Every 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 Pilou Bakker, yoga instructor in Bali.
// About this Bali Babe
Name: Pilou Bakker (Pi)
From: Dutchie Born on Curacao
In Bali Since: 2013
How did you fall in love with this island?
Twelve years ago was the first time I visited the island and I immediately fell in love. I felt so free and at home. I fell in love with the people and their beautiful culture and kind hearts, the art, food and especially the incredible nature and how connected I felt. I had an amazing month of traveling around and I remember thinking;”One day I will live here.” Six years later I was on the island to study for 6 months, and again I had such an amazing time.
I called my mom and said: “I’m not coming home.”
She was fine and told me as long as I was happy she was happy as well. After nine months I went to The Netherlands to finish my University. Shortly after finishing and still missing Bali a lot, I said: “Fuck it, I can’t keep ignoring this feeling inside.” So I worked for another month, sold my things, packed up and I went.
I wanted to make it work and so I did.
I started teaching at all the spots in Bingin and Uluwatu and that got the ball rolling. That’s when I knew, I’m supposed to be here for now for sure.
What made you eventually move to Bali?
I kept having this strong pull and living in The Netherlands wasn’t an option. I was so over it, the cold, same old things every weekend, I wanted to grow. To feel scared and just go. To be honest, I didn’t really think much about the decision, I trusted my intuition and that’s also how I live my life here, in tune with nature, floating around, living intuitively.
How did you become a yoga instructor in Bali? Can you tell us a little more about your journey?
Actually, I started teaching in Florence in Italy, this was right after studying in Bali for 6 months. When I was studying, learning and teaching in Italy I connected it all.
I just knew that I wanted to go back to Bali and work and share with people this way.
When I moved to the island yoga wasn’t that big of a thing yet, so it was all super mellow. Back then a friend asked me to start teaching at her place as she knew I was certified. Pretty simple.
What is it that Bali has, that you were missing at the place you are from?
Noticing that I started living for the smallest reasons; the sunrise, riding my bike with the wind in my hair, a smile from a stranger, the way the air feels and smells when rain is coming, the sound of the ocean. There is so much connection, culture, amazing nature, and freedom.
What was the hardest part of moving/living here?
Missing loved ones! And also getting my working permit was such a long process but unfortunately necessary if you want to work here. I’m very happy to have this in my pocket now so I can teach and share my knowledge everywhere.
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 the sunrise every day. Hearing the birds and the ocean and watching the sky change colors starts my day off right. I meditate in my room, stretch a bit and then I go teach the first class of the day. Sometimes I do one class a day and sometimes three. I work at The Cashew Tree, Uluwatu Surf Villa’s, Mu and The Tempe Lodge, each one of them are amazing locations with breathtaking views.
After class I jump into the ocean, swim, surf, and hang at the beach for a while, it always makes me feel so good.
After that, I cruise around, meet friends for coffee, do groceries, make some beautiful pictures, chat and laugh with people along the way and basically just being a wild little happy kid. Now I’m planning retreats in Bali and on the Mentawai islands and workshops and this takes a lot of focus. I realized its very hard for me to focus.. 🙂
What is it you love the most about living life in Bali and what are you missing most from your hometown/country?
I love the simple and pure life that I live here on the island. But of course, I miss my loved ones, cheese, certain wines and last but definitely not least I miss good chocolate. Now I’m thinking that I should probably start making my own chocolate
What surprised you the most about Bali and the life here, is there something you didn’t expect or weren’t prepared for?
Animal cruelty. It’s something I cant deal with really well and unfortunately, you see a lot around the island.
What are your future dreams and goals here on the island, what would you like to achieve?
The chocolate thing! And I’m also getting my retreats out there so I can travel, share and connect with more amazing people from all over the world.
Because in the end for me, life is about helping others, so that’s what I choose to do.
By helping others, we learn and grow in so many ways! I need to keep moving and stepping out of my little bubble because it’s easy to get comfortable in Bali. Simply because it’s pretty damn comfortable and amazing here, so I know I have to keep pushing myself and just enjoy the ride.
What would you advise anybody who wants to move to the island of Bali or want to move to another country in general?
If you really want to move, do it. Even if there are so many reasons not to (mainly fear of the unknown). Remember that if it isn’t your thing or what you expected, you can always leave again. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s just another experience, so go for it!