In June of 2015 I embarked on a round the world backpacking trip that I’d planned to last for one year.
Although this trip has been very slow paced, I still sigh at the thought of packing my bags for the next destination or looking up exchange rates.
After eleven months on the road, I’ve decided to take a two month break from backpacking to fall into a healthy and happy routine in Canggu, Bali, a small village on the beach that’s gaining fast popularity amongst the slow paced travel crowd.
I feel secure in saying that I’ve chosen wisely by taking this hiatus on the island of the gods.
Here are 5 ways I’m living better than ever in Bali:
I can afford to treat myself
With only what neared $10,000 USD saved up for my RTW trip I was definitely on a tight budget during the 11 months I country hopped, even while volunteering in exchange for room and board.
I took local modes of transport, I stayed in the biggest dorms at hostels and I ate the street food. So many times on my trip I chose the steal instead of the splurge. And when I did splash out, I’d always sink into a buyer’s remorse, scolding myself for purchasing any luxury.
At the beginning of this month I started working odd jobs online. To be perfectly honest, I earn what most Americans would call a meager salary. But here in Bali, where the cost of living is low, I’m able to afford many comforts I wouldn’t back home.
Imagine $10 massages, $35 villas with private pools, substituting rice for quinoa or adding spirulina and chia to shakes for pennies on the dollar. I no longer feel the need to look at a menu and choose between what I actually want and what I think is the better deal.
I still spend within reason and live a rather humble life, but when I need a pick me up or just want a little pampering I don’t feel the need to check the ol’ bank account beforehand.
I want to get outdoors
Being a bit of a homebody, I’ve always been happy to spend a day inside watching movies or reading a good book. Now that’s all fine and dandy, but there is something to be said about connecting with nature and getting your daily dose of vitamin D.
The weather and scenery here is just too beautiful to miss out on and so I find myself often itching to get out of my room and off for a bike ride around the rice fields or to the volcanic sand beach for sunset.
Bali is a wonderland of verdant fields, dramatic coastlines and majestical mountains. Nobody came all the way to Bali to sit in their hotel room.
Unless it’s a villa and has a private pool…
My work setting is easygoing and social
With the rise of co-working spaces on the island, more and more digital nomads are flocking here to get some work done in a chilled out setting all the while hobnobbing with other globe trotting remote workers.
Just recently I got to talking with a “coworker” about why we moved to Bali. He told me he saw it as a good place to grow. I asked if he meant as a person, spiritually. He asked if I would even ask that question if I lived in the U.S. “Wouldn’t you ask financially?”
Some would wonder why I wouldn’t simply save myself a membership fee and work from cafes, but the networking and young and nomadic energy that pulsates in my co-working space is every the reason to sign up for more and more hours.
I’m staying active and so is everyone else
As is the norm with most beach towns, here in Canggu most people have their bikini bodies in tip top shape.
Scooters zip by with surfboards attached. Girls walk around in yoga pants and sports bras. You can find joggers running the coastline and crossfitters in the box just up the road.
Delicious, healthy food is easily affordable and available at every cafe. Are you paleo? No problem. Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten free? Yes, we have that. Do you want soy milk for your coffee? No worries, my basic comrade, Canggu has your back.
Call it something in the coconut water, Bali resident expats are tanned, toned and well nourished.
Locals and visitors alike are all gems in my book
The Balinese are some of the most friendly, polite and ever smiling bunch I’ve met while on the road.
My home-stay host, Wayan, laughs hysterically when I say I’m going to meet a friend…or go to work….or buy water. I don’t know what she’s so damn happy about, but I find her smile infectious and nothing too out of the ordinary here on the island.
And it’s not only the locals that are lovely, but the staycation visitors that are attracted to this area of the island as well. Never before have I met such a large group of young people that seem to hold the secret to a happy life. They’re pleasure seekers at heart, but I’ve found that many are full of entrepreneurial spirit and just beginning to hatch their plans to extend their stays in paradise.
Hedonists, bon vivants, these long term travelers know just when to put in hours at the co-working and when to head to the beach for a bintang and sunset view.
I’ve just applied today to extend my visa another month here in Indonesia. Bali, and the village Canggu specifically, is the perfect home away from home for a tired backpacker that wants to chill and live a lifestyle that doesn’t include bunk beds or 20 hour bus rides. Canggu has been treating me well and I feel fortunate to get to live in a place that keeps my mind, tummy and wallet happy.