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AMA: Sold Everything - Moved to Bali

DennisDuty

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When Cortez conquered Mexico, he wasn't playing around.

He ordered his troops to BURN THEIR SHIPS.
No backup plan, no solution, no excuses, no scapegoats.
Failure was not an option.
Defeat the enemy, or literally die trying.

Earlier this year, my pregnant wife and I sold everything we owned.
We moved to Bali, Indonesia.
  • No funds.
  • No credit.
  • No backup plan.
  • No home to return to.
When we arrived, we only had a laptop, $100, and 2 days at a hotel.

Over the next 4 months we encountered... a lot.
  • Struck creative deals to attain free accommodation.
  • Discovered creative processes that allow me to semi-automate my freelance work.
  • Witnessed barefoot children playing with rocks, while hipster tourists drank lattes and watched.
  • Saved a dog from being eaten.
  • Met people whose creative ventures has them travelling the world for free.
  • Was robbed by a monkey
  • Raised my earning potential by $100/hr.
  • Made important (and sometimes frighting) discoveries about the nature of humanity.
  • Changed my political beliefs.
  • Sosososo much more.
Now we're heading back to the US to deliver the baby and plan out phase 2 of our Fastlane Journey.

AMA means "Ask me anything".

Specifics of cost of living?
Mindset?
Cultural differences?
Logistics?

What do you want to know?
 

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DennisDuty

DennisDuty

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What was about to eat the dog?
The question isn't WHAT was about to eat the dog.
The question is WHO was about to eat it.

The answer is exactly as you might fear.

While Bali is a PARADISE and I ABSOLUTELY recommend getting here if you can, there are a few peculiarities.

Backstory:
This is an island "lost to time." Living here is like living in the 1800s, with the exception of decent electricity, cellular technology, and internet.

Due to the poor political infrastructure, there isn't really a government sanctioned animal control... and locals don't have the money to pay private animal control companies.

As such: Locals are expected to take care of their own problems.

That's why Bali has a "street dog" problem. When somebody doesn't want an animal, they kick it to the curb with no retribution. They breed with other strays.

The dogs don't BELONG to anybody, but are known by the locals and sometimes looked after.

Some smart dogs sleep near restaurants and businesses to feed off scraps. The shop owners like this, because the dogs keep rats away.

Some locals, however, HATE the dogs.

The owner of a building I was staying at regularly paid a security guard to poison, murder, or butcher the street dogs. Security, in turn, finds a street vendor who needs some 'cheap meat'.

Some people find it awful and inhumane. Some people are happy they can feed their families. Some people, as of last year, sold dogs to tourists for a quick buck, telling them it's "Ayam" (chicken).

Takeaways:
  • Don't eat anything that is listed as "RW" or with "RW" next to it on a menu or sign.
  • Don't eat from DIY street setups.
  • If you try to contact a shelter about a dog, they will try to rope YOU, as the person who cared enough to contact them, to pay for its food, shelter, and medical care in perpetuity.
  • I've heard of disreputable, no-name places claiming to be a shelter, 'taking in' these animals, taking your money for its care, and they still 'disappear'.
  • Don't look into it. You'll become horribly, horribly depressed.
 
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PureA

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Where abouts were you located? Spent some in Bali myself, it was a great experience, may be returning in the future...
 

Arun Siva

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so you are saying your dollars despite 100$ went far enough for you to get your shit together and make more remotely
 
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DennisDuty

DennisDuty

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Where abouts were you located?
Started in Denpasar, then moved to three separate locations in Ubud, then to Munggu, now in Canggu.

However, as this became our day-to-day... the second half of our trip we stopped like tourists, and started living like locals.

Cheap eats, cheap lodging, head down, workworkwork, get shit done.
 
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DennisDuty

DennisDuty

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so you are saying your dollars despite 100$ went far enough for you to get your sh*t together and make more remotely
Yep!
~$100 was enough money for food and lodging for a week (after that first two days).

Hustled HARD to get a few US clients paying US dollars,
which (can) last very long in Rupiah.

Due to the exchange rate, this is the perfect plan for anybody who has the ability to make money remotely.

Rent in the US, where I lived was is $1000/mo for a studio apartment. Rent here is $280 for the same thing.

You can live here for a fraction of the price, which means you have to do less work to "get by" which means you have more time to work on your side-hustle.
 

Adrien Msx

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Hi !

"No backup plan" I like this!

How about the culture in Bali? Are the relations with locals good?
I heard a lot of bad things about the political situation of Bali, do you can live like in USA or there are some specific constraints?

I plan to go there to make some business in the future.
 

c4n

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  • No home to return to.
...

Now we're heading back home to deliver the baby and plan out phase 2 of our Fastlane Journey.
I'm confused :rofl:

On a more serious note - how did you handle the time zone difference when dealing with US customers? Any specific advice you can give?
 

Matthew Staton

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When Cortez conquered Mexico, he wasn't playing around.

He ordered his troops to BURN THEIR SHIPS.
No backup plan, no solution, no excuses, no scapegoats.
Failure was not an option.
Defeat the enemy, or literally die trying.

Earlier this year, my pregnant wife and I sold everything we owned.
We moved to Bali, Indonesia.
  • No funds.
  • No credit.
  • No backup plan.
  • No home to return to.
When we arrived, we only had a laptop, $100, and 2 days at a hotel.

Over the next 4 months we encountered... a lot.
  • Struck creative deals to attain free accommodation.
  • Discovered creative processes that allow me to semi-automate my freelance work.
  • Witnessed barefoot children playing with rocks, while hipster tourists drank lattes and watched.
  • Saved a dog from being eaten.
  • Met people whose creative ventures has them travelling the world for free.
  • Was robbed by a monkey
  • Raised my earning potential by $100/hr.
  • Made important (and sometimes frighting) discoveries about the nature of humanity.
  • Changed my political beliefs.
  • Sosososo much more.
Now we're heading back home to deliver the baby and plan out phase 2 of our Fastlane Journey.

AMA means "Ask me anything".

Specifics of cost of living?
Mindset?
Cultural differences?
Logistics?

What do you want to know?
Where did you live before?

Sold everything and only had $100? Was that because of airfare?

How is the food, healthcare, education, weather, etc.

Why Bali?
 
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DennisDuty

DennisDuty

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Hi !
How about the culture in Bali? Are the relations with locals good?
I heard a lot of bad things about the political situation of Bali, do you can live like in USA or there are some specific constraints?
I'd need more specific questions as there's entirely too much. It's a completely different country on the literal other side of the planet. Things are certainly different in a LOT of ways than back home.

Some things are comfortingly familiar. What sort of thing in particular were you hoping to hear about?

I'm confused :rofl:

On a more serious note - how did you handle the time zone difference when dealing with US customers? Any specific advice you can give?
Ha! Home in that context meaning the Americas. We'll still need to actually figure out where we're living when we get there.

The time zone is the thing I overlooked the most.

For most clients, they understand the situation. Usually it's a single sit-down phone call or periodic check-in. After that, we communicate by sending non-time-sensitive emails and the like.

Some clients can be harder to hook up with. I have one that I JUST KEEP MISSING.he's available I'm sleeping or about to go to a sleep. When I'm available he's nowhere to be seen.


Where did you live before?

Sold everything and only had $100? Was that because of airfare?

How is the food, healthcare, education, weather, etc.

Why Bali?
Yeah, we actually didn't have that much that was sell-able.

Some $ went to plane tickets. I purchased a new laptop capable of animating HD video. New luggage. A few random things.

  • Food is different.. but actually REALLY GOOD if you're eating at the resaurants targeted towards tourists. Like Disney food
  • Healthcare we (thankfully) haven't actually had to deal with aside from me visiting a clinic for a free consultation one time. We're getting an ultrasound this week before we leave
  • Education haven't had to deal with it in-person yet. The locals aren't very educated at all. It also seems there are schools here specifically for westerners if you chose that but I don't know about pricing.
  • Weather is tropical. It's split between the "Wet" season with torrential downpours nearly everyday... and the "Dry" season which is very nice, sunny, and beautiful.
  • Etc if I wanted to I can write novels and novels. I'm open to more specific questions though.
 

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Maxboost

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What do you do for money? What was the back up plan if that didn't work if you only had $100?
 

Vigilante

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When Cortez conquered Mexico, he wasn't playing around.

He ordered his troops to BURN THEIR SHIPS.
No backup plan, no solution, no excuses, no scapegoats.
Failure was not an option.
Defeat the enemy, or literally die trying.

Earlier this year, my pregnant wife and I sold everything we owned.
We moved to Bali, Indonesia.
  • No funds.
  • No credit.
  • No backup plan.
  • No home to return to.
When we arrived, we only had a laptop, $100, and 2 days at a hotel.

Over the next 4 months we encountered... a lot.
  • Struck creative deals to attain free accommodation.
  • Discovered creative processes that allow me to semi-automate my freelance work.
  • Witnessed barefoot children playing with rocks, while hipster tourists drank lattes and watched.
  • Saved a dog from being eaten.
  • Met people whose creative ventures has them travelling the world for free.
  • Was robbed by a monkey
  • Raised my earning potential by $100/hr.
  • Made important (and sometimes frighting) discoveries about the nature of humanity.
  • Changed my political beliefs.
  • Sosososo much more.
Now we're heading back to the US to deliver the baby and plan out phase 2 of our Fastlane Journey.

AMA means "Ask me anything".

Specifics of cost of living?
Mindset?
Cultural differences?
Logistics?

What do you want to know?
As a side bar (but since this is his thread) I recently had an opportunity to connect @DennisDuty to a high flying fast lane forum member for some video production work. A few years back, Dennis had made a video for me so when it was time to make a recommendation, he was the first name that came to mind. I recommended him, he got the contract, did the job, and I saw the final project and it was EXCELLENT. So, if you happen to stumble upon this thread in a search and are looking for someone to do video creation, video editing, video production, video creative, video marketing hit up @DennisDuty as I am glad I recommended him, and his new client will be doubling down and using him again.

Carry on.
 

UnrealCreative

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Couple of questions @DennisDuty

1: I see you've been on the forum since 2012, but don't know much about you.
This is my first time seeing you make such a dramatic leap and take action.

What I'd like to know is...what was the FTE? The straw that broke the camel's back? With that being said, I'd like to hear your advice to someone in a similar situation. Maybe a forum lurker who's been around for a while, watching from the sidelines, who haven't taken the leap yet?

2: Since the rising popularity of Bali over the past few years, has it begun to get crowded with Western Digital Nomad types running the place? I've heard conflicting stories about it, that it's lost some of its magic.

Thanks!
 

ProblemOd

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  • Do you feel like the 4 months in Bali were more productive than if you stayed in the US in the same scenario (sold off everything, lived in new town with low cost of living)? If so, why?

  • How big of a part did having a wife and child on the way play into your motiviation to not slack off? Since cost of living is so cheap, I'm assuming one project could cover a big portion of living costs. Sounds like someone could very easily just do work here and there, and relax 80% of the time.
 
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DennisDuty

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How were you robbed by a monkey?
Monkeys are little monsters.
I was on my toes while visiting Sacred Monkey Forrest, and they still managed to steal my wife's lipstick, crackers, and hand sanitizer.

After we left, I had my guard down.

We had left a pharmacy with some sunscreen, deet, water, and 200,000 rupiah in loose change ($14) in a plastic bag.

Monkey slid down a pole, grabbed the bag, took off.
Later at a restaurant I saw a monkey steal a kids sandwich.
The restaurant staff were armed with slingshots to keep others away.

What do you do for money? What was the back-up plan if that didn't work if you only had $100?
My clients need eyeballs and customers. I typically accomplish this through producing content. Graphics, video, ebooks, articles.

"No backup plan" was literal. Burning the ships doesn't work if you still have a backup ship.

  • Struck creative deals to attain free accommodation.
Specifics?
Usually it's:

"I notice that you don't have [photos|videos| a website|a commercial|online booking]. I just so happen to do this. Here are my prices. Maybe we can work something out"

I wish I had more time here, I keep seeing opportunities.

I met someone who spent $3kUSD on a rental. This got him a 5 bedroom 3 bathroom guesthouse for a year. He sublet the rooms out to tourists for ~$14/day or ~$250/month.

He lives for free... and gets free cash ON TOP OF THIS. In 4 months he made his investment back. The owner likes having someone to manage the property and has referred him to friends. He now does this with multiple properties.

Dennis had made a video for me
I only wish when we worked together I was as skilled as I am now. ;)

Thanks for the recommendation.
These current videos are a blast to make.

What I'd like to know is...what was the FTE? The straw that broke the camel's back? With that being said, I'd like to hear your advice to someone in a similar situation. Maybe a forum lurker who's been around for a while, watching from the sidelines, who haven't taken the leap yet?

2: Since the rising popularity of Bali over the past few years, has it begun to get crowded with Western Digital Nomad types running the place? I've heard conflicting stories about it, that it's lost some of its magic.

Thanks!
1: This is important so I'll come back to this tomorrow. Somebody @ me if it slips.

2: I never experienced the "Magic" so I'm not really sure. If you mean the "magic" of being the only "rich" person in town.. I guess it depends on what where you go and what you're expecting when you get there.

The tourist areas are touristy. Ubud during the dry season reminds me of New York City. Lots of people, lots happening, lots of beggars, lots of "Taxi!?", "Massage?!".

Right now, I'm living among locals. I'm the only white guy I see on most days.

  • Do you feel like the 4 months in Bali were more productive than if you stayed in the US in the same scenario (sold off everything, lived in new town with low cost of living)? If so, why?

  • How big of a part did having a wife and child on the way play into your motiviation to not slack off? Since cost of living is so cheap, I'm assuming one project could cover a big portion of living costs. Sounds like someone could very easily just do work here and there, and relax 80% of the time.
It's 50% about the low-cost of living. If there WAS an area in America with a similarly low cost of living (for the same quality of life) I'd jump on it.

The other 50% is invaluable.
I'm obsessed with marketing, sales, and communications.
All of these things are about UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN CONDITION.

Fear, pain, greed, hope, envy, loss, sorrow. Every new experience, every new person I meet, every new thing I do gives me an edge. I now can make mental connections never possible before.

I understand how to sell to westerns better because I have a better grasp on what MAKES a westerner. My perception of the 'default' has changed. I can internalize what behaviors are universal vs what behaviors are uniquely western.

To answer your other question: I do slack off a lot. The beauty of living cheap is that it's not the same sacrifice it is in America.

Back home I might work 40 hours a week "just to get by"... and then spend another 10 on my side hustle, and another 10 slacking off.

Here, if I wanted to, that same 60 hours can be split differently. I can work 10 hours a week "just to get by"... spend 25 hours "slacking off" and still have 25 hours on my side hustle.
 
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Tommo

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You can get the WSJ and English language books in Hardy's newsagents in Sanur and the Indonesian food everywhere is great. There is a very good International Hospital outside Legian which I have used, they deal with a lot of injured surfers there.
Enjoying your story. Almost got robbed by a monkey in Ubud too a few years ago, they are smooth criminals.
 

TFM-PVB

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Thanks for the AMA. My fiance and are planning something similar next year. Likely to Latin America.

1) Did you already have your US clients from your side hustle or did you purposely seek them once you knew you wanted to move?

2) Any plans for repatriating to the US in the future?

3) do you get paid as a contractor? Do you have a US business entity? What's the US tax situation?

4) Why Bali instead of other also-cheap countries with similar quality of life?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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DennisDuty

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What I'd like to know is...what was the FTE? The straw that broke the camel's back? With that being said, I'd like to hear your advice to someone in a similar situation. Maybe a forum lurker who's been around for a while, watching from the sidelines, who haven't taken the leap yet?
A rat got into our room here in Indonesia. I didn't want to get bitten and risk disease, so I spent TWO HOURS trying to corner it and get him out with a broom and bucket. Enough was enough. I wrapped a T-Shirt around my hand, grabbed him, and threw him outside.

When another got into the room it took 4 minutes to deal with. At a certain point you get tired of wasting your time waiting for the ideal situation to present itself. That's been my whole life.
  • I climbed to lead editor at an ad agency... they shut their doors.
  • My website made thousands a month PASSIVELY... an employee stole money and ghosted.
  • Signed biggest client of my life... lost them weeks later when I lost my vision for a time.
  • Planned the perfect wedding... shotgunned it in a hospital so her parent could attend before they died.
Even though I was living an unconventional life, the life was still SCRIPTED. I would take giant risks, and then WAIT for the praise and affirmation and rewards and security before taking further risks.

F*ck that. At a certain point you get sick of waiting. Why plan the unplannable? Why ask for congratulations? Why wait for perfect? NOTHING WILL EVER BE PERFECT.
 
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DennisDuty

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The Indonesian food everywhere is great.
"Everywhere" is a bit optimistic.

I'd say the Indonesian food is great at places that has english on the menu. There's no guarantee that the smaller places will be as good to you... unless of course you're a fan of Giardia.


1) Did you already have your US clients from your side hustle or did you purposely seek them once you knew you wanted to move?

2) Any plans for repatriating to the US in the future?

3) do you get paid as a contractor? Do you have a US business entity? What's the US tax situation?

4) Why Bali instead of other also-cheap countries with similar quality of life?
1) Neither. This is another case of "burning the ships doesn't work if you have a backup ship".

I didn't have clients when I landed. I literally only had my laptop and $100. I did what needed to be done to get the new ones.

2) We're heading back in the next few weeks to give birth. We'll probably stick around a bit.

3) Yes I get paid as a contractor. Sole-proprietor DBA right now. I'm still a US citizen and have to do all the same tax stuff as if I was doing this back home.

4) It was very very western-friendly. I've never been to Asia, and this seemed like the 'easiest' transition. I wouldn't have to learn a new language, etc.

Genuinely curious: what's your definition of success?
To be able to do anything that pops into my head at any time I want.
 

MoneyPhantom

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Great, inspiring story!

Let me ask, what are your plans for the future? If I understand correctly, you're now (about to head) back to the US. Why do/did you do that (move to Bali and now get back)? Just crashing your comfort zone? Or didn't it work out at Bali like you expected before?
 
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DennisDuty

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Why do/did you do that (move to Bali and now get back)? Just crashing your comfort zone? Or didn't it work out at Bali like you expected before?
We had initially planned on travelling southeast Asia for at LEAST 6 months. Maybe INDEFINITELY.

Then, we found out wifey was pregnant. We KNEW from the getgo that we wanted to deliver the baby in the US and be surrounded by family.

Rather than cancelling the plan entirely, we shortened the visit. We're due in December and entering the time-frame where it's "last call" for pregnant women to fly.

But also, I'm very relieved to be heading back to the US. I missed a lot of creature comforts and I a bit lonely in this country. I'm excited to see my family and friends again.

The next excursion will probably be a bit closer to home. I'd love to live out of an RV and travel America.
 

MoneyPhantom

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Sounds cool!

Would you do it again if you could back in time? Or would you rather have kept your home and belongings as you knew you would get back sooner or later?
 
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DennisDuty

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Would you do it again if you could back in time? Or would you rather have kept your home and belongings as you knew you would get back sooner or later?
Home and belongings are concepts we value because we fear entering the unknown.

I will never look back on a decision and say "I wish I had chosen to HOLD ONTO my mental crutches instead of facing growth."
 
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DennisDuty

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I'm back in the US! Finally!

The last few weeks were crazy.
Having overstayed my visa (for a criminally LONG time) I had a run-in with immigration.

Detained, interrogated, investigated, and deported.
Can't say I'm proud of the experience, but I can say that I'm happy to finally be surrounded by familiarity!
 

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