I Love Bali
It Is So Hard To Enjoy Life In Paradise
Author Klaus Forster
In his book "I Love Bali - So Hard to Enjoy Life in Paradise", Klaus Forster writes about his journey to Bali, a beautiful island paradise that he fell in love with. However, he soon realized that living in such a paradise isn't always easy, and can bring struggles, challenges, and even heartbreak. Through his personal experiences, Klaus explores themes of identity, relationships, and finding meaning in life, all while trying to navigate the complexities of life in a foreign land. This book is an emotional journey of self-discovery, told through the lens of one man's love for Bali.
To my dear son Louis,
I am writing this book for you, my sweet child. It is my hope that through this book, you will be able to understand the challenges of living in paradise and appreciate the beauty of your paradise. As a father, I want you to learn from my experiences, my successes, and my mistakes. As you know, life is not always perfect. But despite the struggles we face, we can still find joy and happiness in the little things around us.
See, In this book, Bali stands as a wildcard, a placeholder. Your paradise can be anywhere. I hope it will inspire you, to find your own paradise, and live your life with purpose. Enjoy every moment - no matter where you are. May you continue to grow into a kind and compassionate person, with a deep appreciation for the world around you.
I love you more than words can express, and I am proud to be your father.
Your Dad Klaus Forster
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Falling in Love With Bali
2. Deciding to Move to Paradise: The Challenges of Real Life on an Island Paradise
3. Cultural Differences: Navigating Balinese Customs and Social Norms
4. Costs of Living: Managing Finances in a Tourist-Driven Economy
5. Language Barriers: Learning Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese Dialects
6. Facing Unpredictable Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanic Eruptions
7. The Dark Side of Bali: Crime, Corruption, and Drug Abuse
8. Building New Relationships: Making Friends and Dating in Bali
9. Being an Expatriate: The Ups and Downs of Living Away from Home
10. Conclusion: Embracing the Beauty and Challenges of Life in Bali
Falling in Love With Bali
Bali is an exotic island located in Indonesia that has been called a paradise on Earth by many people who have visited it. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality. I first visited Bali in 2016, and since then, I am in love with this magical place.
My name is Klaus Forster, and I am the author of the book, "I Love Bali - So Hard To Enjoy Life In Paradise." I have written this book not only to share my experiences with others but to encourage you to search and find your own paradise. But also, to help guide those who are planning to visit Bali or have already been there.
Bali is a unique destination that offers something for everyone, from pristine beaches and lush jungles to historic temples and vibrant nightlife. However, despite its undeniable beauty, there are still some challenges that come with living in such a popular tourist destination.
As someone who has spent significant time in Bali, I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be to enjoy life on this island. From the traffic and pollution to the cultural differences and language barriers, Bali can be overwhelming for some. However, once you learn to navigate these challenges, you will discover a place that is truly one of a kind.
In this book, I will share my own experiences living in Bali, as well as tips and advice on how to make the most of your time on the island. Whether you are a first-time visitor, a digital nomad, a remote worker, or a seasoned traveler, I hope that this book will help you fall in love with your paradise, just as I have.
This book is not just for adults, but especially for a teenager, my son Louis Forster, who is an adult meanwhile. Bali is a great destination for individual travelers, digital nomads, remote workers, and ex-pats, and I hope that by sharing my experiences, Louis and other young readers shall be inspired to explore their paradise themselves.
So, let's embark on this journey together and discover all that Bali has to offer. Get ready to fall in love with Bali!
Deciding to Move to Paradise:
The Challenges of Real Life on an Island Paradise
After falling in love with Bali during his workation, Klaus Forster remembered his dream of living in paradise, which he had already had for more than 30 years. But the decision to move to Bali was not an easy one, and finally, grief and faith gave him the courage to go. There were many challenges to consider before making such a big move.
Firstly, he had to think about the cost of living and running his business remotely. While Bali may be cheaper than their home country, Germany, he had to look at the cost of housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. What budget would be needed? Would he be able to afford the lifestyle they wanted? How to manage his business remotely?
He also had to consider work. Klaus knew that he was not allowed to work in Bali. He needed to find out how to make a living there, or if he needs to have a backup plan.
Another challenge was adapting to the culture. Bali is a unique place with a rich culture, and he had to learn about it before moving there. He had to understand the customs, traditions, and etiquette of the Balinese people. Also, he had to learn the language, as not everyone speaks English.
Lastly, he had to consider the challenges of real life on an island paradise. As much as Bali was beautiful and peaceful, there were still problems to face: To deal with the chaotic traffic, pollution, and natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. He had to adapt to the different climates, which can be hot and humid one moment and rainy the next.
Despite all these challenges, he decided to take the leap and move to Bali. He was convinced that the benefits outweighed the risks by far. He set up systems that allowed him to work remotely, adjust to the culture, and live in paradise.
Moving to Bali wasn't easy, but it was worth it. He found a new love in Bali. Ever since he enjoys the beauty of Bali and its culture while facing the reality of real life on an island paradise together with his Balinese wife.
Balinese Customs and Social Norms
By now, you might have noticed that Bali has a unique culture of its own. The Balinese hold their cultural practices and traditions in high esteem, and they expect visitors to respect them too. In this chapter, I will introduce you to some of the customs and social norms you need to be aware of.
1. Balinese Religion
The majority of the Balinese people practice a unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism. They believe that gods and goddesses reside in natural elements like mountains, rivers, and trees. Balinese culture is intertwined with their religion, which is evident in their daily offerings, ceremonies, and festivals.
2. Dress Code
Bali's climate allows for lightweight and relaxed clothing. However, when visiting temples or attending cultural events, it's essential to dress modestly. This means covering your shoulders and knees and removing hats and shoes before entering the temple. You can always rent a sarong at the temple if you forget to bring one.
In Bali, the traditional greeting is a gentle bow accompanied by the word "Om Swastiastu." When meeting someone, it's courteous to greet them with a smile and a handshake. If you're unsure of how to greet someone, simply follow their lead.
The Balinese frown upon impolite gestures like pointing with your feet or touching someone's head. This is because they believe that the head is sacred. It's also offensive to touch or pass objects with your left hand as the right hand is considered the clean hand.
5. Balinese Social Hierarchy
The Balinese Hindu culture recognizes a strict hierarchy of social classes. The Brahmins, who are the priests and teachers, are at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (servants). Though this hierarchy doesn't affect tourists directly, it's important to understand and respect it.
Bali is famous for its colorful and vibrant festivals throughout the year. The Balinese place great importance on these festivals, and they celebrate them with joyous fervor. The most significant festivals include Nyepi (The Day of Silence), Oggo-Oggo, Galungan, and Kuningan, among others.
In conclusion, Bali's unique culture is an essential aspect of the island, and understanding and respecting it will help you navigate it effortlessly. By following these simple customs and social norms, you'll show that you appreciate and value the Balinese culture, and this will enhance your experience in Paradise even more.
Costs of Living:
Managing Finances in a Tourist-Driven Economy
Let's talk about money. Bali is a beautiful island, and it is very inexpensive to live here, especially if you compare it to the cost of living in Germany. This chapter will tell you the costs you need to expect when living in Bali and how you can manage your finances.
Cost of Accommodation
The cost of accommodation in Bali can vary depending on where you decide to stay. If you're looking for a luxurious villa with a private pool, you might need to spend around IDR 20,000,000 (around 1,200 euros) per month. On the other hand, if you're happy to share a room with other people in a simple hostel or homestay, you might be able to find something for as little as IDR 3,000,000 (around 180 euros) per month.
Food and Drinks
Bali is known for its delicious food, but eating out can be expensive in tourist areas. A meal in a popular restaurant can easily cost between IDR 100,000 to 200,000 (around 6 to 12 euros) per person. However, if you eat like a local and go to traditional warungs, street food, or market, you can get a decent meal for around IDR 20,000 to 50,000 (around 1 to 3 euros).
Even though Bali lately got a new public bus transportation system, most people use motorbikes or cars to get around. Renting a motorbike costs only around IDR 500,000 to 1,000,000 (around 30 to 60 euros) per month while renting a car can be anywhere from IDR 3,000,000 to 5,000,000 (around 180 to 300 euros) per month.
Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet can also add up to your monthly expenses. Electricity bills can range from IDR 500,000 to 2,000,000 (around 30 to 120 euros) per month, depending on how much you consume. Water and electricity are usually included in the rent for serviced rooms or apartments, but if you're staying in a private villa, you might need to pay for it separately. Internet bills can cost around IDR 100,000 (around 6 euros) per month, depending on the data volume and provider.
Managing Your Finances
Living in a tourist-driven economy can be tough on your finances, but there are ways to control your expenses. Here are some tips:
1. Set a Budget:
Create a budget and stick to it. Allocate your money into categories such as food, accommodation, transportation, utilities, entertainment, and savings.
2. Cook at Home:
Eating out can be expensive, so try to cook your meals at home as much as possible.
3. Shop Local:
Instead of buying imported goods, shop for local products, which are tremendously cheaper.
4. Use Cash:
Avoid using credit cards as much as possible, as they often come with high fees and interest rates.
When renting or buying goods, negotiate for a better price. You'll be surprised how much you can save by simply asking.
Living in Bali can be challenging when it comes to managing your finances, but it's not impossible. By setting a budget, being mindful of your expenses, and making smart choices, you can enjoy life in paradise without breaking the bank.
Learning Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese Dialects
As I settled down in Bali, I quickly realized that one of the biggest obstacles for me would be the language barrier. While many Balinese people speak English, it is not their first language. I had to learn Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia, and the various Balinese dialects if I wanted to truly integrate into the community.
Learning Bahasa Indonesia is not too difficult. There are many resources available online, including apps like Duolingo, which made it easy to practice everyday phrases and vocabulary. I also hired a private language teacher who practiced with me twice times a week to help me with pronunciation and vocabulary.
However, learning the Balinese dialects proved to be more challenging. There are over 700 different languages spoken in Indonesia. And each village has its own unique variation. Even within the same village, different age groups may use different words and expressions. It was overwhelming at first, but soon I discovered that the best way to learn was to immerse ourselves in the culture.
I started attending local festivals and ceremonies, where I was able to observe and participate in traditional rituals. I also made friends with our neighbors and spent time chatting with them. This helped to pick up some of the local slang and idioms that are not taught in textbooks.
While I still have a long way to go in mastering the local languages, I found that making an effort to communicate in Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese has helped to build strong relationships with neighbors and feel more at home in Bali.
Learning a new language can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Not only does it allow you to communicate with others, but it also gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation of different cultures. So, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the language barriers as an opportunity to learn and grow!
Facing Unpredictable Natural Disasters:
Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanic Eruptions
Bali is a paradise with its beautiful beaches, lush greenery, and tropical weather. But life in Bali can also be challenging when natural disasters strike. Bali is located in the Ring of Fire, an area prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. In this chapter, we will discuss how to face these unpredictable natural disasters to keep you safe and informed.
Earthquakes are common in Bali, and they can happen anytime without warning. Earthquakes occur when two plates in the earth's crust collide, causing the ground to shake. If you are caught in an earthquake, protect yourself by following these tips:
1. Drop to the ground
Drop down to your knees and cover your head with your hands.
Take cover under sturdy furniture or against an interior wall away from windows or tall objects that can fall over you.
3. Hold on
Hold onto the object you are taking cover under and be prepared to move with it.
Stay in place until the shaking stops, and it is safe to leave.
Tsunamis are a series of waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions in the ocean. They can be very dangerous and destructive, reaching heights of up to 30 meters. If there is a tsunami warning in Bali, follow these steps immediately:
Leave your home, hotel, or beach immediately, if it is only a few meters above sea level, and go to higher ground.
Listen to the local news or radio stations for updates and instructions.
Follow the evacuation routes and instructions given by the authorities.
4. Be prepared
Bring necessary items such as food, water, and personal belongings.
Bali has Mount Agung, an active volcano that last erupted in 2017. Volcanic eruptions can be hazardous, producing ash clouds, lava flows, and toxic gases. If there is an eruption in Bali, take these precautions:
1. Stay indoors
Stay indoors to avoid breathing in ash or other harmful gases.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth to avoid inhaling the ash.
Listen to the local news or radio stations for updates and instructions.
If advised by the authorities, evacuate the area immediately.
Living in Bali means facing unpredictable natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. It is important to be prepared and to stay informed when these events occur. Remember to listen to the local news, follow instructions given by the authorities, and take necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. Stay calm, and remember that safety is always the first priority.
The Dark Side of Bali:
Crime, Corruption, and Drug Abuse
Bali is a beautiful island with a rich culture, stunning beaches, and breathtaking landscapes. The Balinese Hindus believe in karma and rebirth, and that everything they do comes back to them. Due to that, they are very honest and friendly people.
But millions of tourists come here every year to enjoy their vacations and get a taste of the exotic Indonesian culture. However, Bali is not perfect, and like any other place in the world, it has its dark side.
One of the most significant problems in Bali is theft. There are many cases of theft, pickpocketing, and muggings, especially in crowded touristy areas like Kuta and Seminyak. Tourists are easy to spot and often carry expensive gadgets like smartphones, cameras, and laptops. That's why tourists are often the main target for non-Balinese burglars.
Another issue that plagues Bali is corruption. Some officials and authorities in Bali use their power to extort money from tourists or locals. They might demand bribes to turn a blind eye to illegal activities, speed up bureaucratic procedures, or provide special treatment. Corruption can be difficult to spot for tourists, but it's a widespread problem in Indonesia, and Bali is no exception.
It should be well known, that Indonesia has some of the strictest drug laws in the world. Drug trafficking or possession can result in severe legal consequences, including life imprisonment or even the death penalty! Due to that, drug abuse is not a significant issue in Bali. Even though, some people still use them. Tourists should avoid them at all costs.
The best way to avoid the dark side of Bali is to stay alert and informed. Tourists should take precautions to protect themselves from crime, such as not carrying too much cash or valuables, keeping an eye on their belongings, and avoiding dark alleys at night. If they encounter corrupt officials, they should report them to the local authorities or their embassy.
Bali is a fantastic destination with a lot to offer, but it's not without its problems. As responsible travelers, we should be aware of the dark side of Bali and take measures to protect ourselves and the local community. We should respect the laws and customs of the country and avoid any activities that could harm ourselves or others. By doing so, we can enjoy our vacation while contributing to the sustainable development of Bali.
Building New Relationships:
Making Friends and Dating in Bali
Bali is a vibrant place, and making friends comes naturally to people here. Whether it's bonding over shared interests or simply meeting new people at social events, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with others.
Making Friends in Bali
One of the best ways to start making friends in Bali is by getting involved in activities that you enjoy. For example, if you like yoga, you could sign up for a class at one of the many studios. You'll not only get to practice your poses, but you'll also meet like-minded people who share your passion.
Another great way to make friends in Bali is by volunteering. There are plenty of organizations that could use your help, from animal shelters to disaster relief groups. Not only will you be doing something good for the community, but you'll also have the chance to meet kind-hearted people who share your values.
Of course, just being friendly and open to new experiences can also go a long way in making connections. Strike up conversations with people you meet at cafes or on the beach, and don't be afraid to ask locals for recommendations on where to go or what to do.
Dating in Bali
When it comes to dating in Bali, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it's important to be respectful of cultural differences. But Bali is a very liberal place.
Secondly, it's worth noting that the dating scene in Bali can be a little different from what you might be used to back home. Many ex-pats and travelers come here looking for fun and casual flings, but it's also not uncommon to find people seeking more serious relationships.
If you're looking to meet new people, there are plenty of options. Apps like Tinder and Tagged are popular here. However, it's worth keeping in mind that online dating can be a little hit-and-miss.
You are always better of meeting people in person. There are plenty of bars, clubs, and social events in Bali where you can meet other singles. Just be sure to stay safe and make smart choices when it comes to alcohol and physical intimacy.
Making friends and finding romance in Bali is all about being open to new experiences and willing to put yourself out there. By getting involved in activities you enjoy, and making an effort to connect with others, you'll soon find yourself building a network of meaningful relationships in this beautiful paradise.
Being an Expatriate
The Ups and Downs of Living Away from Home
As an expatriate, living away from your home country can be exciting and challenging at the same time. It's thrilling to explore a new culture, learn a new language, make new friends, and enjoy all the unique experiences that come with it.
However, being an ex-pat also comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Living in a foreign land can be tough, especially if you're not used to the customs, traditions, and laws of that country. Additionally, you'll have to face challenges such as homesickness, cultural differences, and possibly learning a new language.
It's normal to feel overwhelmed and homesick when you're living away from home. You might miss your family and friends, and even your favorite foods. However, this is part of the ex-pat experience, and it's essential to keep an open mind and embrace the new culture you're in.
Living in a new country requires adapting to different customs and traditions. Things that might be acceptable in your home country could be offensive in another. It's vital to research and learns about the country's customs and traditions, so you don't accidentally offend anyone or break any laws.
One significant challenge of being an ex-pat is language barriers. Depending on where you are, you might need to learn a new language to communicate effectively. This can be frustrating, but it can also be incredibly rewarding to be able to converse with locals in their language.
Despite the challenges, being an ex-pat can also be incredibly fulfilling. You get to experience new things, learn about new cultures, and make friends from all over the world. Embrace the experience and enjoy every moment of it.
In conclusion, being an expatriate has its ups and downs, but the key is to keep an open mind and embrace the new culture you're in. Homesickness, cultural differences, and language barriers are all part of the experience, but they're worth it for the fulfillment you gain from living abroad.
Embracing the Beauty and Challenges of Life in Bali
As we come to the end of this book, I hope you have gained a better understanding of life in Bali and why it can be both beautiful and challenging. I also hope that you have learned how to embrace the joys and struggles of life in Bali, just like the Balinese people themselves.
Living in Bali is not always easy. There are cultural differences, language barriers, and the occasional encounter with less-than-friendly individuals. But these challenges are also what make living in Bali such a unique and rewarding experience.
From the lush rice paddies and stunning beaches to the colorful festivals and ceremonies, Bali is a place of incredible beauty. But it’s the people that truly make Bali special. The Balinese are some of the most welcoming and friendly people in the world. They embrace their culture and traditions with pride and share them with anyone who is willing to learn.
You can learn a lot from the Balinese way of life. They take time to appreciate the small things, find joy in the present moment, and prioritize relationships with family and friends. These values can be applied anywhere in the world and can help you find more happiness in your own life.
So, my dear Louis, I hope this book has given you a glimpse into the magic of Bali and the lessons we can all learn from the Balinese people. Embrace the challenges and beauty of life, just like they do, and you’ll find happiness wherever you go.
Back Cover Text
"I Love Bali - So Hard to Enjoy Life in Paradise" is an honest and heartfelt account of one man's journey to find happiness and purpose in life. Klaus's story shows that even in seemingly perfect places, we can still face difficult challenges and obstacles. However, it also teaches us that true happiness comes from within, and we must learn to love and accept ourselves before we can fully enjoy the beauty around us.
This book is a reminder that life is not always easy, but we can find strength and resilience in the face of adversity. I hope you find inspiration in this story to find your own paradise. Remember that no matter where life takes you, you can always find joy and fulfillment if you stay true to yourself.