With a quick search on Google, you’ll get at least eight to ten complete guides to life in Bali. There are at least a few hundreds of experts publishing the ultimate guides.
If you stopped by for information about visas, villa prices, vegan restaurants and spiritual circles, I kindly invite you to go back to our best friend, Google. As usual, I want to approach angles and perspectives people typically avoid on Instagram, as they don’t attract so many hearts. Also, my insights don’t make any sense if you just want to spend a fantastic vacation on this beautiful island.
Disclaimer: All the facts and experiences are my own, collected during my four months in Bali in early 2019. Things I don’t like about Bali might be the reasons you want to go there, and that’s fine!
In order to continue, I think it’s useful to be on the same page about this: Long-term travel is not a long vacation. It’s a lifestyle.
Making Friends in Bali
It’s one of the few places where you can meet people easily. There are events every single day almost all over the island, so you’re safe wherever you decide to settle. And in general, people are approachable, easy to speak with and open to random discussions at the table in a bar.
However, if you want long-term relationships and friendships, things change. In many situations, I feel like I’m a one-time, single-use connection — we’re here now, we chat about nothing and everything, and then we move on to the next short-term relationship. And I understand why this happens, but if you’re someone like me, looking for meaningful relationships (even if they will become long distance), you might get quickly tired. I did!
The Instagram Obsession
In Bali businesses (restaurants, cafes, coworking spaces, villas, hotels and so on) pride themselves on being Instagrammable. It’s like all they focus on is being pretty and worth a shot, a tag or a 24-hour story.
While this might be good for business, it hurts knowing how much superficiality it creates. Don’t get me wrong, image is important, but most of the time, you get only that and little service or customer care.
And by becoming such an Instagram destination, people started to exaggerate and forget what Bali is all about. It’s one thing to tour cafés for the perfect smoothie shot, but it’s another to do a sightseeing marathon without even enjoying where you are. I will never forget how people almost pushed me away from a viewpoint so that they could take some pictures. My fault was that I was just sitting and enjoying the amazing view, occupying a good spot.
Working and Living in Bali
One of the booming businesses in Bali is the coworking spaces. That’s because the villa owners don’t provide proper desks and chairs in the rooms or they don’t get internet from the best provider.
Because most of the people moving to Bali rely on a computer for a living, a proper place to work is non-negotiable.
I hate to disappoint you, but working from a hammock or a sunbed on the beach is just for Instagram. It’s not how people really work.
The coworking spaces know the need well, so they don’t really struggle to provide the most ergonomic working conditions. They are often crowded and too expensive, acting more like community centers than offices.
The community is obviously important, but that should be only a side effect of the fact that they attract a specific type of people. From a coworking space, I would expect proper working conditions first and foremost: air-conditioning in all areas, ergonomic chairs, generous space around the screen or the laptop and sufficient soundproof call rooms. And my list goes on.
As much as I like social places, my back, my posture and the privacy to do my work were more important. I chose to find beautiful houses with good working and living conditions. But I’ve met a few people who were more interested in tagging a fancy coworking space in their stories and living in a guesthouse without AC or warm shower. It’s all about choices.
I hear you ask: “So, what’s worth to be published on Instagram, Andreia?”
Well, there’s so much in Bali. And my experience is so diverse that it’s hard to describe in one word or sentence all the things I liked. I don’t have a favorite place, favorite food or a favorite café. I like too many things!
What I liked the most was the daily life and the routine — if I can call it routine. And then there were the vibes, the heat, the colors. More about all these on a future blog post.
Do you think of going to Bali? And is there something I can help you with?
Hi! I’m Andreia, I help entrepreneurs to launch their business online. I do that by building well-designed websites and content strategies. Get in touch today and let’s start and grow your online presence.