My Sabbatical Journey From Corporate Lawyer To Creative in Bali

By: Amelia Horvath, Bali alumni

Beyond my current day job as a corporate lawyer in Sydney, I have a big creative side and have been wanting to shift more into that area of my life. I joined Unsettled in Bali this past March for an artistic sabbatical and escape from corporate life. I wanted to be inspired by the island’s vibrant places, colors, people, and culture, while also bringing these new perspectives and experiences into my drawings and paintings (and of course to meet and learn from wonderful people from around the world on their own journeys).

My next trip will be back to Italy, which (now along with Bali) holds a special place in my heart.

Without further ado, here is a glimpse into some images from my Bali sketchbook…

Villa Studio

While many others are working down at Outpost Ubud (which undoubtedly has great food and coffee on hand!), I’ve made my own workspace, moving the dressing table from my room out onto the balcony to create a makeshift studio, overlooking the villa garden. Most days I’ll be here for a couple of hours at a time – interspersed with a dip in the pool.


Campuhan Ridge Walk

I love to use painterly marks and strokes to try and convey the way things here in Bali are all connected. The people, the landscape, the water, the colors, the food, the animals and the gods.

Walk to Yoga

This was a quick picture I did inspired by my morning walk to Swasti yoga (two doors up from our villa in Ubud). You walk through a curved walk covered in passionfruit and hanging orchids and come out into this area with signs directing you to the yoga shala. From there you walk through a scented vegetable garden to the sounds of birds and insects waking up (and a few goats!) and end up at a quiet open-air Balinese shala for yoga. The colors reflect the way Bali makes me feel. The warmth and brightness of the fuschia and marigolds.

Rice Paddy

What I like to do is use the basis of the image but not get too fussed on the precision. For me it’s about editing out some detail and adding in its place the colors and strokes which reflect how the place or thing I’m depicting makes me feel. It reminds us that we all see things through a wonderful variety of lenses and perspectives.

The Tree

This is in Nyuh Kuning village in Ubud and I passed this tree outside the Pura Dalem Alit temple almost everyday between our villa and Outpost. I was subsequently told by the locals that this is the oldest temple in the Nyuh Kuning (the temple site was here before there was a village!)


You see Lord Ganesha everywhere in Bali. I love how the Balinese decorate their idols – with offerings of flowers behind their ears and around their necks. In our village of Nyuh Kuning (which means “Yellow Coconut” in Balinese) gods line all the streets.

Ubud Market

One of the busiest markets in Ubud village — after visiting this place, I made this sketch.

Boat Boy

A group of Unsettlers headed away from Bali to Gili Air for the weekend. I arranged a snorkelling trip for us on our first day there and this was our boat boy – the leader of the pack on our way out from the beach to explore the blue waters and hunt for sea turtles.

Gili Life

The flowers and the sea turtles of Gili.

Offerings in Bali

All the colours of Bali I find in the morning offerings. This is one of the most beautiful joys of living in our village in Ubud…

Sunset in Ubud

A fellow Unsettler asked me to paint the sunset for her… so I did. I also included a poem written by another participant, Uday Jhunjhunwala, during the retreat. Co-creation, they say? Also, as a departing gift for every Unsettled participant and the team here, I arranged for  prints to be made for everyone to take home.


Thinking of planning a creative sabbatical? Escaping the corporate life? Join one of our Bali retreats or Tuscany retreats!


Unsettled is a global community for those who live and work differently. 

Growth | Meaning | Adventure

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!