‘The Expat Stories’ is a short series of interviews with expats from around the world. Our first story is of Anja Kukofka, a woman who left her job at one of Europe’s most famous fashion brands to pursue her dreams in Bali. Her ‘Black and White Story’ starts with the birth of her company, Mysayang (Balinese for My Love), a small self start up label based around surf, yoga, food and lifestyle. 

expat stories

Why did you relocate to Bali from Munich?

After discovering beautiful places such as Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Borneo, I found myself stranded in Bali after travelling for one year. I visited ‘The Island of Gods’ 15 years ago and fell in love with it again on my travels. It was one of the most beautiful and inspiring islands for me. I now share my time half and half between Munich and Bali. Being based in Bali is beneficial for my company, Mysayang as it is important to have control of the production. However, it is not just about that. Bali has really inspired me with what it has to offer and I am always able to get new ideas. Bali gives me the energy to handle work in a good way as I am still able to work by myself.

Can you tell us more about Mysayang, what was your concept behind it?

One of my biggest values in life is to ‘love’! Love yourself and love others. I wanted to make nice things that people can love and use, things that can put them in good moods and enable them to travel and treat themselves. I could never find the perfect travel bag for all my trips, nor a good surfboard bag to protect my ‘baby’ on my motorbike trips. So I quickly decided to design my own canvas bag collection and soon found myself reconnecting with my creative side. Each of my prints is simple, like black and white dots and different stripes.

I was inspired by the easy and simple life in Bali, particularly the black sand beaches, the white shore break of the ocean, the shades by each sunset and my Bali love and surfstyle. As a big coconut lover, I really wanted to share my believe in the power of natural products. I wanted to find and share the best quality of coconut oil to protect my salty skin. I found this in homemade coconut oils, produced by a family farm in North Bali.expat stories

What do you love about living and pursing your career in Bali?

I love Bali’s lifestyle and the endless summer. I also love the multicultural people that you meet here every day. In general, I love to travel and being abroad, so it’s perfect spending half of my year on the other side of the world. I feel like the world has so much to offer then just being in one place. The challenge is another thing I love about pursuing my career abroad. To start a new life in a new place with new people and a new language. It’s such a big blessing for me to dive into other parts of the world. You also start to reflect on our privileges in Europe and you don’t get into the habit of taking things for granted, such as clean water for example. 

I like to live my life in a way that I don’t feel like I need a holiday from it!

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  Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about quitting their job and moving abroad?

Believe in yourself, trust your gut feeling and just be brave to do it ! Then the universe will give you back a lot ! Listen to your soul first and find out your passion. Never forget that, the worst thing that could happen if you followed your dreams, is that it doesn’t work out and you go back to ordinary life. What I always live by is to love what you do and to escape the ordinary!

You can visit Mysayang’s website here and follow them on Instagram!


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