People have been asking me…
“… Julius, what do you do all day in Bali. You can not be surfing all the time”
That is correct.
But the REAL answer to that question might be a lot less exciting.
Let me walk you through a day of my life as a digital nomad in Bali.
Digital Nomad In Bali – Morning:
I am NOT a morning person. I never was and never will be.
The beauty of my lifestyle that I don’t have to be.
So let us skip this. I am rarely out of bed before 12.
(Stop, don’t assume I am lazy just yet).
Now, this is when I start to become active. Usually little before 13:00 I go to a local restaurant. Also called “Warung”.
It is run by a family of what it seems 4 generations. The small kid always runs away when I park my bike. The old lady guards the cash register (with a worn out shirt, an iron fist and a friendly smile).
Nobody speak English. I always get the same. Sometimes they make jokes about me and they all laugh.
…Then I go surfing…
It took me a while to find the right guys. Some of them just look bored, false and just there to get as much out of unsuspecting tourists as possible.
I want to build a relation. In case something happens.
Like last week, I broke one of their surfboards. I got smashed by a large wave. It kept me under for at least 5 sec… eeh at LEAST 5 minutes and when I got up the board was broken. The next wave snapped the thing in two.
They said it could be fixed. I paid a small fee. Everybody happy.
In terms of surfing they have not been so useful. Of course the waves are different at all times.
But I always asked them what the best time is to surf.
“You should come in the morning. It is coming the high tide”.
Next day I come in the morning.
“Come at 13:–. Is coming the high wave”
So I come back at 13:00.
“Is already coming the low, brother”.
All they’re really interested in is getting hand-jobs in Sanur.
By now I am already checking the internet for useful information on the wind and swell.
And with all my new found wisdom I came to the conclusion that… on that particular spot it is just a matter of luck.
If I want better waves I need to go to other places. I will start doing this next week.
In any case I am getting better. I started riding proper green waves (yay!)
I usually get back at 15:00. I will take a shower. Sing some songs.
I go for my first working session of the day.
There is an internet café nearby.
The place is not the best, not the worst. You have to buy something to get login details to the internet.
I always order Nasi Goreng.
…There are other regulars…
The first is an old French surfer. He comes in, lies vertical at the couch in his very short shorts and legs spread and then asks for the mnuuuuuuu (menu). Nobody ever understands him.
The other is a friendly guy who sat in the same corner for over a month. His girlfriend always joined him after work. They started to have arguments. He is running out of money. She wants him to buy a suite and apply for jobs. He does not think it is a wise investment of his last money. He started smoking more.
He stopped coming altogether.
The music sucks and is often to loud. The most popular commercial radio station of the island.
Now, what do you think someone working on a laptop wants (their target market)?
Hint: it is not house music or this American crap pumpin out of the speakers.
I also overheard conversations and saw people leave because of the music.
I spoke to the owner that sometimes it is difficult to concentrate because of the music.
“The music is not to loud.”
It wasn’t a question…
Anyway, I usually I work until 19:00 or 19:30.
Then I go home.
I usually drive home first past a little market where I buy meal 3 and 4 of the day.
At home I eat, and take a nap.
Around 23:00 I start my 2nd working session of the day. It will last until I am to tired.
Usually around 04:00.
That is it.
Did you notice something?
I mostly work.
No endless travelling or parties and fancy cocktails with friends (ok, there is the weekend).
No look-at-me from a hammock living like a king of all the tax free passive income I am being showered with from open pick up trucks filled with slightly boozed Brazilian bikini babes.
Where Does The Digital Nomad In Bali Live?
I live in a big apartment complex. It is owned by a Chinese / Indonesian women. So far all my landlords in Asia (ok, just two, ha!) have been Chinese.
I have a small room with a bath room. I have a nice big working desk and my own internetconnection (my only real requirements).
I came there via AirBnB. I then made a good deal for longer.
The landlady has a crush on me.
She always asks about my love life and about the condoms on my desk. “I am just sitting alone in my villa HA HA HA” (fake laugh).
She sometimes brings me ice cream and she wants me to buy her croissants.
When I am drunk I sing songs and record them and send them to her via Whatsapp.
The site is managed by a friendly guy and his family. When I speak to him he always smiles, nods frantically and laughs.
I don’t think he understand anything I say.
He has dogs, roosters and children and all of them are loud.
His round wife always brings around the offerings. She sometimes beats the child with a broom.
I have a motorbike that I drive around the city. It has barely rained since I got here.
Sometimes in the morning my bike has been washed. And there is a small offering of rice and flowers attached to it for the gods. Maybe they are worried about my driving. I drive like a grandpa. Unless I had a few beers…
…Then I drive like an Indonesian.
There was a (small) EARTHQUAKE last week.
It came and went.
I remember the first time it happened to me in Nicaragua. I ran out of the building dragging a friend along in panic (she was from Chile and had experienced this 100’s of times). Later I locked myself in the toilet and almost cried.
The second time was in the Philippines. I dreamt I was in a washing machine and woke up when the doors of my closed started to bang. I did not even feel the need to get up.
It is surprising how humans adapt to unusual experiences.
Like looking in the wrong end of a gun.
Or my aunt who was living in Israel always made sure she did groceries before 3 because at 4 “the scud rockets came”.
I am not particularly interested in Indonesian women. Don’t get me wrong, I find them VERY attractive.
But I have seen more than enough of them to not take them to seriously. They are the women that to me look the most concerned with the “business side of things” when it comes to relationships ANYWHERE on earth. My landlady agrees. According to her, almost all relationships fail. Because most girls just want money.
I guess my Aussie flatmate also agrees. Last week his girlfriend started throwing the furniture from the first floor.
Oh, you want to hear an even crazier story?
Hear this one:
A few weeks ago a flatmate came back from a party. He was supposed to stay away for the night. He encountered his little brother in bed with a guy.
He started beating him up in front of my door.
Note that these are Muslims from Java. He apparently shouted things like: “you can not be helped” and “mother does not know what to do with you”.
The boyfriend apologized for the commotion.
What to do? They guy loves cock. No Holy Book will change that.
Well, that is my life as a digital nomad in Bali at the moment.
It is not a life of non-stop excitement or intense travelling when you go on holiday.
Sometimes I am very lonely.
The beauty is in the moments you can just drop everything and pursue something you want.
Visit a nice place. Search for good waves on your motorbike. Watch Games of Thrones. Drive your motorbike through the rice paddies after a couple of beers.
Living free to determine what you want to do (it’s nice, aaay).
I am not completely independent but I am taking (baby) steps to get where I need to be.
…makes me really happy.
How was your day?
On way to the land of milk and honey
P.s. Interested to see how you can live like tax a tax-free digital nomad?
I love your posts! Your entries about the Philippines and Bali are great!