“Duah tahun setengah,” I replied to a pair of grinning Indonesian men just beyond the gate of a modest homestay in northern Bali. They were “kepo” to know how long I've been living in Bali. And though I've been here just over two-and-a-half years I've been doing so freely using a short-term tourist visa called a VoA.
Who wouldn't want to live on an island in the tropics given the opportunity? And that opportunity became apparent in late-2016, the first time I set foot in Ubud. “What kind of magic place is this,” I remember thinking. The desire to move came strong, and my intention manifested accordingly.
It's been two-and-a-half years since I moved to Bali. And even without a typical long-stay visa I've managed to make things work using bi-monthly flights, and appreciate being able to communicate it to others more with each passing day.
Not everything is entirely peachy keen. Like when US ICE officials detained me in LA on the way to a WuTang concert. Or the time Robinhood, LLC. froze $800 of assets based on my iPhone geolocation telemetry. Or that time I was deported from Singapore. But I can't blame Bali for western mistakes.
Despite the hiccups deciding to make a long stay in Bali with a short-term tourist visa was a choice I'd remake in a heartbeat. Immigration is straight-forward to do alone and costs are reasonable periodic travel considered.
Living in Bali? Please drop by t.me/baliexpats and come say “hai”.
With any luck I'll be sharing more stories about this great place over the next duah tahun setengah as I level up my language skills and become even more smitten with the cheerful, open and friendly people I've come to meet here.