Have you ever daydreamed about moving to a tropical island to live? Mia Chow didn’t just day-dream about it, she made it all happen for real.
“I enjoy every moment of it.”
Mia replied to my question of “how’s life in Bali?” when I first met her in Ubud.
Mia Chow, a Shanghai girl in her early 20s, is living in Ubud Bali for one year already. After graduation, she has tried exploring her career interests in magazine editing, fashion styling and graphic design. Last year she went to Bali for short holiday and fell in love with this magical island immediately.
The moist air is mixing with the scent from offerings,
local people are on their way to the temple in colourful traditional clothes,
women are carrying farm crop on their head walking in the rice field,
the wind is whispering through the coconut trees,
Western artist is crafting the passion of his life.
Mia said to herself she would love to live here, so she flew back to Shanghai packed her life and move to Ubud.
Just like that, Mia’s new adventure took off. She started a blog www.TropicalMonday.com to share her views on Bali’s essence. Why “Tropical Monday”? Because she would like to bring some fresh tropical breeze to the blue Monday for the nine to five lifestyle people. At the meanwhile, she also does private touring, photography services, and freelance graphic design. Recently she got invited to write for Chinese travel magazines.
Living on a foreign island on your own, things can get very stressful too, but driving a motorbike against the wind makes Mia feel that she is taking control of her own life. After one year’s exploring, she found her passion in food and children photography, and her ultimate dream is to create her own lifestyle magazine like Kinfolk. Mia is currently planning her next move, excitement and challenges are awaiting for the young and brave heart.
Mia’s interview with OneEyeCat, all photos are taken from Mia’s residence in Bali:
M: 小时候一心想着做衣服，所以我的Barbie们有很多时髦款，那时候不懂什么fashion design，就是一味地喜欢。A4纸上画了很多自己喜欢的服装和假想的models，大概堆起来有10本vogue这么厚。现在想要拍很多美食照片，还有小孩子的照片。不是俗气的“上菜即拍”，也不是幼稚的影楼范儿。我还在寻找适合自己的风格。
Q1: What was your childhood dream? What about now?
M: When I was little I only just wanted to make clothes, so I made a lot of fashionable garments for my Barbies. I didn’t know what was Fashion Design at the time, but I was just lovin’ it. I sketched a lot of clothes I like on the imaginary models on A4 paper, it’s about 10 copies of Vogue magazine thick if you stack them together. Now I want to do food photography and children photography. Not the Instagram kind of food photos or the cliché kids photos made by tacky photo studio. I am still exploring my photography style.
Q2: In China, the more common choices for a newly grad are – find a stable job, or apply for Master degree, either in China or overseas e.g. US, Europe… How did you decide to move to Bali from Shanghai? Does your family support you?
M: The first time I traveled to Bali alone, I fell in love with this place in 2 weeks. The food, the design and the atmosphere, are all the reasons I love here. You can find healthier food options with cheaper price, a decent numbers of Western independent designer boutiques and the booming creative crafts industry, so much to learn. The growing Western residents over the last decades simulated the multi-cultural environment, you can meet people from all over the world. A city like this, it is easier to experience the harmony between diverse of people. Further more, isn’t it great to receive strangers’ smile and regards everyday?! At the beginning, no one from my family supports my decision, but now my grandma supports me the most. I think they will get used to it after a while.
M: 咖啡（最爱Seniman和Monsieur Spoon）- 拍照 – 午餐 – 拍照 – 冰淇淋（Gaya Gelato is everything）- 拍照 – 回邮件 – 晚餐（多数去Hujan）- 上网看Blog和了解资讯
Q3: Please share a typical day of yours in Bali.
M: Coffee (I love the one from ‘Seniman’ and ‘Monsieur Spoon’ the most) – photo shoot – lunch – photo shoot – ice cream (Gaya Gelato is everything) – photo shoot – reply email – dinner (mostly go to ‘Hujan’) – surf internet and read blogs & news.
M: 我不犯人，人不犯我。Be nice, then be nice again. 只能说和expats(外来人)更容易做朋友，大家会有共同的困扰，会产生共鸣，也会一同寻找解决方案
Q4: Bali seems like a very friendly place to live, but how is it really like to live there as a foreigner, is it easy to integrate into local life?
M: People will not attack unless they are attached. Be nice, then be nice again. I can only say it is easier to make friends with expats, since we have common problems which we can help each other to solve.
Q5: What is the most interesting thing and/or difficult thing you have experienced in Bali?
M: A lot of fun things, especially the people I met are very interesting. At the beginning, I would make silly jokes of the strangers with my chef landlord and the hostel owner, full of laughter everyday. The most difficult thing is transportation, but it is also the most convenient thing. Because there is no public transportation infrastructure, it is difficult to ride motorbike when raining but with no choice. Most of the time, motorbike stands for freedom, it is how you get in control of everything; if no motorbike, you cannot go anywhere.
Q6: 能谈谈你的网站 “TropicalMonday.com”么？你是怎么想到要做这个网站的，及其你日后对其的打算？
Q6: Tell me about your website “TropicalMonday.com“, how did you come up with the idea and where did you plan to take it to?
M: Although a lot of people has been to Bali, but most of people only has seen a small side of it, or don’t even know anything about it. Food, craftsmanship culture and architecture style are all worthy to know more. Bali became famous, not because of the nature but the rich flavour of life full of creativity, this is also why it gathered so many foreign artist and designers. To have a website is more convenient to spread out the information, also can share my stores and tips to other travellers. I hope I can use it to promote my photography in food and kids. After I tried working as a magazine food editor, graphic designer, and assistant stylist, I found myself is more good at capturing and documenting the beauty and detail in life.
Q7: If you could bring one thing from Shanghai to Bali, what would that be?
M: Yogurt maker.
M: 太多了 Lakehouse by Of Monster and Men / Sexual Revolution by Macy Gray / Promise by Ben Howard / House Inside by How to Dress Well / September by Earth, Wind & Fire ……在读Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg。Chef（落魄大厨），昨晚刚看，喜欢！
Q8: What is your current album/book/movie?
M: Too many. Music: Lakehouse by Of Monster and Men / Sexual Revolution by Macy Gray / Promise by Ben Howard / House Inside by How to Dress Well / September by Earth, Wind & Fire ……
Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
Movie: Chef – just watched last night, love it!
Want to find out more about Mia?
Follow her Public WeChat Platform: bali_daily
or visit her website: www.TropicalMonday.com