I've been traveling and living abroad for about 4 years now.
Before I moved to Bali I have lived in the Netherlands (where I grew up), Canada, and most recently in Vietnam. After teaching English in Vietnam for two years I felt like it was time for the next adventure. I loved living in Vietnam and I am so grateful for the things I got to experience here, but from the beginning I knew, this wasn't going to be my long term home.
I always dreamed of living on the beach and when the contract with my school was ending I decided it was time to move somewhere new and exciting.
I had never been to Indonesia before but my friends who had been were always saying to me that Bali would be the perfect place for me. I'm into yoga, meditation and I'm a vegetarian so I guess that does make me your typical Bali girl.
After my first week in Bali, all I could say was; boy were my friends right!
I absolutely love it here and I can see myself living here long term.
So what do I love about living here most?
The good vibes! This is something that is hard to put into words but it is by far the most important thing that means Bali can be a place that could be my long term home.
If you've ever been you probably know what I'm talking about.
It's something almost magical and hard to explain.
The people that live here are extremely friendly and it's by far the place where I found it the easiest to make friends. Not just superficial friendships, but real meaningful connections that I'm pretty sure will last a lifetime. Both locals and expats have such a positive attitude that works contagiously.
Everybody is on the same path in one way or another, focusing on personal growth and creating the life of their dreams. I live in Canggu which facilitates everything you need to live your best life and become the best version of you.
There are tons of co-working spaces, healthy restaurants, gyms and multiple events going on daily.
Whether it's a free yoga class, a creative writing workshop or just a chance to let your hair down at the weekly karaoke. There's something for everyone, for every mood. And then there's the beach, which is never far when you live in Bali.
As you can probably tell there's a real love affair going on between me and this beautiful island. I could go on and on about why living here is so amazing but if I do this article would become a book instead.
I guess the best way to find out is to hop on a plane and find out for yourself (or watch Eat, Pray, Love, that will give you a bit of an idea).
How to make a living in Bali?
Compared to other countries in Asia, Indonesia is a little different when it comes to getting a work permit. Long story short, it's not easy. Before I moved here I was teaching English in Vietnam where finding a job is easier than getting a cab.
To protect the locals they only hire people for jobs that can not be done by an Indonesian. This in combination with Bali being a very popular expat destination,
the competition to get a job is extremely high.
So how can you make a living to support your lifestyle?
I would say 95% of the foreigners that live here work online, either they have a business are work for an employer remotely. Once I got to Bali my mind was blown by how many different ways there actually are to work online.
When I just moved here teaching online was my main source of income. After meeting new friends and networking I gradually expanded my work to copywriting and social media management. Because everybody works online it's easy to get inspired and find the resources you need to start your remote career.
After a few months in Bali, I even got so inspired that I even decided to follow my dream of starting my own fashion brand, and I can proudly say that I just launched my first collection which you can check out at @lostgirlsofficial.
If you're ready to start your own brand but need a little push, Girls Gone Working highly recommends Wired Creatives. Check out our review of their brand building course and get $100 off when you sign up!
What's the visa situation?
Like I mentioned before, getting a work permit here is not easy. There are a few different options though when it comes to getting a visa.
What most expats do in the beginning is to start with a tourist visa.
You can get a free visa on arrival for 30 days but the better option is to pay $35 for your visa which can be extended for 30 more days after the first month is up.
Extending your visa is quite easy since there are lots of visa agents here which will happily do it for you for about $50.
After your 60 days are up you will have to leave the country, the so-called visa run and start the process again. This sounds complicated but it's actually not that bad since it allows you to take a little trip every two months and discover a new place.
If, or should I say when, you decide that you want to stay in Bali for the long run you have a few other options. You can get a Social Visa, which allows you to stay up to 6 months but doesn't allow you to work in Indonesia.
Another option is to get a KITAS, this type of visa also allows you to do certain types of jobs in Indonesia.
There are tons of reliable VISA agencies around the island who can inform you and help you get the VISA that suits you best.
Still deciding if Bali is your next home?
Girls Gone Working has a mini-course on Skillshare to help you decide! You'll get the tools to make a big, life-changing decision. You'll learn to prioritize your needs & wants to decide if moving abroad is right for you. By the end of the course not only will you know if you're ready to make the move, but you'll also be ready to make some big decisions: deciding where to move & your source of income!
This course will walk you through 10 questions that I personally ask myself each and every time I plan another international move. These questions are geared to get you thinking about what it is exactly that you want and also, what you don't want. It'll let you know what areas you're confident in and what areas you need a little push.
You'll receive the guidance needed to reflect on those non-negotiables & equally what isn't as important to you.
Along with the downloadable worksheet to answer the questions, you'll also receive a resource guide with over 15 websites that will help your planning and job hunting process that much smoother. After you've completed the course you'll continue to receive tips, worksheets and guides to keep you on track.
After this course, you'll feel confident & eager to pick your new home, pack your bags & go!
Cost of living
Besides the good vibes and the nice weather, another reason why expats love Bali is because of the low cost of living.
When you work online and earn a salary that meets Western standards Bali will allow you to live a very comfortable lifestyle.
To give you an idea of my costs of living here in Bali I will give you a breakdown of my monthly costs below, all listed in USD:
Basic room in a guesthouse, air-conditioned and with a pool - $280
Monthly scooter rental - $50
SIM card with 5GB internet - $10
Meals - anywhere between $1 and $8 depending on if you eat local or Western
These are the basic costs of living and of course you will be spending money on going out, a gym membership, massages or whatever else your interests are.
Besides the costs of living though, you do need to keep in mind that you will need to renew your visa regularly, how often depending on the visa you are on. This includes flight tickets, accommodation and of course the costs of your new visa.
I hope this post gave you a bit of an idea of what it's like to live the island life on my beloved Bali. To follow my journey check out my Instagram on @jamiegoesnomad.