I have a friend and she just arrived back in Bali and yesterday she was like “Keira, I don’t know what I want to do with my life,” and we just bonded over the fact that we don’t really know, and some part of us is really okay with that and other parts, obviously our more natural parts, feel like we should know what’s happening and what will happen, but I think that in all the uncertainty the last 10 years have been for me, I’m so comfortable being in the unknown.
There are a few things that I would love to see for my future and I think that’s very different to what I thought it would be about ten years ago. I would have been seventeen and I had a very different idea of what I would be doing with my life. I think at seventeen I was a full time make-up artist and I saw myself doing that. I wanted to work in the education department of a bigger makeup brand. Work with new employees and teach what the new trends are, different techniques and the things that are happening in the industry, and I really loved makeup, until I didn’t. I really loved the creative side and I loved the time I got to spend with people. I’m a big fan of communication and that’s why I wanted to work in education because it’s just working closer with people. But being a part of a big make-up company was just a bit dragging. It was very money focused and I’m not a money focused person. It’s not the reason why I do things, it’s not my motivation behind my actions. So, that was really draining for me and that hurt my passion for makeup a little bit. So, I then went to uni.
I started a business degree and after 6 months I pulled the pin. I’m such a practical person and I loved learning and I still love learning, but it just wasn’t the right environment for me. I didn’t have high hopes, but I gave it 6 months and it just wasn’t right, so I stopped. Throughout that time a lot of people would say the classic, “What are you going to do without a uni degree?” or “You need a uni degree.” It just wasn’t my way of learning and I really felt passionately that people can succeed without having a university degree. So, I just kept doing little bits and pieces and kept finding little things that I was happy doing. I was doing makeup on the side which was nice and working a few different jobs, and for the last 3 years I actually worked as a graphic designer and media ‘sort of’ officer for a private school in the Hunter Valley.
I felt like I was working really, really hard, working long hours and was getting a little bit stressed by what my life had come down to and I just felt unhealthy.
It was advertised as an administration position. They actually really wanted someone who could do graphics, and in my interview they asked me if I knew how to use the software programs that they use, like InDesign, Illustrator, and in my interview I was like “Yeah, totally!” and then went home and Googled what those programs were, so I could figure out what I had just said that I could do. But that’s how I’ve always learnt everything, it’s kind of been on the fly. I got the job and started working and it was great. They were patient with me knowing that it was definitely something I was learning, but it was a great job. I loved the people that I worked with, and I loved the kids at the school as well. I really liked being a part of a school community, I really loved the school that I worked for, so I worked really hard and put a lot of effort in, but at the same time it was an hour away from where Jared and I lived, Jared’s my husband, and so it was a two hour commute each day. I was struggling with the pressure of work combined with social obligations and sort of, everything. I felt like I was working really, really hard, working long hours and was getting a little bit stressed by what my life had come down to, the ratio of work to leisure time, and I just felt unhealthy. I felt like I couldn’t put enough time into my body, into my health, into my mental health as well, and Jared was very much the same.
Jared would usually drive around 6 hours a day for work. He worked in Sydney and worked at a few different locations over Sydney each day. So, between Jared and myself, I think we estimated it was about 35 hours a week that we drove; which was not in the same car either, and we weren’t on the train, we couldn’t do other things, it was just driving. So, we got heaps of good podcast time, but, in terms of standard of living, we were just working ourselves really hard while knowing, it wasn’t enough for us. We didn’t love our jobs enough to keep doing what we were doing, and felt that it wasn’t healthy, especially for us as a younger married couple as well. We just felt like we couldn’t put time into our marriage. We didn’t get to see our friends as much as we wanted to, or our family. The quality of life was low and we were exhausted. So that’s when the outlook kind of changed and we decided that we needed to do something different, we just didn’t know what or how.
The goal for our life now I suppose, now that we’ve been here 6 months and have a bit of a clearer outlook is that we want to remain feeling healthy.
Moving to Bali was a big part of giving ourselves time and space to pursue what we are passionate about, and we worked really hard at home in our 9 to 5’s to afford to be able to come and live here for a certain period of time without the pressure of earning an income. Obviously that’s not something that we could have done back at home, living costs being so much more, we couldn’t have afforded to give ourselves the time to really learn and focus and experience. Let ourselves experience our passions wholly and then decide if that’s something that we want to pursue. It’s not possible for every person to save up and move to another country or uproot their life like we did, so that’s obviously not the solution for everyone, but for us it worked quite well. I think that we received a great amount of encouragement from our friends and family, but obviously every now and then we speak to people about what we’re doing or what we had planned on doing when we were back in Australia, we would get comments like, “Why do you want to do that?” or “Shouldn’t you be thinking about buying a house at this point?” or “Shouldn’t you be saving for kids at this point?” and just people planting little seeds of doubt, but we’ve become really good with that. We know what we’re doing is pretty strange so we’re kind of used to people putting their two cents in about it, but we love what we’re doing and it’s 99% beautiful and encouraging responses from people.
The goal for our life now I suppose, now that we’ve been here 6 months and have a bit of a clearer outlook is that we want to remain feeling healthy. I wasn’t always aware of how important my health was to the extent that I do now. I started that journey when I started dating my now husband, which was not that long ago. We’ve been married for 2 years, but we only met less than 18 months before that. Jared’s Mum actually works as a health coach too and she started introducing me to different foods, lifestyle habits that had really helped her and I started adopting some of those. A great memory for me was that this journey into health, which has essentially changed the entire way that I live my life now, all started with the introduction of my new family, which is really nice. I love Jared’s family, I love my own family too, and I think that’s really special that I have so many influences from both sides of my family that have built who I am and what I’m passionate about now, which is great. Health is a really, really important part of life for us, and that had really taken a back burner, but now that’s really quite front and centre. We have both become so happy and because of that, we always want health to be at the forefront of everything we do.
Health has a lot of aspects for us. We love to be able to nourish our body with good food, partake in exercise, which was something we really lacked back in Australia. We’ve been able to put a lot of time into that, physical activity and also our mental health too. So giving ourselves time to be mindful about the things that we do, to process our feelings and thoughts in a healthy manner and be able to put time into learning more about how our body and our mind processes certain events, or past events and what we are doing with our life now.
It’s so nice to be able to find a space where I can work with clients, like work closely with clients and build those relationships and be able to help people.
I think my other passion is creativity, no matter what I’m doing I have to have some kind of creative outlet. It’s a way for me to get in my own space and get a little bit lost, which is really nice and I think cooking falls into that as well. I love creating with food and I could spend all day in the kitchen. I would be so happy, just making and creating and trying new things. That is so my happy place, along with photography, editing and pretty much anything in that area just makes me so happy. Oh and I really love personal relationships and connection, that’s a very big one. I think in everything that I do, that kind of pops its head up. My whole family is very close and I especially love building into my relationship with Jared. I love my friends and that’s been a very hard part of being overseas. I think that’s why I love the thought of being a health coach, because it allows me to create genuine connections and relationships with people that I work with.
It’s so nice to be able to find a space where I can work with clients, like work closely with clients and build those relationships, and be able to help people through similar situations and places where I found myself, not really knowing what direction to go, or how to interpret how I was feeling or what I needed to do next for myself. I think it’s nice for everyone to have an impartial third party to talk to about think they’re struggling with. Someone who isn’t emotionally attached to a situation or a person, and someone that they can go and say, “Things aren’t quite right but I’m not sure how to get there?”, and I can help them interpret what it is themselves and help them work through that. I’m really excited to be able to do more in that space.
In terms of highlights in business I have the greatest honour of working with some really wonderful brands and I’m so grateful for them believing in me to do this kind of work for them. So, I think in the last couple of months that’s become very real for me and a huge highlight, the fact that it finally went over the threshold of being a bit of a hobby and turning into a real business now, which is super exciting.
I really like to be vulnerable with people I think that helps other people to be vulnerable as well.
I work with ethical and sustainable brands like clothing and accessory brands and lifestyle brands and do photography and styled shoots for them. I’ve also started my blog as well. I want my blog to be a space where I can chat about a lot of subjects, especially as women I feel like a lot of topics have been off the books, off the radar. We’re told we’re not supposed to talk about them and that we should be embarrassed about them which I don’t believe is right. So women’s health is a huge one. It breaks my heart that, that has been our cultural conditioning. I was so embarrassed as a teenager when I got my period. I never want young girls to feel embarrassed or ashamed about that and it breaks my heart to think that it is still very real. So, I love to talk about things like that all the time to create a norm around these subjects that are a bit taboo, and just general thoughts and feelings.
I really like to be vulnerable with people, I think that helps other people to be vulnerable as well. That’s something that comes quite easily to me, so I think that if it comes easily, I feel it’s almost my responsibility to share. I think that just the act of speaking about taboo subjects is a great way to build that awareness that a conversation exists, and there are so many amazing women who are working in that space at the moment. There’s a few great accounts especially on Instagram that I love because it’s supposed to be a platform where it’s kind of all about you and everything that you’ve achieved and everything that is good and this is someone who’s just totally pierced into that and is like, “Here’s everything you need to know about women’s health,” all these subject like “What is chlamydia,” and it’s funny, and it’s engaging and it’s just creating a conversation.
I literally talk to every person about how amazing a zero-waste period is and how it helped me in my journey of owning my period. It’s period freedom.
I was on a boat tour recently with a few people, more than half of them were girls and I met most of them on the boat. One of the girls was like, “Uh, I’m just getting bad cramps,” and we got into this massive conversation about menstrual cups and the girls were like, “What the heck is that?” and these girls had not even heard of it before. I happened to have it with me in my travel bag so I showed them, and my husband walked past and was like, “Oh, the cup’s out again!” because I literally talk to every person about how amazing a zero-waste period is and how it helped me in my journey of owning my period. It’s period freedom.
I skipped my period for about ten years; I think I had about ten period in ten years, which is in my opinion incredibly unhealthy and sad that I felt like that it was something that I needed to hide from people. So, coming from that I was like okay, if I’m going to start getting my period again every single month I’m going to have to find a way to make this work, for myself and for the environment too. I bring up conversations like that quite a bit, because I think that the more that women are open to speaking about it with each other the more change will happen, like generally worldwide as well, even in government bodies. So, understanding women’s health and the funding that should be going into it, I think it’s just bringing that conversation in socially on the blog, being able to chat with other women and asking them for their opinion as well. I mean I have my opinion and that’s all good and well, but I love to hear other women think about certain topics as well and lots of great podcasts, I would love to have something like that one day, but one thing at a time Keira.
I think it’s nice to talk about it because hopefully my experience of finding out about something, like going through a healthier version of contraception or going through zero waste periods, takes the leg work out for other people.
People used to talk about mood swings and I was like, don’t know what you’re talking about. I just didn’t experience those things because everything was just masked by the pill for so long and at the time I learnt about, again personal choice, what the pill was doing for my body, for me I didn’t think it was something I should be doing anymore and I went off it, and that was about a month before my husband and I got married and I was like, this is dangerous territory now. So that brought me to my next step, so I was like okay, if I am going to go off the pill then what am I going to do for contraception now. So, that was my next big project to work on, what is the most sustainable and healthy version of contraception that we can use, and it just kind of goes from there.
As a big part of my health coaching with clients, I’d love to help people to lower their toxic load in their lifestyle and homes and I’d love to have a bit more of that in my blog as well. So, replacing certain cleaning products and beauty products, like I said the contraception things as well. People always ask me, should I be on a plant-based diet and I like to say that there is no one shoe that fits all. I definitely think you need to do what your body’s telling you to do, and if people are worried about health concerns, I always point them in the direction of a naturopath. But if they come to me and say, “I would really love to adopt a plant-based diet. I have had a chat with my doctor or naturopath and they said that these are some things that I need to be aware of if I do that, but I don’t really know how to go about it, I’ve never tried it before, I don’t know how to cook without meat but I want to adopt a more healthy lifestyle,” that’s where I come in and help them achieve those goals, safely but also with a bit of inspiration, making it a bit easier for them and giving them some good resources to look over themselves. So just giving the information that I have and letting people use that information in their own journey as well, I’m always very aware that one shoe size doesn’t fit all, when it comes to health especially.
I love naming the things. The good things, the bad things I like to name them and call them out.
I definitely have doubts for myself at times that I’m not good enough to pursue a career in a certain place that I have studied or specialised in, or that I’m really passionate about and I am absolutely aware of that being an area of growth for me. I think that’s a big one, self-confidence. I have wonderful friends and family who are so great and know the times that they need to encourage me and just give me the right words to get me through the next little bit. I think another for us is the financial struggle of inconsistent incomes. So, I think those were probably the biggest challenges for us. I love naming the things. The good things, the bad things I like to name them and call them out. Everyone has it on their own level for sure, and I mean living in Bali there’s a lot of people doing what we’re doing and we all get together and kind of go, “Oh, we’re all just kind of winging it at this point aren’t we? Is everyone okay? Is everyone alright? Are we all still on the boat, are we all still good?”. It’s actually really nice to have a community of like-minded people together, for us especially, who we can check in with each other every now and then and make sure we’re all doing okay, so that’s really been so valuable to us.
Bali is a beautiful and inspiring place. We’ve learnt so much from the locals here, we’ve learnt so much from other entrepreneurial-minded people here as well. We’ve met some amazing people who are doing some really cool stuff and that’s been so encouraging to us and we’ve said this so much and it’s something that we really love about Bali, is that there is essentially no ego here. At home it’s about your car, your house, how much money you earn, your social status, where you eat out, all of those things which was a lot of pressure for me, personally. Kind of keeping up with the Jones’, and we were just not keeping up at all, and here it’s beautiful because everyone is in a position of vulnerability. We find that most people who live here are working on a new business and just waiting to see how it goes, or they moved here because something was holding them back at home and they needed a bit of time to create space to heal and find freedom again. Everyone’s walls are down and everyone has created this beautiful community where they support each other and they go through the journey with each other and that has been incredible for us.
They are beautiful, beautiful humans, all of them! I am so grateful.
I try not to speak too highly of it sometimes. I definitely like to find the real parts of Bali. We definitely still have our challenges here, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, despite what some people might think I don’t sip cocktails by the beach every day, that’s actually so far from my reality. The daily struggle. It’s definitely been a bit of a struggle to receive stock. I have got the most wonderful family, friends and Instagram followers, like shout out to people who are in my little community, because I have had people who I have never met before in my life, bring boxes and boxes of things over for me when they have flown over to Bali for a holiday. They are beautiful, beautiful humans, all of them! I am so grateful.
There are a lot of people that I rely on, which I am not accustomed to at all, I am a ‘do it on my own’ type of girl, but that is definitely a space I have grown in while being here is learning to rely on people and that, that’s okay. And I suppose resources as well. Bali is quite limited to what we can purchase here in terms of photography equipment and things like that, so obviously I think when you start out as a new business you rely on your friends and family to help you quite a bit, and we obviously don’t have any family here but luckily we’ve made some beautiful friends who have helped us a lot. It’s great in terms of personal growth it has been the most valuable experience and we’re only 6 months in. At the moment we’re locked in for another 12 months, so there’s still lots of time to learn and grow, so that’s a beautiful feeling.
We love it here and have learnt so much. A lot of that we could have learnt from anywhere, moving overseas on our own, but Bali has these beautiful little perks, like I got home this afternoon and my whole living room had flooded from a down-pour, my hair is still wet because I got caught in a down-pour riding home. It’s these beautiful little Bali things that sort of happen, but we’ve learnt so much from being here, we’ve grown so much from being here, I think because we’ve had the space to do it.
We were so used to always being on a defensive line about why we wanted to live our lives a certain way and here everyone is so accepting and open and vulnerable with each other. We definitely will take that sense of community home with us and we really want to recreate that when we go back to Australia, we’ve learnt a lot from it personally.