Bali Dispatch #3: Tap Dancing in Paradise

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So, remember how I said we were gonna get a house to settle into in Bali?

Yeah, well that didn’t happen. This adventure is teaching me so much about being fluid. Actually, it’s kinda banging me over the head with the concept. But, in the end, I think that’s a good thing…at least it will be, once I’m totally done morning the loss of my routine.

And, the need to know what comes next!

See, here’s what happened. Our entire trip was built around a critical assumption, that our daughter would be in what seemed like a very cool camp that blended Balinese culture, sustainability and all sorts of cool outdoor activities. After visiting the camp, we were all incredibly impressed…with their marketing.

Man, those brochures looked good.

But, the vibe we got from the actual place wasn’t so good. Not horrible, it’s just that our expectations had been raised so high, the reality of what appeared to be something closer to a “half-decent” experience just didn’t cut muster. We got the feeling our kid would be a bit of a pioneer as the camp figured out what it was going to be when it grew up. But, that’s not what we signed up for.

There’s a great lesson in here for marketers and entrepreneurs, by the way.

Great marketing can get people in the door. But, if you can’t deliver the goods once they’ve arrived, you’ll likely not only lose a potential customer, you may also lead them to feel conned…and tell everyone they know.

So, we had a family meeting and decided to pull the plug on camp.

Which left us with a challenge, actually a bunch of challenges. The upside of our decision was that we now had a ton more time to explore the island and be a whole family. The downside was my wife and I are a lot more into settling into a routine around local culture than sightseeing. And, the 6-hours a day of kid-free time to work, play, shop, read, yoga-cize and relax that my wife and I had planned the trip around had just evaporated.

We also learned that the window we’d chosen to travel is considered peak PEAK season here in Bali…who knew?

LOL. Leaving us with house choices that were gorgeous, but required a minimum of a month commitment. And, with our new mega-change in plans, we didn’t know how long we’d last in any given location (still don’t). So, that went out the window. Breath in, breath out. Still, we had to get out of our hotel, because we were on top of each other. So, my wife and daughter spent a few days visiting fancier hotels with “villas” to rent. Oh, I should mention something else about now.

In Bali, there’s no such thing as a fixed price. Everything is a negotiation.

It’s kind of like the rate sheet for advertisers. Anyone who pays it is a straight-up sucker. So, my wife found a super cool little villa at a beautiful resort property…and promptly negotiated the rate down to half the public price. We moved in 20 minutes later, and that’s where we’re hanging out as we figure out which way is up.

As I write this, everything is in flux. Where we’ll stay, how long we’ll stay, what we’re going to do on any given day, how much the entire adventure is going to cost, and how I’m going to handle working while everything else is whirling and spinning around me is all a work in progress.

So, let’s circle around to my location-independent workflow project.

Because, you guys need to get something out of this beyond reading a travelogue. In a word, everything’s out the window. I’m winging it. If you remember back to the original plan, I was going to film a ton of footage then send it to my VA to edit and post. Then record audio and send it to my VA to transcribe and post…


Even if I was capable of creating all that content on a level that didn’t suck right now, I have yet to find an internet connection, even a wired “broadband” one, that could handle uploading high bit-rate audio, let alone HD video. So, while I AM filming, it’s very likely you guys will have to wait until I’m home to see any of the footage.

So, I’m leaning a lot more on creating text-driven content, along with photo-albums for now. And, I’ve also just downloaded the ScribeFire plugin for both Firefox and google Chrome, which will allow me to write and set up posts offline, then just hit a button to publish them, once I’m somewhere with a decent signal.

Now, what about the client service side of my location independent workflow puzzle?

Some of it is working, some of it isn’t.

In my last post, I hinted at the fact that consulting is much harder to pull of as a location independent venture. Since then, I’ve managed to find times of day, decent enough connections and quiet enough areas to allow for decent skype calls. But, the conversations generally have to happen either first thing in the morning or late in the evening.

For calls that are more “scheduled updates and weekly sessions,” that’s doable. The real challenge comes when working on a project, say something in more of a start-up phase, where you’d really benefit from the ability to be able to jump on the phone, email or IM a few times a day to get quick answers, hash out ideas and share information WHILE EVERYONE IS AWAKE AND AVAILABLE.

Were I working on a 4-8 hour time difference, I could probably pull it off, but I’m 12 hours apart from most of my clients. And, that’s proving to be a challenge. One I’m still working on figuring out as I write this. And, something you guys should also consider when exploring location independent consulting. It may be doable for a few weeks, but as a lifestyle, I don’t see it being all that viable.

And, there’s one other thing. The heat.

From the reports I’m getting from NYC, Bali has actually been relatively cool. But, here’s the thing about Bali heat…it’s always wet…very wet…and it’s much harder to get away from. Most shops, restaurants, internet cafes and even many hotels and homes don’t have air-conditioning. Instead, they have fans, which makes it pretty okay. But, you pretty much walk around with what we’ve come to call the Bali sweat glaze all day long. For a lot of people, that’s okay. And, honestly, the sweat part doesn’t really bother me.

But, one of the things I should’ve realized is that both my daughter and I tend to shut down in heat. it’s just our constitution or, in y0ga-speak, our doshas. And, that effects our mood, our energy, our desire to do, well, ANYTHING, and, for me, my ability to create. And, oh yeah, did I mention I’m supposed to be writing my next book over here? Ack!

So, another lesson. Be sure to understand the nature of the climate you’re going to be operating in and consider whether it nurtures or negates your ability to do what you fantasize about doing.

Okay, so, let’s move on from location independent workflow to more juicy Bali stuff…

The Monkey Forest.

One of the first things we realized when the camp part of our plans was disappeared was that we were going to need to find a lot more cool things to do and places to go. And, while that’s a huge challenge to my ability to work, it’s actually a good things from a “seeing more of the country” and being with my family standpoint. So, we started simple.

Here in Ubud, there’s a place called the monkey forest. Guess who hangs out there? Yup, monkeys. There are no gates or cages to keep them in. They all cluster there because they know they’ll be fed a whole lotta bananas by silly Westerners like us. But, we weren’t ready for just how up close and personal the experience would get. Within seconds after walking into the forest with a black plastic bag filled with mini bananas (sold at the front), monkey began climbing up my wife’s body to get the bananas.

At first, she was freaked, we all were. But, then once we realized, they hand pretty human hands and they were just climbing her like a tree, not clawing, it got kind of fun. We bought a bunch more bananas and discovered that if you held them over your head, monkey would climb up to get them, then sit on your shoulder peeling and munching away (yes, pics are included in the gallery below).

Bali Dogs

One of the saddest things we’ve seen here is the huge number of street dogs, often sickly, ematiated and losing their hair. We stopped into one of the few shelters, where my daughter stayed to play with a bunch of rescue pups for about an hour. She wanted to take them all home.

The Balinese, according to the woman who runs the shelter, don’t really get the Western idea of dogs as pets. They are viewed more as just animals that happen to live along with families or in the wild. And, left largely to fend for and feed themselves. And, those are ones who are actually “owned.” The vastly larger population is wild and, sadly, there has been increasing government culling of the population out of fear of rabies and other illness.

Rice terraces.

Everywhere yo look, once you leave the main part of the towns, you find rice terraces. They often go on for hundreds of acres. At certain predetermined times, they are all flooded, starting with those at higher elevation, allowing the water to flow down into the lower ones. There, rice is germinated, then planeted in the paddies and harvested 2 to 3 months later.

Once the rice plants begin the grow in, the brown watery fields become lush green and the cascade of vivid green terraces is gorgeous (pics below)!

What looks fairly straightforward is actually a fairly complex, deliberate and complete ecosystem. Everything from the ducks, the cows, the rice and the even the variety of plants that line the paddies play a critical role in allowing the rice to reach maturity.

We are going to do a program that essentially allows up to spend a day in the life of a rice farmer over the next week.

Prices and tipping.

As I mentioned earlier, every price in Bali is a negotiation. And, nearly every restaurant or hospitality business folds in a modest (10%) service charge, making tipping largely unexpected. You can get a delicious multi-course meal for 3 people (without booze) for $15-$25 US. That same meal in NYC would cost about $75-$100. A 90-minute massage costs about $20 US. And, again, no tip is expected.

But, I’ve gotta be honest. Both my wife and I had trouble with the idea of not tipping above the 10% folded-in fee. Because, in NY, you tip 20%. That’s just what you do, because people don’t earn a whole lot on an hourly basis. They make most of their money on tips.

So, just because you don’t “have” to Bali, why would you change your tipping policy?

Isn’t that more about who you are inside and the respect you have for those who make your experiences more enjoyable than “what the local custom allows you to “get away with?” Especially when pretty much everyone serving you earns way less than, even adjusted for cost of living, than their NYC counterparts. And, for the most part, while I love a good snarky NY waiter, the folks who serve you in Bali are far more universally lovely and appreciative than pretty much anywhere I’ve been.

Curious what you guys think of that?

Wrapping up this week…

Well, there’s still lots more to share, including making silver jewelry, watching my 9 year old daughter work a blow-torch, yoga, meditating with ducks and frogs and more, but I’ll save that for next week.

But right now, we’ve just finished dinner and wandered over to relax barefoot on cushions on the front patio at Ja Juice Cafe. Brownies, cookies and lattes are being served while, off in the distance, a three-dude Balinese band is doing small-town justice to some Skynyrd.

And, as I glance up before hitting “publish,” I notice my girls now fully reclined, drifting into the night…

Until next week…

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38 responses

38 responses to “Bali Dispatch #3: Tap Dancing in Paradise”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by remarkablogger, Santi Chacon and others. Santi Chacon said: Bali Dispatch #3: Tap Dancing in Paradise: So, remember how I said we were gonna get a house to settle into in Ba… […]

  2. Man, it definitely sounds like quite an adventure you’re having! Kudos for being so flexible and working through the challenges as a family. I had a recent trip where several friends’ flight cancellations threw a curve ball into a well-planned weekend. It was a good reminder that as much as we think we have everything all set up the way we think it will play out, there are other forces at work in the world, and we sometimes have to roll with punches so to speak. It sounds like you’re doing pretty well with that aspect.

    Thanks for sharing the insights on location-independent consulting – I really appreciate hearing the stories from the ‘front line.’ I’ve done a bit of this myself, so I can relate to some of the challenges you’re facing. I had a good laugh at your last post on the weight of your backpack – at least your sense of humor is well intact. πŸ™‚

    Enjoy Bali – especially the added time with your daughter!

  3. Tisha Morris says:

    Here’s my advice:
    Forget working (except for some posts and consulting clients) and just enjoy your time there. If you need to cut your trip short because of the work aspect, then so be it. You’ll hit the ground running on your new book when you get back to the air-conditioned NYC. Until then, just enjoy it – obviously in a different way than you planned.

    I have observed in my own life and others recently that plans are going awry or not ‘as planned’ unlike ever before. It is the Universe’s way to shake us up and break us out of our old patterns and way of thinking.

    Thanks for your updates!

  4. Jonathan–

    I sure enjoy hearing about your Bali adventures. And I particularly appreciated your frank description of the reality of remote working vs. the fantasy of how it would go. Something as simple as high heat and humidity can zap one’s best intentions along with one’s energy, and combined with technical difficulties and time zone issues, I can imagine it’s tough to pull off. I’ll remember that as I aim for creating location-independent work!

  5. Dena says:

    Hey Jonathan!

    I’ve really been enjoying your Balinese journey thus far. Thank you for being so “real” in your posts & giving us the high & the lower points of your experiences. It’s refreshing.

    Can’t wait to read more about how you work your way through the challenges. The photographs are just gorgeous!


  6. Forgot to ask: the picture of your daughter on a bridge–where is that exactly? Thanks!

  7. Krisenkindt says:

    Well, if you ask me, thats exactly the way a trip like this should be, cause you learn so much more about the world, yourself and everything else. πŸ™‚ Sounds really awesome.

    As for the tipping question:
    Here in Brazil the also have a 10% tip which usually is in the bill already, and you are not expected to tip more (if its not calculated in the prices nor at the end of the bill, they add it for you as you pay. 10%, not more, not less). And cab drivers, service people, etc. don#t receive tip, they just don’t.
    In the beginning I also thought that was weird, cause from Europe I am used to tip. But here, they wouldnt accept even to round it up. And I quickly realized, that they don’t want more tip from a foreigner who thinks he is doing the right thing, the thing he is used to, than from anyone else. It might make people on the other tables, or even friends at your own table look cheap in front of the “expat”. So I got used to paying what they tell me to pay, though I always make sure that I look for the sign if they really calculated the 10% into the prices already so that I won’t forget in case they once don’t.
    I think, maybe if I was a Brazilian having the habit of rounding up here and there they would still mind, but maybe not as much. But as a European in a city where there is hardly any foreigner (in one year, I have met 2 other people from outside Brazil), its a matter of showing that you are integrated well, just like you speak their language, eat their food, give kisses on the cheek and never tell the blunt truth if a third person is listening πŸ˜‰

    Have fun in Bali and enjoy the time with you family, even if its in a rather lethargic state πŸ˜‰

  8. Sri says:

    Hope you’re enjoying your stay in Bali. As far as price negotiations go – try to learn and use the word “berapa?”
    (meaning “how much”)…so that they will think that you’ve lived there for sometime and know your way around.

    Of course the reply would be in Bahasa Indonesia too – so you have to learn basic counting (‘sepuluh ribu’ means ‘ten thousand” rupiahs).

    Good luck!

  9. Salma says:

    Apart from the Monkey Forest, Bali sounds very much like Karachi (where I live). From the weather to the plans going awry, I guess we’ve learned to wing it and adapt as circumstances around us change. Dealing with constant flux isnt easy or great for productivity. Finding work-arounds and then knowing that even those will fail at some point can be truly exhausting! For example, we experience daily power cuts here – usually its scheduled but there are unscheduled ones too. Imagine you’re in the middle of a Skype call with a client and the govt decides to cut power for an hour or two. It certainly makes running an online biz challenging!

    The best advice I can give Jonathan is to not fight it. Give in to the flow, do what you can and dont sweat the rest. It will get done ultimately (or maybe not at all), just maybe not how and when you were expecting it to be. And thats okay, because control is an illusion anyways πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures! Sending good vibes your way πŸ™‚

  10. Audrey says:

    I enjoyed this candid look at what’s going on – the good, the bad and the struggle to get a decent internet connection. Congrats on staying flexible and negotiating a great villa for your family to live in for the remainder of your stay. Having been on the road the last few years mostly in developing countries, it can be hard to explain to clients and friends/family back home (i.e., the States) how uploading photos or video can sometime require an all-night vigil.

    My husband and I are considering heading to Bali late this year for a few months to be still for a bit and hopefully get some work done. I look forward to following the rest of your Bali adventures.

  11. Aaron Spence says:

    Great Story Jonathan,

    I appreciate you laying out the difficulties so bluntly. I must say, when previously reading about your plans to produce vast amounts of audio/visual content daily… I had a chuckle to myself. It’s very hard to do on your own… but with the family, on a quasi holiday, it’s basically impossible.

    Regarding tipping… DON’T DO IT.

    If the local custom isn’t to tip, then don’t do it. The same as when someone from Australia (where we don’t tip) comes to the USA, we tip, as that’s the local custom.

    Without wanting to offend, tipping is a bad practice. In the USA it appears to allow businesses to ripoff their staff by not paying a proper wage.

    Here in Oz we pay people properly, no matter what their job… it’s illegal not to. A business can’t pay peanuts and expect people to beg (for tips) in order to get by.

    Having said that, if I get extraordinary service in Oz, I’ll leave a tip. But that’s the exception to the rule. OTOH once in the USA I was eating with friends and a salad had a cockroach in it. We pointed this out to the waitress… she didn’t care. No apology & we had to ask for another salad, as she wasn’t offering. I said to my US friends, do not leave a tip, it’s just encouraging this shocking lack of service… but tipping was so ingrained they couldn’t not leave a tip.

    In summary… IMO mandatory tipping is not a good thing overall, therefore don’t bring the custom to countries where it isn’t required πŸ™‚

    • Krisenkindt says:

      I don’t 100% agree, but your main points are true. You have to stick to local habits, and its not okay for businesses to rely on tips to “really” pay their employees.
      Not 100% though, because tips aren’t necessarily bad in my opinion.
      Here in Brazil you don’t tip more or less than the 10% that are included in the bill, and thats a little weird or not at all for like cab drivers and other services. So really, you aren’t tipping at all and thats fine.
      But in Germany and Spain where I lived before you do leave a tip. You round up small things like a beer or a coffee on a terrace, and when you are eating out fancy dinner with your whole family and its a big bill you tip your more or less 10% when the service was good (again, rounding them to a nice number up or down). And I think thats fine, cause you don’t ever feel obligated to do so. No one in Europe would tip after the cockroach incident, for example πŸ˜‰
      Its all a matter of a little extra for someone who really cared outstanding for me at a restaurant. Not to get by (in Europe you get by), but as a sign of saying sth like Thanks, that was awesome. Treat yourself to some of the amazing wine we had yourself tonight, you deserve it.
      So I think tipping is fine if its your choice and if its okay where you are.

      • The “if it’s okay where you are” part is critical.

        Walk into an Irish pub, and include a tip when you pay for your drink and see the delight on the publican’s face. (Not.)

        In many places tipping implies servitude. Sometimes it’s not even the place, but the circumstances.

        I live in California, and provide services. I charge what I’m worth. Give me a ‘tip’ and you’ve just changed us from partners to master and servant.

        Don’t perpetuate the ugly American persona by insisting on doing things your way.

        Here at home, I tip generously, because it’s part of how the system is set up. In Ireland, I’d never insult the fine people I conduct business with by treating them like servants.

  12. Russ says:

    Great article. I agree with Aaron above regarding the tipping. Even though as Americans we have the urge to tip abroad, you really should adhere to the local customs. (Based on my experience and all I’ve read from others traveling.) Once you start tipping, it skews the local expectations and creates (and reinforces) the association with Westerners and money. Just because we can afford more in a cheaper location doesn’t really mean we should spend it. If a local wage is wage is $5 per day, leaving a large tip, while a nice windfall for a local worker, really can become a handout. You can see how it could create quite a division in the local labor force when an employee serving Westerners can earn the local daily or weekly wage in a few short hours. It’s a tricky thing to manage, but my feeling is that you should do as local custom dictates.

  13. Sandi says:

    …just because you don’t β€œhave” to why should you change your tipping policy.

    What if we applied this to everything in life, not just tipping? If something feels right for me it makes sense to keep doing it regardless of whether I have to or not. Great shift in perspective.

  14. hehehehe I *told* you it’d be tough to find broadband πŸ˜›

  15. Joel says:

    Glad you’re having such a great time. Keep being flexible…it pays off. Some of the best adventures are the unexpected ones!

  16. Dude, I loved reading this. Seems to me like your dancing is turning out to be a wonderful experience, afterall. I smiled at your internet comment… took me back to last year when I was in the remote Solomon Islands (where cloudy days played havoc with the already temperamental satellite internet). My advice, chill, and if you get to Semanyak let me know. I have good connections there.

    Hope to see you in Aus πŸ˜‰

  17. Jon Strocel says:

    It will be interesting when the trip is all over to see any effect it has on your business when you get back. Perhaps not being available for long stretches helps to focus attention when you do have that Internet connection? I know I find when I know I only have an hour of Internet, I can be much more productive than if it’s always there. Let us know how it goes.

  18. Great stories. I am with you on the heat. I had a friend who moved to Bali and caught off his mane of lovely hair because of the heat thing. That was enough to make me think about where I want to travel, especially if there is little or not air conditioning to recover from the heat.

    But saying all that I think this is an adventure your family will remember for a lifetime. My fondest memories are the ones where I traveled with my mother and sister on our summer vacations.

  19. John Sherry says:

    Jonathan the best laid plans of mice and men huh? I agree that being fluid is wise because life is one big unexpected event after another. The one thing I took from the post is that what’s meant to be will be and if not, despite all efforts, it will never come to fruition. The skill is the knowledge and timing of when to give up a bad gig or realise that today will never be the day. You’ve just added a personal notch on that.

  20. Vicky White says:

    Thanks for your great post on location independant lifestyle – and being in Bali. Sounds like Bali has changed a lot since I was there, but it’s still a special place.

    I’m a Kiwi living in Canada and I love that we don’t tip in NZ – as an ‘outsider’ in the land of tipping, I really don’t get the tipping system in Nth America – it’s just another tax. Get bad service and you still tip! That makes no sense to me. Why not just add it in as a tax and be done with the calculating.

    I notice in NZ during the Americas Cup challenge there, Americans loved to tip and this started to become an expectation. In NZ – like Aussie, we do pay a living wage and I’d rather Americans didn’t try to change our system! Especially as I don’t see it working that well. Of course if you’re going to pay a very low wage to workers they will need that extra ‘tax’ to be able to survive.

    My opinion is that by tipping in third world countries where it is not the custom, you are setting up expectations and setting Americans up to be seen in a certain way – which doesn’t do much for the way Americans as a whole are seen in smaller countries. (including NZ).

    Looking forward to more posts!

  21. Your pictures are great Jonathan. For organized and well-structured North Americans, traveling in developing countries can be intense. But as Joel said “the best adventures are the unexpected ones.” I lived in China for a while and got married in Peru. Most of the plans I had went down the drain. But I spent a heck of a time. Enjoy!

  22. I’m so glad to hear things are going well, despite the unexpected change in plans. I suspect you’ll find that all the changes will lead you to the truly wonderful experiences you and your family will remember.
    I’ll echo others advice regarding tipping. Follow the local customs – otherwise you risk becoming a target for those looking for a handout or risk insulting the service provider.

    I hope you can continue to embrace the experience and just be in the moment as you spend time there. Worrying about all the things you “planned” to get done will take away from the wonderful things you can do instead!

  23. Sue says:

    It sounds like you’re having a great adventure–even if it isn’t unfolding quite as you’d planned it. The high humidity can really take it out of you if you’re not used to it so, as obvious as it sounds, make sure you stay hydrated with enough fluids that will help to replace the lost electrolytes. I don’t know what the Balinese equivalent is but in India they make lemonade with a pinch of salt in it. It takes a little getting used to the flavour but it seems to rehydrate and refresh better than plain water.

    It can be a shock to see how dogs and cats are treated (or not)in developing countries. I saw the same thing in India and it can be emotionally difficult to process when you’re not used to seeing packs and colonies of feral dogs and cats, respectively, or “pets” that are minimally cared for.

    Enjoy the rest of your adventure and thanks for posting the photos.

  24. Wow, Bali sounds stressful :-). Sounds like you are making the best of it and making memories with your family which is why we all do this crazy work – right? Your daughter will remember this time forever. Work waits, kids don’t. Enjoy!

  25. I’m laughing to myself here, because so much of what you’ve just said is common knowledge over here (Australia). It’s a cultural difference. Bali is a huge tourist place for Aussies, it’s close, it’s cheap, and their culture seems to have evolved (if that’s the word) around ours.

    We don’t tip. Very rarely. Aussies just aren’t used to tipping. You should hear the stories that come back from the US “It’s such a rort, you pay for the meal and then they add 12% for a tip as well! And you HAVE to pay it!” LOL. Funny to see it from the other side.

    The time zone factor – we deal with that every day. For us, working around US time zones is just a fact of online business. Try setting up an account at and set your computer to local time. Timedriver allows you to set available appointment times and your clients see them in their local time. It doesn’t solve the issue of actually being awake at the same time as the US, but it does make booking times a lot easier!

    Who knew it would be peak season in Bali? Should I point out that it’s winter over this side of the world, so those of us in cold areas head to tropical places to escape for a few weeks? LOL. It’s also school holidays here in Australia, so you’ve got a LOT of tourists there. The good news – all schools are back next week and you’ll probably notice a drop in tourist numbers then.

    Sounds like you’re having a good time, albeit not what you planned.

  26. Josh Forde says:

    I’m relieved to find that it’s not only me who struggles with work in different cultures, not to say I can’t focus… but priorities and experience and mental state do vary and being constantly challenged culturally about what you believe can mean you are less emphatic about what you ‘know’ in a work situation as many of your basic assumptions don’t fly in your new daily experience.

    I really want to make a suggestion, Jonathan. Why don’t you purchase USB sticks or external HDDs and FedEx them to your VA? There is a certain risk of loss but the units themselves don’t cost much intrinsically and as long as the video is backed up, you’re fine (in fact safer as you insulate against the risk of your laptop being stolen.

    Enjoy the Bali heat!


  27. Tim Chambers says:

    I understand the “wet” lifestyle: my son and I just returned from a missions trip to Belize, just south of Mexico. First thing I had to get used to was always being wet and sweaty. The good thing was that as we inhaled water nonstop to stay hydrated, our systems got pretty well cleaned out of our American diet. It was then that I noticed that as much as everyone sweat, people (at least those that showered) didn’t smell bad! Back in Virginia, if you sweat for an hour- you stink! So, perhaps you’ll all enjoy what the Belizeans call “clean sweat”!

  28. Paul says:

    Wow – just enjoy the fact that you made a good call. Late/early/on time who knew – still good call.

  29. Leah says:

    What an adventure you are on!
    I am so appreciative of the fact that you are sharing the ups and down, and the places that you are having to re-think your plan. It is such a gift for us watching to see you being fluid, and discovering all the unexpected obstacles that you are gracefully navigating.

    Thanks for sharing all this so authentically!
    Rock On!

  30. Michael says:


    thanks for modelling the ebb and the flow for us – you are grace (albeit sweaty grace) under pressure.

  31. Lisa says:

    You wrote this because you wanted advice, right? πŸ™‚

    Here’s mine-find a local nanny. You get the culture you want and the free time you need.

    Enjoyed the blog, as always.

  32. Giovanna says:

    I think that if you wanna tip higher tips, just do it! I don’t think you are very good in following the establishment anyway… hehehe

  33. Oh I so hear you Jonathan. The heat wave here in Eastern Europe has really tested my strength to want to work on things I’m passionate about when I’m drenched in sweat.

    I too am glad to hear you’re more than human and will not be posting up videos until you’re back as that was one of my main aims and so far it’s been harder than I thought.

    The flip side of travelling and working is that you get to be very creative and learn to adapt quickly to whatever your environment lends you.

    I also find I love not being so tied to the social media tools I’d normally being over frequenting, you get to be quite smart about your time online because there’s less of it.

  34. […] Bali Dispatch #3: Tap Dancing in Paradise: Jonathan Fields is spending a part of his summer in Bali. His goal is to explore/vacation with his […]

  35. Dena says:

    Amazing post! Loved it so much that I shared it with my readers here:

    Have a fabulous weekend! xo

  36. Sean says:

    Really interesting reading this account of Bali and Ubud considering I was just there two weeks ago. Had the exact same experience in the monkey forest. Was pretty hilarious to watch my girlfriend chuck half of her bananas onto the ground as three monkeys made their way up her leg.

    It took me half the trip to really figure out how to go about the whole tipping thing. Since I’ve been in Thailand for the last 6 months, the idea of not tipping wasn’t so foreign, but it was difficult being in a new place where I didn’t know the etiquette. The last thing I’d want to do is offend someone by tipping too little or not at all.

    Good luck finding a more permanent spot!

    Here are just a couple of the photos I took while on the island: