stay here two months as a tourist and if you’re planning on staying longer, getting a work visa is not very straightforward.
There are options depending on your lifestyle and work situation, so you must really want to stay there to sort this out for yourself. But everything is possible.
The tropical climate might be a challenge for some, and the ever-changing landscape. If you don’t like change, forget it! Even if you think you’ve finally found a very quiet area, in couple of months it can become a construction site.
On a deeper level, the local people say the island has its own way to welcome you or challenge you. According to their beliefs, Bali Mama, as they call the island, is placed on the crossroads of two Earth Meridians, which makes people highly sensitive to the energies here. So everything becomes more exposed and obvious. If you’re lost in life and looking for some answers, this place will support you and fast forward the process.
Business and sustainability-wise, why does spending more time in Bali make sense for you? How will this move change the business or the way you do business?
M: STARSEEDS started when we traveled through Asia and saw first hand the problems the fashion industry causes in this region. By being here our hope is to work with local factories to make them more sustainable and promote ethical production. By being close by we will have a bigger impact.
N: The majority of the word clothing production is based in Asia. My goal is to be close enough to the factories to support our team, share the things I am learning on my path and make a difference in the production chain.
In Bali there is a massive problem with the plastic waste, and while the masses of tourists from the West are polluting the ocean, there is also a strong opposing wave of anti plastic activism. And Starseeds wants to be part of this movement.
What's your new life in Bali look like? Take us through the average day for you.
M: I found an amazing co-working space in Canggu, and I head there most days. It's a great space, but what makes it special is the community around it. We've met beautiful people who are eager to share their expertise in marketing, creating websites, etc.
I usually drive Natalia to a yoga class and have a quick session of answering customers' email as well!
N: My days here vary, but I’ll try to take you through my rituals.
Every single day starts with yoga practice, which sets my day up. I go to The Practice; the yoga studio where I did my first 200h training or I practice at home.
I have a very clear week work schedule that I try to follow, which I created with the help of my business coach. I work either from home or a local co-working space.
I try to cook at home as much as possible, buying ingredients at local markets, but have to say, I love the cute vegetarian expat cafés around Canggu.
I tend to watch at least two sunsets a week and always go for Kirtan (mantras chanting practice) on Sundays.
Saturday is a road trip day. We take a scooter and move around the island.
My house is always open to people and to be honest, we’re very rarely alone.
What's been the best part of moving to Bali so far?
M: Meeting digital nomads from all over the world, who are open to sharing their knowledge and experiences. Oh and the weather (but I might need to amend this when the rainy season starts!)
N: Waking up with the sounds of birds, and for sure the ocean sunsets!