The Miljian are a unique family of five. From 2017 to 2020, travelling full-time was their lifestyle, but the pandemic changed all that and now they are living in Bali. We wanted to get to know them a little better and asked them to introduce us to the island. Let’s go!
By Ana Roque
Photography courtesy of the Miljian
Julien and Miki are a couple of entrepreneurs and travellers. Together they have three kids — Teo, six; Lia, four; and Milo, one. They are the Miljian, “a family who left it all behind three years ago to live the greatest adventure around the world.”
In this family, everyone has an important role. Miki tells all the family’s adventures while Julien photographs them. As for the kids, “Teo is a natural animal explorer, Lia is a unicorn fan and ballet dancer, and Milo is a smiley little boy.”Before becoming parents, travelling did not figure in this couple’s plans, at least full time. “We became free spirits during our first long trip in Vietnam when Miki was pregnant with our first son, Teo, in 2014. That changed us and left us with this crazy dream that one day we could be travelling all over the globe with our children.”
Flash forward to September 2017 and their so-called crazy dream came true. They left their family home in Florence, Italy, with two kids and a one-way ticket to the world. “Our home was two suitcases and two backpacks. We were moving every five days from one house to another.”
Their new lifestyle changed them as individuals and as a family. “Every day was a new daily routine that pushed all our family to be flexible, grateful and respectful to the locals, to raise our children with the values that the planet needs now more than ever. As we often say, we do not count how many visas we have in our passport but how many incredible experiences we share on our path. This is what we keep in our memories and what we want to remember when we are sitting on our sofa in ten years.”
Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, South Korea and Vietnam are just some of the places this family has visited. Of all of them, Vietnam has a special place in their hearts. “It speaks a lot to us. We have got a big connection.”
But 2020 changed all their plans. “The pandemic changed everything. We couldn’t continue this life anymore. It was not part of our principles. It was time to respect rules and stay at home. That is why we decided to settle our family in a place that gives us nature, spirituality and fertile ground to develop our future plans.”
The Miljian decided to start a new chapter in their story, and Bali looked like the perfect place to do it. “The world needs to be responsible. We will travel again when conditions are safe. We hope that will be soon.” This major change in their lives was a challenge, but also an opportunity. “It is always a challenge to change something in your life, particularly to pause a dream you are pursuing. But we take it as an opportunity. This is a new chapter of our life. Our kids have started school here for the first time and we are developing other dreams we had in our drawer.”
THE ISLANDS OF THE GODS
Bali is one of the most famous islands in Indonesia. Its tropical climate, paradisical beaches and volcanic mountains create the perfect scenery for tourists and lovers of travel from all over the world. More recently, its low cost of living has seen it described as a paradise for digital nomads.
Besides the natural beauty we can all witness in images of the island, there are several other things that Julien and Miki find enchanting about this little paradise they chose to live in. “Balinese people are truly wonderful. They open up their ancestral traditions and culture to us. It’s another world. It’s no coincidence that Bali is called ‘the Island of the Gods’.”
Living in Bali since 2020, Julien and Miki told LEMON Magazine about the impact of COVID-19 on the island. “Right now, you find a very quiet island, where nature finds more space than before. Some places are suffering from the effects of not having tourism. The Balinese are working harder than ever to open their borders again.”
Though we often think of Bali as a destination for two, Julien and Miki guarantee that it’s perfect for families. “Bali is a super suitable destination for families. Balinese people love and respect families. You will enter a new world of surprises and your children will be amazed.”
About the island’s safety, they also only have good things to say. “It’s safer than certain parts of Europe. Bali and its people do their best to make you feel at home. If you need it, you will always find somebody to give you a hand. There is solidarity here.”
LEMON Magazine [LEMON]: How long does it take to really enjoy Bali?
The Miljian [T.M.]: Three weeks is best. The first one to feel lost, the second to start to love it, and the third to feel nostalgic and know you will miss it.
LEMON: What must not be missed?
T.M.: Local markets, Nyang Nyang Beach, a walk through the rice paddies in Ubud, Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall in the north of Bali, Tirta Empul, and the sunset at Jimbaran Beach. Actually there are plenty of things to do in Bali, based on each person’s preferences.
LEMON: What’s the best beach to go to with kids?
T.M.: Geger Beach in Nusa Dua. There is white sand and it’s safe to swim for everybody.
LEMON: And what about the best places to visit with kids?
T.M.: Local markets have always been a memorable experience for us, hand in hand visiting stands and discovering new cultures. They awaken senses and provoke curiosity.LEMON: Tell us a bit about the food in Bali… What’s something people have to try?
T.M.: Indonesian cuisine is accessible and super tasty. If you are keen on Asian food, you will not be disappointed: Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur, Satay, Sambal Matah Sauce, Bubur Mengguh. There’s lots to choose from.
LEMON – Do you think there are any tourist traps in Bali?
T.M.: Like everywhere, you have to adopt new rules quickly. Some basic words and direct answers will help people understand you’re not a novice. But that applies to anywhere you visit of course.
LEMON – What is the best time of the year to visit the island?
T.M.: You will read everywhere that the dry season is the best time of the year — April to October — and that is true. Specifically you should visit during one of the island’s incredible ceremonies — they are something not to be missed, for sure.
LEMON – What is essential when packing for Bali?
T.M.: Mosquito lotion. You will need it, particularly if you are staying close to the rice fields. Everything else you can find on the “Island of the Gods”.