Let’s face it the world around us is changing at a rapid pace driven primarily by the information age. Society now views differently things that were once held in great esteem. Ever since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) global markets have failed to sufficiently recover worldwide in so called 'first world countries' leaving many with their nest eggs depleted or worse still, decimated altogether. National debt has risen to levels not seen before with little chance of recovery anytime soon, just take a look at these figures in real time:
Jobs too are disappearing as the drive toward artificial intelligence (AI) brings automation to the forefront of the new technological explorer who seeks out ways to improve our lives but at the cost of stability. The housing market too is predicted by analysts to be headed for a crash with many Australians no longer able to afford to purchase a home. Those considered 'lucky' to have a home are struggling to meet their monthly financial commitment to the banks.
It’s not all bad news though - it's in fact far from it, if you can open your mind to the world of opportunity that sits in parallel to the age of information. There are many resources and options now available to those willing to explore alternatives not previously considered.
Having traveled frequently throughout Asia as a single female over the age of 50, I’m blessed to say I have experienced a wide and diverse range of perspectives through the interaction with others from different backgrounds. Over the past ten years I've noticed in particular the slow and steady migration of Australians, Germans, the British, Dutch and Russians who have made the decision to call Asia home.
Always intrigued, I often question strangers as to the reasons why they have decided to ‘up sticks’ and relocate to a country such as Thailand or Bali in Indonesia for example. I wanted to inquire further about the positive and negative experiences they have encountered along the way. Whilst some have made the commitment to relocate permanently, others have opted to spend time in both their home country and their new location, keeping a ‘foot in both camps.’
Why Live In Asia?
Before narrowing our vision to Bali, Indonesia which will be discussed in a range upcoming articles, it’s important to consider some of benefits of considering a relocation to Asia in general. There truly are so many reasons in which one can benefit from doing so, I could no doubt write a book on this very topic alone.
So let’s take a light hearted approach to this scenario and consider the following:
• Old habits will disappear.
• Integrate with the locals.
• Family will embrace you.
• Each day will be different.
• Old friends will be jealous.
• You can make a fresh start.
• You will learn a new language.
• Every day will be different.
• Many new friendships abound.
• Emotional baggage will disappear.
• Gain new insights about yourself.
• Old friends will want to visit you.
• People will want to hear ‘your story’.
• Gain new insights to the human condition.
• You will reinvent yourself from the ground up.
• Exposure to new things will keep Alzheimer’s at bay.
• No need for a holiday anymore – you’ve already arrived.
• Your approach to others will be more compassionate & caring.
• You will seek out new, not previously considered opportunities.
• Fights are cheap and frequent to most Australian capital cities.
• You will meet new & interesting people, you will be one of them.
• You will be renewed, invigorated & challenged beyond your wildest dreams.
• Asia is but a short distance from Australia and an international airline hub.
• Your income will double – even triple, as your dollar buys so much more than it before.
• You will find a new found energy as you navigate your way through your new environment.
• You will embrace the minimalist lifestyle, balancing your life with what you need, not what you want.
Sitting in what seems to be your comfort zone at home - which may well be crumbling before your very eyes, perhaps you know it or maybe you don’t, that our western lifestyle is in steep decline. Either way my advice is to get off the couch, get on a plane and take a look for yourself at what Bali, Indonesia or Asia in general has to offer. You may just be surprised at how easy it is to reinvent and reinvigorate your life.
Aside from the quality of life aspect, how does the appeal of living like a king or queen for just AUD$1,000.00 per month sound. Well its easily achieved by knowing what it takes to set up and maintain a balanced lifestyle benefiting your physical, emotional and financial wellbeing well into the future.
Is Bali The Destination For You?
There’s only really one way to tell - and that’s by going there. You should take a visit to experience for yourself firsthand what Bali has to offer in general. There are many areas of the island offering a diverse range of lifestyles, from those who prefer to access areas where there is some night life, to a more relaxed and natural environment, either by the sea or in the mountains at places such as Ubud.
Maybe you are a foodie and like to dine out often, someone who appreciates the social aspects of a life of retirement. Of course it’s important to weigh up the positive and negative aspects of living in a different country where customs and culture differ widely from that experienced in the ‘western world’. So let’s examine the possibility of this change in lifestyle you are currently contemplating.
What Are You Looking For?
While constant ‘navel gazing’ is never a good thing, the general consensus is we are collectively as a society looking for happiness. Most western cultures promote the ‘getting of happiness’ as something that is achieved through the accumulation of things. Stuff - be it money, possessions, power, significance or whatever. As you look around the room, consider all the items around you. Do they make you happy?
What about the bank balance? Media is littered with stories of the wealthy and the mega-wealthy who for whatever reason take a path of self-destruction through addiction, multiple marriages, divorces and building huge mansions which for the most part are occupied by only one or two people. Loneliness too can be soul destroying, with many choosing to take their own life, after spending years feeling depressed, hopeless and dejected at their lack of prospects for the future.
In a country like Australia statements such as these are validated by the numbers of people who choose to take their own life without considering a wider perspective and investigating what was once considered the impossible, to be now possible.
Australia - Best Country On Earth?
Aussies are a proud bunch much like the Americans and English, patriotic to the core. However in real terms Australia and a number of other countries around the world are no longer the places they once were. The decline in quality of living, rising health care costs and inadequate infrastructure all contribute toward a downward trend in our economy.
At the time of writing the Australian Debt Clock was clocking our National Government Debt at $ 564,122,584,617 – I shudder to think what it is now, take a look for yourself and consider the following. Australia is a relatively small country with a population of approximately 24,641,662.
Rising debt, declines in the manufacturing, mining, textiles and retail industries amongst others leaves little wriggle room from which to recover from the rising national debt. This coupled with the ratio of fully employed persons to government subsidized pensioners being 2:1, when 20 years ago the ratio was 5:1 - the future is not looking rosy in the 'lucky country'.
As a national community it’s the people who ultimately suffer and its sadly already begun, with infrastructure such as hospitals and schools falling into decline. Couple this with the incoming global giants such as Amazon which are set to change the way we purchase as consumers, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict the outcome.
At present interest rates are low however consumer debt is at an all-time high. Once the bubble bursts as it inevitably will, where will you be and how will it impact your lifestyle into the future?
Consider too the current issue of rising energy costs, with reports that approximately 5,000 households per month have had their electricity disconnected from their homes in the winter of 2017, as they are unable to afford to pay for heating during the winter months. This in a country Australia, rich in resources and energy. Many of our senior citizens now freeze through winter for fear of turning on their heater.
Why Consider Bali?
Bali is considered to be a spiritual, culinary and cultural location with over 3.3 million tourists visiting annually. By the numbers of Europeans relocating permanently to the island, its appeal should not be understated.
The climate and volcanic soil provide Bali with a perfect combination for the growing of tropical fruits and vegetables and as a consequence residents are provided with a range of dining and fresh food market options which are at a low cost compared to say, the rising costs of fruit and vegetables in Australia.
The choice of home too can vary considerably from the modest up to a mansion, allowing any expat to easily traverse into a new lifestyle. Domestic staff including drivers, housekeepers and security personnel are available at reasonable cost.
Most houses, villas and serviced apartments in Bali cost on average IDR23,000,000 per year, equating to approximately AUD $2,295.00 or USD $1,730.00. Bali too is well known as a magnet for those with a creative and artistic streak providing an opportunity to awaken the mind, body and spirit through the arts.
It is important however to be realistic about the reasons why relocating to a foreign country where every aspect of the life is different to the one you are living right now. In my experience there are really two reasons most people consider the move, they are for either practical or personal reasons. Become informed about all the negative and positive aspects around relocating to a particular area considering first, the location itself.
Reasons To Live In Bali
Balinese culture has a way of triggering something in each of us, something bigger than ourselves, if you just pop your head out of the sand just long enough to look around you. Released from the constraints of heavy clothing and ever-growing concern about survival in Australia over the long term, perhaps it’s the arts and culture in Bali that will release you from your shackled life.
2. Cost of Living
Consider for a moment getting your laundry done by a local Balinese family who reside only a short distance away from your residence at a cost of 15 cents per item folded & stacked for pick up the next day. A Bluebird (brand) taxi ride costs from as little as $2.00 with clean air-conditioned vehicles and drivers who are pleasant and accommodating.
To live a comfortable lifestyle in Bali in 2017 costs between AUD$1,000 - AUD$1,200 (US$1,730 – USD$750.00) per month. For the budget conscious it’s possible to live on only AUD$600.00 (USD$452.00)per month.
Bali offers an even climate all year round with temperatures of 30 degrees and humidity levels sitting at approximately 85%. Monsoon season in the west of the island takes place between the months of October to April, bringing with it significant rain events.
With a coral reef surrounding the island, beaches on the south side of the island tend have white sand, whilst those on the north and west sides of the island have black sand. For the most part beaches are clean, however during tidal storms ocean debris can be seen floating into some beach areas.
The inland central areas of the island feature the central mountain region, with passes up to 1,750m in elevation. Mount Gunung Agung is the islands largest mountain at 3,031 metres or 9,944 feet which is known to the locals as mother mountain, and is in fact an active volcano.
You’ve seen it on the T-shirts of visitors returning from their Bali vacation, Bintang is Bali’s best-selling beer, similar to that of an American pale larger or something resembling a Heineken. Local beer is quite cheap in comparison with spirits, wine or imported beer due to the heavy taxes imposed by the government. A bottle of Bintang beer contains 4.5% alcohol and ranges in price from $1.50 to $9.00 for a standard bottle, depending upon the point of purchase.
7. Fruits & Vegetables
An abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables can be found at anyone of the local markets. Alternatively they can be purchased from your local supermarket, but why bother when you can shop like a local and benefit by the freshness of in-season produce. Pick up a kilogram of oranges from AUD$2.00 or a dozen fresh eggs from AUD$1.00. 1.5 litres of bottled water will set you back approximately .80 cents.
South East Asia is famous for its street food and Bali is no different. Warungs, small shops or kiosks together with Rumah Makan, which means 'eating home' offer a range of taste sensations for those seeking an authentic life in Bali. Traditional food is served at fixed prices from around one dollar a dish and are made with love by a local family run business.
9. Ethnic Diversity
Aside from the local population people from all over the world travel to Bali to work, retire, or holiday. You will no doubt come across a range of accents, providing a unique opportunity to mix with a diverse range of people from all over the world.
Bali is a shopping destination for even those who prefer not to indulge in the pastime. A range of irresistible buys lay before your very eyes including an assortment of fine art, antiques, woven & dyed fabrics. Shopping at markets too is an activity enjoyed by many, providing an opportunity to bargain for the best price. A number of international fashion labels call Bali home, with many tailors offering 24 hour turn around services.
11. Night Life
Whether you crave the nightclub scene, a dinner out or a show, Bali is awash with entertainment venues. Depending on the area in which you settle, it’s worth considering if residing in a nightclub precinct is for you.
With the rise of terror inspired attacks around the world, is any place safe anymore? There are a few things though to watch out for in Bali which goes with the territory of being one of a number of top tourism destinations in Asia including; counterfeit alcohol, drugs, road accidents and theft.
The history of Bali is indeed a fascinating one, so it’s worth taking the time to learn the history of you newly adopted country to gain a broad understanding of the people and culture that surrounds you. If you'd like to know more, then read my article titled 'A Short History Of Bali, Indonesia by clicking on the link.
14. Festivals & Holidays
It seems in Bali that every day an event or festival is celebrated. The color and excitement of local parades and celebrations are heavily driven by the Hindu religion and are a wondrous experience to witness up close.
15. Restaurants & Dining
Thousands upon thousands of restaurants and dining options are available throughout the island. No matter if your taste buds yearn for a high-end dining experience to a simple restaurant meal, you will never be short on choice when living in Bali.
16. Things to Do
Much like the dining experiences a range of activities are close by no matter where you are situated on the island. The beach, sailing, paragliding, a mountain walk, the arts, or a show - there is something for everyone.
There is no custom of tipping in Bali as most restaurants include a service charge on the bill. However the gesture will be most appreciated should you find the service has exceeded your expectations.
The locally grown coffee is famous as the rich volcanic soil combined with the favorable climatic conditions are ideal for growing coffee, with the Kintamai region in the north east being a primary growing area on the island. If you are a coffee lover then understand, in Bali coffee is a serious business.
The Balinese are a humble and respectful people. Their gentle nature provides a calming aspect to the island. When looking around, the only bad behavior you will generally encounter is that of the ignorant tourist.
The Balinese language differs from that of the national Bahasa Indonesia language, it’s worth taking the time to learn the local lingo as it goes a long way indeed when Bali becomes your forever home. English is commonly spoken in Bali so if you decide not to venture into a new language territory, then you will be able to easily get through day to day communications with the locals.
Bali, known also as ‘The Island of the Gods’ with a temple count of approximately 6,002 based upon the most recent audit undertaken in 2012. Temples are based upon the hierarchy system aligned with that of the Hindu religion which provides temples where each caste can worship.
Whilst there are no trains in Bali, metered taxis, buses and of course the humble scooter offer a range of public transportation options for both the traveler and resident. Cars are expensive to purchase in Indonesia. In real terms, owning your own vehicle is a cost you can surely do without.
With all your money stress removed from your life, financial freedom is indeed genuinely possible to achieve. With more money, the need for work is a burden removed, providing anyone looking to retire or semi-retire with a real pathway to total and complete freedom from the shackles of a 9 to 5 life.
24. Happy People
Its official - the annual happy planet index, which measures what matters in terms of sustainable wellbeing for all said so. In 2016 the index ranked Indonesia as 16th in the overall list of happiest places on the planet. In contrast, Australia ranked 105th, United States 108th & the United Kingdom 34th place respectively.
Opportunities for the pursuit of therapeutic recovery can be found all over the island. The simplicity of the Balinese vibe, contemporary sanctuary and retreat surrenders the mind, body and soul from the everyday stress that encouraged you to consider leaving your home country in the first place.
Day Spas and wellness centers abound in Bali, from the luxury to the street, no matter your budget, you will find ways to treat yourself every day.
27. Expat Community
There is a well-established expatriate community living truly satisfying lifestyles, having found their niche in a country they now call home. Get to know them, become a local or a blend of both. The quicker you settle in the sooner the fun starts.
28. Alzheimer’s Prevention
You mind will be challenged as you navigate your new life. Parts of the brain will be triggered into action, which were once laying dormant. The old adage use it or lose it, - never have truer words been spoken. You will feel invigorated as you experience new tastes, sounds & sensations.
There’s something to be said about living on an island, Bali conjures up a host of positive vibes, which will not disappoint those seeking an island lifestyle.
If you would like to learn more about Bali as a destination, head over to my next article Pensions And The Cost Of Retirement Living In Bali better yet, why not subscribe to travelnanna.com and receive information directly to your inbox.