“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 has gone as smoothly as I envisioned. Like the time when when US ICE officials detained me in LA on the way to a conference in Mexico. Or the time Robinhood, LLC. froze $800 of assets then terminated my service after breaking the news on Reddit. Or that time I was deported from Singapore, detained in Bali airport for 8 hours and told I’d have to fly out and back in again.
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 halo.
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.