Posted on March 29, 2016
How are you?
I’m fine, sitting in my garden in Canggu, Bali and doing a summary of my first three months in Bali. I haven’t been writing about my life Bali so much because I was focused on my freelance marketing work and I’m also writing an ebook about online work & traveling. But…
Friends and readers of this blog asked me many questions about the current “mini-life” that I’m living here, so I prepared My first 3 months in Bali (Photostory) which shows the most important, local, funny or shocking moments that I have experienced so far.
The reason why I came to Bali is the following: To be closer to the digital nomad tribe and location independent people, continue surfing and to avoid the winter in Europe. This is my 4th winter in the tropics and I guess that I got used to it haha. I spent the previous 3 winters and springs in Latin America so when I planned this season, I felt that I was ready for a change.
Bali was not on the top of the list of my dream travel destinations but because it was recommended by several digital nomad friends, I decided to give it a try. After three months here I can say that it was a great choice. I regained a slightly lost focus of my career and business, I met smart and creative people and most importantly I can surf almost everyday and there is a fair amount of fun included too 😉
Enjoy the photostory! It’s divided into 8 different topics so you can scroll down and find what’s interesting for you. Write me questions in an email (email@example.com) or in the comments below -> so I know better which topics are interesting for you -> so I can continue writing some more articles for you.
My town: Canggu.
I live in a small coastal town called Canggu. It’s a relatively hipster place (I don’t fancy hipsters), there is a coworking space where I’ve worked from during the first month (now I prefer to work from home), the prices are ok (it’s definaltely not cheaper than El Tunco) and there are some nice waves so I can practice surfing everyday and improve (although the waves can be very, very crowded). Canggu is a good spot to meet people who stay in Bali for longer time and enjoy many cool cafes or restaurants.
I haven’t been traveling that much in Bali, because I got tired of traveling and taking thousands of photos. Sorry! Or maybe it’s the syndrome that I know that I’m going to stay here for a long time, so I don’t have to discover it all during the first months. Despite that I haven’t seen the majority of the island, I have some Places I Recommend to Visit.
Tanah Lot is a rock formation and it is a home to the pilgrimage temple Pura Tanah Lot, a popular tourist and cultural icon for photography and general exoticism. It’s a where I go when I feel unbalanced because the sunsets get beautiful here.
Ubud , a town in central Bali, is far removed from the beach party scene in Kuta, and is regarded as the cultural centre of Bali. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the town and nearby villages seems to consist of artists’ workshops and galleries. There are some remarkable architectural and other sights to be found, and a general feeling of well being to be enjoyed, all thanks to the spirit, surroundings, and climate of the place.
Have you wondered how I travel around Bali? I have a scooter and I’m loving it. I was so scared in the beginning because the traffic in Bali is intense. I started driving on the small side streets of Canggu and it took me three weeks to go on a main road and join the “river” of people on scooters. It’s possible! Take it easy and wear a helmet at all times.
Uluwatu – When I saw this surf spot for the first time I had tears in my eyes. I heard about Uluwatu from many surfers and the reality was much better than expected. I haven’t surfed here yet because it is too advanced for me, however I said to myself that I won’t leave Bali before I surf here (ups, I might stay here forever hahaha)
The only international travel that I did in three months was a visa run to Singapore. This was the weirdest trip ever. I drove to the airport in the morning, left my scooter on the parking lot. I boarded the plane at 8:30 am. After landing in Singapore, I had to go through the immigration to get a stamp in my passport. I had “laksa” food at the airport and I passed the immigration again, I did some shopping and I boarded a plane to return back to Bali. I met many people who did the same and with some of them I even became friends. One guy hopped on my scooter and we drove back to Canggu and had a dinner. Isn’t it a weird international travel?
The way how I can afford to stay longer in Bali is that I work online as a freelance inbound marketer. I changed my lifestyle completely to be able to live on a beach, surf and travel. One of the things that I discovered while working online is that I enjoy working from a coworking space, where I meet like-minded people. We have one in Canggu and it’s called Dojo Bali. I used to work there during my first month in Bali, however these days I’m more into working from home and our garden.
One of the projects that I’m working on while being in Bali is an ebook about online work and traveling. I don’t want to bother you too much with my work, but I want to mention that one of the best working moments of this year was when I interviewed 7 subscribers of my ALOHA email newsletter who contributed with questions and ideas to what the ebook should be about. That was a great experience and I would like to thank you guys for participating!
Surfing is the main reason why I am in Bali. I started surfing when I traveled in Central America and I think that I got the surfing bug. I loved the ocean since I was a child and although I was born in a land-locked country, it’s not an excuse for not practising this special sport. I like to do short escapes from Canggu and visit different surf spots that are good for my level of surfing (slightly intermediate). I enjoyed the stay at Balian beach and I can’t wait to go back.
Here I am, surfing some Balian waves. This was way back in January when my friend James came to visit and he did some secret shots of me surfing. Otherwise I’m very shy and when I know that someone is taking photos of me, I can’t surf haha
Moving to a new place is always challenging. Especially when I’m on my own… or maybe not. I noticed that people who come in couples or groups are less active in meeting new people. I was very lucky and the process of meeting new people and making new friends was pretty easy.
What helped me to make connections and find friends was:
1. Membership at the coworking space, where I met location independent people and travellers,
2. This blog & the community of Czech and Slovak digital nomads,
3. Partying during Christmas time! Seriously, Christmas time was great to meet people who were also alone and suddenly we were a group of 10 people from different countries, sharing a table and we all became instant friends 🙂
I would like to say hi to my buddies Jasmin from Australia and Kenny from Canada who both left Bali after my first three months. I miss you guys and I will never forget our cake club, parties, surf sessions and long talks.
These two pretty ladies on the image below are from Slovakia: Zuzana Padychova and Lucia Pavelkova live and work online from Ubud. I’m happy to have them around because we can talk slovakian and share different stories from our Bali lives.
Two young men on the image below are from Slovakia and Czech republic! I heard about both of them before arriving to Bali – basically we knew each other online. Adam Marcan is the founder of a Czech plaform for learning: Naucmese.cz and Peter Chodelka is an experienced affiliate entrepreneur: Vyzivovo.sk. It was good to meet you guys, talk business and eat banana pancakes!
Michel Struharova is a girl from Slovakia who quit her job in a bank and she came studying to Bali and she works as a copywriter too. It’s funny that Michel attended one of my travel presentations in Bratislava and one year later we met in Bali and became friends. Michel is running a blog about her travels: The One Who Wanders
Ruth from Germany. Although the meeting with Ruth was short, I would like to mention it here. I met Ruth in a restaurant in Ubud. We were both alone in that moment and she asked me how I was doing. We spent two hours talking about life and travels. Ruth is almost 70 years old and she’s been traveling all her life. This is her 15th winter abroad since she’s retired. She backpacked South America way back in the seventees with her first husband and she loves going back to Mexico and Thailand. She said that friends her age ask her if she’s not scared to travel. She said: “I think that it’s scary that they stay at home and don’t do anything with their lives anymore”. Great to meet you Ruth and thanks for the inspiration for my travels!
This section of photos is all about the local stuff in Bali. I’m the “Unboxing Traveller” because I love to “unbox” – discover – the local stuff which is unique to the region that I’m visiting. There are so many special things in Bali that I could talk about so it was challenging to do a short list of the most significant ones. There will be more in my future articles.
Balinese people. It’s a nice and very friendly nation… Of course, if you go to a super touristy (and horrible) places like Kuta, you will meet people who are consumed by the tourism and want to take advantage of tourists. I recommend going somewhere else than Kuta. You will have a chance to meet more friendly and genuine people who like to share their knowledge and culture. This image was taken at Balian beach.
Indonesian people. Look at these friendly ladies from Yogyakarta in Java. They came to spend their vacation in Bali, so Bali is not only for western tourists but it’s a good opportunity to meet to the local Indonesian people too.
Ceremonies. I think that the most significant thing which you will notice in Bali is a strong dedication to the religion, family and a community and many celebrations of different life moments or things. For example this was a ceremony to celebrate a new car.
Balinese architecture is something that I admire and it makes me feel like in a movie. Sometimes I actually feel like I live in a movie full of temples and rice fields and then I’m like: Hey, I’m in Bali! 🙂
Local food. Balinese or indonesian food consists mainly of rice – “nasi” and many vegetables, so you can have Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur or Cap Cay with nasi. The best and cheapest is to eat at the local restaurants called “warung” and choose from a variety of local food.
Petrol in “Absolut vodka” bottles. Everybody in Bali drives a scooter. Is it difficult to find petrol when driving around? Not at all! They have “Absolut vodka” bottles full of petrol on almost every street and there are petrol stations too.
Rainy season. Since I arrived to Bali we’ve been having a rainy season. European people ask me often if it’s OK to visit Bali during the rainy season. I think that the rainy season is nice, because it makes the temperature cooler and I can focus more on work while it’s raining. When it’s raining it usually takes up to one hour per day, so it’s really nothing terrible.
Swimming pools & villas. I think that one of the local “touristy” things that everyone enjoys in Bali is a swimming pool. Expats prefer to stay in villas with a private swimming pool. I don’t have one (ocean is my swimming pool), but whenever there is a chance to jump into one, I’ll do it – like into this swimming pool we had in Balian.
Bali street dogs. There are lot of dogs. Everywhere. Many of them are in poor conditions and many of them are in OK conditions because people feed them and bring them to get checked by the vets. I would love to have a dog, but with this lifestyle it’s kind of challenging…
Life is not perfect! Not even in Bali 🙂 I experienced some challenges so I want to mention them, because I don’t like writing only about perfect and super positive life. It wouldn’t been real from my part. Life is like waves. Up and down, up and down and of course that it’s better to be UP!
Loneliness. Funny enough that when I arrived to Bali I was asked by Kavi Gupta – Forbes contributor – about my tips for how to handle loneliness as a digital nomad. I don’t usually experience loneliness that much but I experienced it lately. I miss my family and close friends and I’m questioning this “nomadic” lifestyle which I’m currently living. This feeling usually comes after three months when I’m aborad. The way how I solve it is by talking to my close people and I’m also planning mine or their visits. I will have a visit of the most special lady of my life – my mom – very soon <3
Hot and humid weather. Oh boy. It can be really hot and humid and sometimes it’s annoying. Everyone back in Europe says: “You’re lucky that you’re in Bali while it’s snowing here”. And I’m like: “I would change with you… for at least 1 day” hehe
Sickness. This is a general challenge that I can experience anywhere in the world, but when being abroad, it can be very frustrating when I’m sick. I was sick only one time and it was a short flu which was caused by too much time on the sun and cold drinks.
The last block of photos and experiences is dedicated to the things that shocked me in Bali.
I’m a millionaire! Indonesian rupiah is a currency where you can count your money in millions. For example for my monthly rent I pay 4 millions, for the coworking space I paid 2 millions for a monthly membership, etc. It’s kind of funnny and it’s also hard to keep a track of how much money I’m actually spending.
Bali traffic and crazy shortcuts. It’s crazy! This is something that you have to experience to understand it well and learn how to drive in Bali. Unfortunately, there are many scooter accidents and cars landing in the rice fields so be very careful while driving here. This photo was was taken by someone else – thank you 🙂
Garbage. The thing that broke my heart in Bali is the amount of garbage they have – everywhere. On the streets, in the rivers, in the ocean. This situation gets worse during the rainy season because the garbage gets into the rivers and so into the ocean. Although the locals – pushed by some tourists – try to improve the situation, I don’t see a quick fix of this (global) problem. I took this photo while there was low tide on Batu Bolong beach. It’s not everyday like this, but there are days when I can’t believe what I’m seeing.
Please be smart when you are in Bali and bring a cotton bag with you so you don’t have to use plastic bags. Another tip is that you will buy a big reusable water bottle so you can refill small bottles. We all have to do (at least) something…
That’s it nomads! I hope that you enjoyed my Bali photostory and I hope that you’ll have an amazing time when you’ll come and stay in Bali. It’s all about how you make it for yourself and from which angle you look at it.
I’m going surfing, enough of the online work for today!
With cinta from Bali,
About the Author
Thanks for reading this article! My name is Silvia and I’m from Slovakia. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, traveling, surfing, photography and I’m in the search of the best ways how to combine it all. Over the past 3 years I changed my lifestyle completely. From an employee in a larger company I started freelancing and working online to be location independent. What drives me is the idea that if I want to, I can book a ticket and go surfing anywhere in the world and stay as long as I want. Also, I gathered lot of content and ideas inspired by beautiful people, places and products. I blog and organize presentations about these topics. Safe travels!