The vagabonders

in Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
416 words, 2 minutes to read

Our Flying Dutchman is leaving today. That's not his name, but we didn't get his real one when he first offered it. He's been a source of recommendations for pretty much all of our dining here, having been a local here for months at a time. Now he's off to a job in the Caribbean. One of the many vagabonds around here.

Digital Nomads” is the term used often for people, who work remotely, thanks to the wonders of the internet age. They roam the world, spending a few weeks to months someplace, then move on. Most of them seem to cluster around the equator, and in Asia. That's not particularly surprising, considering climate and costs of living.

“Digital” isn't too precise though, since a lot of them have local jobs. Often well paid, compared to the local salaries. Our Dutchman will be making $3,000 a month plus have an opportunity to complete an advanced scuba diving course—free of charge. He needs a work permit too.

Foreigners in Bali can neither work nor own property. Can't buy a house, but the market caters for that, obviously, offering very long-term leases. A 60-day business visa is available for those, wishing to “do business in Bali”, which is what most of the “digitals” use. They just need to leave the country every two months—a brief, forced vacation.

There's Hailey, an Australian personal coach and therapist, who runs an online presence dealing with the topics of depression. She also writes books, her first one on the parallels between “quantum physics and depression”. Intriguing. There's John, another Aussie, who does yoga at the beach each morning and spends his days likewise in the area of personal coaching. Just came back from two months in the U.S. preparing material for a movie on how adversity in life is actually beneficial.

Australians are certainly a large group here, mostly due to the proximity of their continent. Dutch people seem an even larger group—perhaps that is their nature, to roam the world. French? We hear a lot of these, but might just be tourists and backpackers.

An interesting life. If lonely. One is basically uprooted every few months, loses relationships, local know-how, one's favorite coffee shop and diner. But perhaps that's not an issue for those, who, like our Flying Dutchman, are able to casually come over, introduce themselves and immediately build a new acquaintanceship. Otherwise they're alone, aside from some blood relatives back in their home country, they possess little, travel light.