The Life Of A Digital Nomad In Bali

This Week:

  • How I flew from Bangkok to Bali for $45.70 with rewards miles.
  • What it’s like to be a digital nomad in one of the best coworking hostels in Bali.
  • You probably won’t believe the food I’ve been eating this past week and how much it costs.

October 2023

Su M T W Th F S

Where In The World Was I?

  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • ✈️ Bangkok (BKK) to Denpasar (DPS), Bali, Indonesia
  • Canggu, Bali

Live Travel Map 🌎

The Final Days In Bangkok

The hostel cafe’s cold brew was actually remarkably good.

Sunday evening, I walked over to the nearest park to get a little workout in.

Turns out they have a full blown calisthenics park with a whole free weight rack! Like whaaaaaaat

That building looks like the Eye of Sauron 😄 😳

Food That Gets Delivered To Your Doorstep For $0.50

  • Hako Japanese Restaurant – the one literally next door, sushi (591 THB, $16.64) and ramen+smoothie (370 THB, $10.42)
  • Acai Story – my fruit for the week (487 THB, $13.71)
  • Bowlito – burrito (309 THB, $8.70)
  • PastaAma – pasta and salad, confusingly part of the same restaurant as Hako, (443 THB, $12.47)
  • Prices included delivery AND tip
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✈️ to Bali, Indonesia

A Flight To Bali For $45.70?!

I found flights from Bangkok (BKK) to Denpasar (DPS) using, which I highly recommend if you have/use travel rewards miles.

I booked this flight using Avianca LifeMiles for 12,000 LifeMiles, which I transferred 1:1 from my Capital One Rewards Miles, then paid an extra $45.70 for the taxes/fees.

This same flight costs ~$225 via Thai Airways! I’ll take it.

Travel hacking for the win 💪

I Definitely Don’t Belong Here

Turns out BKK has airport lounges, and ones right outside my flight’s gate!

I looked on my phone and saw two listed:

  • “Miracle First Class Lounge”
  • “The Coral Finest Business Class Lounge”

I look up, standing there outside my gate with my 2 backpacks, one on my back, the other in front, holding my economy-class ticket I bought for $45.70 as a backpacker.

Neither of those sounded like they’d even REMOTELY let me in, despite having a Priority Pass lounge membership (through my credit cards), but I went for it anyway.

I walked to the Miracle First Class Lounge, showed my Priority Pass and boarding pass, she let me in and I found a seat.

I looked around at everyone else sitting there thinking,

“These people probably all have first class tickets…”

“Yeah I definitely don’t belong here 😂😂”

I ate some food, then my flight started to board so I headed out. I couldn’t help but laugh at the juxtaposition of a backpacker at a “first class” lounge.

Another Free Meal?!

I (again) got a free meal on my Thai Airlines flight!

After handing me a tray with the meal on it, the flight attendant goes, “would you like some red wine with your meal? It goes well with the curry.”

I’m like, “I mean….. sure!” 😂😂😂

That was one of the LAST things I was expecting to hear on a flight.

Nah This Is The Wrong Island

Despite flying literally over the island of Bali, I couldn’t see land. It was quite weird.

It’s my first time in Southeast Asia and I never realized how bad the air quality is here. It may have been just a particularly bad afternoon, but who knows.

And I thought the air pollution got bad in the Salt Lake Valley?! HAH.

This is the best image I could find from my photos, February 26th, 2023:

I was thinking “nah wait this is not the Bali I’ve seen on Instagram, this must be the wrong airport” 😂

I guess such is life out here.

A note for the moms out there: In the past 2.5 weeks (Bangkok and Bali), I haven’t noticed any issues breathing, even when working out, running, and pushing myself. It is mildly concerning though.

So. Many. Motorbikes.

Getting through immigration and customs was a breeze. Line took maybe 5 minutes max, no questions asked from the immigration officer (gave him my e-Visa printed out, passport, and boarding pass), and just had to scan my e-Customs QR code I filled out before arriving. Super easy!

On the other hand, getting from the airport to my hostel was LESS easy 😅

I didn’t realize how bad traffic was here for cars that is. There are SO many motorbikes. I now understand why people drive them.

Also they don’t have highways here, it’s all either “main” roads or back roads… 😅

It took us I think ~1 hr and 20 minutes to get from the airport to Canggu at ~4-5pm.

Welcome To Tribal Bali – A Coworking Hostel For Digital Nomads

I ended up deciding to literally just go straight to this hostel rather than stay in a hostel closer to Denpasar for a day or two first.

A couple weeks ago, 3 Months Of Backpacking: The Part Nobody Talks About#A Critical Reflection, I wrote about how I had heard about this hostel a couple different times.

It was the combination of: believing that I would finally be able to connect with the people there, and a dream of a sustainable life of working and routine within reach that got me very excited.

So, why delay any longer.

As I wrote about at the end of The Week I Watched A Man Get Knocked Out In Thailand, it’s time I started listening to myself.

But Wait, Something Feels… Off

When I arrived, something felt… off.

I felt uncomfortable.

But why?

This is it! I’ve been looking forward to this moment, this hostel, for weeks, for months, maybe years! I’m finally here!

These are my people!


I looked around to see a lot of people sitting on their laptops, which was cool.

But because the weather is so nice, there were a lot of guys with their shirts off and almost all of them were absolutely shredded. I’m talking top-tier guys.

And there were a lot of beautiful women here, top-tier women. And some of these guys were talking to these women like it’s nothing – confidence I haven’t seen this close in a while.

By the pool table, two guys were playing a game. I overheard a part of the conversation, “… I do drop shipping…”

My eyes almost rolled, 😒. “Ohhh boy” I thought.

I don’t think these are my people…

Dare I say, it feels like I’ve found those “get rich quick” internet gurus you see running ads for their online courses.

I reacted, “those aren’t real businesses…”

But these feelings started to get so strong that I couldn’t help but notice them.

Why do I feel this way?

Why do I feel so uncomfortable right now?

Why do I feel so… out of place?

Then it came to me.


Maybe it’s because I feel insecure.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the body that these guys have.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the confidence that these guys have.

Maybe it’s because these successful people – people who are making money from their businesses, people that have achieved top-tier bodies, who are good looking and attractive – make me feel self-conscious.

Seeing people better than me highlights my own flaws.

Well, I don’t have a money-making business yet. MY body doesn’t look that good. I couldn’t talk to that gorgeous girl like that guy is.

I feel so uncomfortable because I feel insecure and self-conscious about my own flaws.

And that realization… that realization was liberating.

I grabbed my journal and held an “emergency” journaling session to write this all out (I’ve typically only journaled in the mornings with coffee).

You can read that raw journal entry here:

The emergency journal session…
October 31st 2023 | Emergency Journal Session

Emergency journal sesh. It's 6:39pm. I just arrived to the Tribal Hostel in Bali.

Honestly there's so much on my mind idk if I can get to it all....

• This is... it. There's nothing else, I had nothing higher on my list/mind than Bali, and specifically working in Bali, and MORE specifically this exact hostel.

I'm here, and I don't want to be anywhere else, that's kind of a weird feeling.

For that, I'm grateful.

• Or do I not want to be anywhere else? I dunno.

First impressions of this place are interesting.

Tons of people on their laptops, still. That's pretty cool.

But I think it was/is some of the just jacked shirtless guys that felt... off.

Part of me thinks, eh, these are not my people, "meatheads", as we call them.

But then I started to think, I started to notice.

There are a lot of beautiful women here. There are a lot of good-looking, like, top-tier looking guys here. 

Why do I feel so uncomfortable?

Why do I feel out of place?

Why do I feel like I'm now distancing myself from these people?


Maybe it's because I feel insecure, I don't have self-confidence...

Maybe it's because successful people - people from businesses, good looking, attractive people make me self-conscious about myself.

They highlight my own flaws - well, *I* don't have a business yet, *my* body doesn't look that good, *I* couldn't talk to that gorgeous girl like that guy is.

That's literally how I feel. Insecure and self-conscious because I don't look that good, because I don't have the confidence to talk to that girl.

I overheard some guy say he does drop shipping. My first reaction was almost this like "yuck" distancing turn-off feeling.

• But remember, first impression are just that, first impressions. Not everyone is like that.

Regardless of those uncomfortable feelings, I do like how everyone (lots of people) seem to be working (i.e. they're on their laptops). That is inspiring and positively motivating for me.

The thought of sitting watching YouTube alone feels very strange here, very much like I'd be falling behind.

• Ya know, I just took a pause to look up and around.

I already feel better. Better like, "at peace," "acceptance."

They (these attractive women) are just normal people.

Maybe in just accepting, accepting and not pressuring myself, not making myself feel bad if and when I don't talk to someone, strike up an exchange, or join that group chatting...

Maybe in that acceptance leads the answer. (Or at least, peace :) )

Just writing this out, putting these feelings into words, and putting those words into the real world and outside of my fuzzy and emotional mind felt great.

I immediately felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

It was like my mind had finished “processing” these feelings and there was nothing else to process, so it put them back into the filing cabinet and out of my conscience.

My Daily Routine

Similar to last week, I ended up doing pretty much the exact same thing every day I’ve been here.

I’ll get into how I feel about that later in the post, but for now, this is what my days looked like.

  • 6:45am – wake up, brush teeth
  • ~7am – 15-30 minute morning wake up walk
    • I went on a run the first morning, but did walks the rest
    • I’d walk from the hostel down to the beach, stop for a couple minutes to take it in, then walk back
  • ~7:30am – 10-15 minute meditation
    • I’ve been surprised how chattery my mind is by now!
  • ~8am – order a coffee and hit the laptop
    • The hostel cafe opens at 8am
    • 5-10min – “gardening” my Obsidian journal
    • 5min – gratitude journal
    • 5min – plan out my work session
    • Work, ~3.5 hrs
  • 12/12:30pm ish – stop working, eat lunch (food pics later 😍)
    • I typically watch ~30-45min of YouTube while eating
  • ~1:30pm-4pm – down time
    • One day I got some errands done – took a motorbike taxi to send off some letters back to the U.S.! That was kind of wild lol.
    • One day I did some budgeting/financial planning
    • Most days I spent 15-30min on Duolingo learning Indonesian
    • Most days I spent a good chunk of time (~1hr) reading
  • ~4pm – exercise
    • A couple days were runs
    • One day was a “podcast walk” down to and along the beach
    • One day was a run to a gym, a gym workout, then a run back
    • I’d come back, stretch, then naturally I’d jump in the pool in the backyard (wow that’s nice)
  • 5-6pm – dinner (food pics later 😍)
    • Again maybe 45min of YouTube
  • 7-9pm – post dinner down time
    • Most days I spent another good chunk reading
    • One day I did some budgeting/finance update, another some admin-y “shallow work” on my laptop
  • ~9pm – get ready for bed
  • 9:30pm-10:30pm – sleep
    • Still working on my bedtime consistency

Walks down along the beach:

And through the neighborhood:

Runs through the back streets:

First gym workout in a longggg while (featuring my sunburn from working on my laptop shirtless in the mornings. IN THE SHADE, mind you 🤦‍♂️):

Evening reading view:


This has been the #workstation this week.

Frankly, I still can’t really believe this is actually real life.

To be able to work on my laptop, outside, with a charger, with solid wifi, with no shirt on, sun shining, ~32ºC (~90ºF) but with an INCREDIBLE cool breeze in the shade, looking out into greenery. Yeah I’m really not sure it gets much better than this.

Product-Market Fit Done Well

The owner of this hostel (who I’ve seen working here as well!) has absolutely NAILED the product-market fit of this hostel. He nailed the customer. I know because I am literally his target customer 😄

Tables, outlets, wifi everywhere.

The hostel has a cafe that serves coffee, baked goods, a bar, as well as a full kitchen that serves incredible food.

And the food (to me) is VERY affordable.

This is actually what I’ve been eating this week. I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten this well in my entire life.

Dinner: Falafel burger with fries and fried cauliflower, $8.49

Lunch: smoky tempeh bowl AND Thai summer salad fruit bowl, $12.59

You get the idea with the prices… I spend $10-$15 per meal and I usually order two dishes and a smoothie/drink.

Some examples of nailing product market fit from the menu:

  • You can add an extra scoop of vegan protein powder to the smoothies
  • Bread is extra on some of the dishes in case you want to keep things low-carb
  • Pretty much every dish has vegetarian and vegan options first (and listed first). The meat options are all second/last.

Maybe it’s not a surprise to you that I literally haven’t eaten anywhere else yet 😂

The Most Intentional I’ve Ever Lived

You thought last week was living intentionally? Oh buddy…

This week has been the most intentional I’ve ever been, specifically about my non-working time.

There really is something about being around other people that are also working and around other people that are “better” (subjectively) than you.

Watching YouTube feels weird here. Reading feels normal. And THAT is a feeling I’ve never experienced before.

It’s felt SO good to get back into a routine.

But not just a routine, a fantastic one.

A routine where I’m prioritizing my mental and physical health. One where I’m going on morning walks, getting sunlight in the morning, meditating, eating clean, exercising daily, and spending so much more time reading.

Depending on how long you’ve been following for, you’ll understand just how meaningful that is.

I just imagine the reactions, “Oh you didn’t do anything? You didn’t go anywhere? You didn’t see anything?”

Patience young one.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past couple years is that for me, I’ve felt the most meaning and fulfillment in my life from progress towards a valued goal, towards the mission.

There is no better feeling than a feeling of progress.

My life just feels aligned.

And for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

I’m grateful to be here. I’m grateful to be in Bali. And I’m grateful that I even get this opportunity.

Chats While… Flossing

Somehow this happened twice this week 😂

First off, one morning I was packing up my laptop to get some lunch when I saw what looked like Lightroom (photo editing software) open on the guy’s laptop to my right.

For me, that’s the absolute easiest opener ever.

“Is… is that Lightroom?”

He took out his headphone and looked over, “oh, yeah!”

“Are you a photographer?”

“Yeah” he said.

“Oh damn, that’s awesome! I take photos as well, that’s why I asked.”

We ended up chatting for a bit then, actually longer than I was expecting!

But later that night I was flossing in the shared bathroom and he came in. He struck up a little exchange this time, asking if I had any places I was looking at going to in Bali.

And again, we ended up chatting for quite a long time… while I was standing there finishing flossing 😄

We shared stories, he was curious about my van life experience, and I asked more about his photography business.

Turns out he’s looking to work with big brands on photoshoots, but marketing and getting in touch with them has been the hardest part.

I noticed I started to put my problem solving hat on, asking questions and trying to figure out ways he could navigate his way towards eventually working with brands.

That process is what most interests me about the whole “coaching” path. Doing that is what I currently dream about.

After our conversation I was frantically trying to write down all of the things we/he talked about and any ideas that came to mind on how I could help him.

Another night I was, again, flossing in the shared bathroom when this other guy came in and sparked a little exchange asking if I knew of any good places to eat. I laughed and told him I’ve only eaten at the hostel.

But, again, we ended up chatting for a while about our travels!

Since that initial first impression of insecurity, I’ve been a lot more open. It’s been cool to glance over at what people are working on and overhear conversations.

  • I’ve seen a lot of laptops with video editing software open, some landscape (think “YouTube”), some vertical (think, “shorts” of any kind)
  • I overheard one guy who gets about 10-20 DMs per day from his social media accounts
  • Another guy is in real estate who makes $20,000 per deal he gets done, and aims for 1 deal every week
  • One conversation I overheard went, *stock charts open on laptop* “heyy bro guess what’s today?” “what?” *excited* “non-farm payrollsssss” I just started laughing 😂 I don’t know that I’ve ever heard an exchange like that in my life.
  • Another guy talked about his website and the subscription platform he has integrated into it for his audience
  • Oh and I overheard one girl recording her intro video to her OnlyFans account. THAT was a good one 😂

I definitely feel like a small big pond here… which is exactly what I need.

The Outputs 💻📈

I started off doing some niche identification, focused on who I might be able to help and what problems that I might be able to solve.

In that process I had an idea…

See, a lot of travel bloggers will list a whole bunch of recommendations and locations in their posts, but I always end up having to re-search for or copy and paste those locations back into my Google Maps to visualize where they are and save them for later.

So I did some research, chatted with ChatGPT a whole bunch, and figured out some next steps.

A very summarized version of this week’s progress:

  • Identified a hypothesized niched value proposition for a specific target customer.
  • Identified a possible solution.
  • Did market research looking at all the existing tools and solutions.
  • Identified 2 main core competitors.
  • Started compiling a list of people to reach out to (51 so far).
  • Started emailing people (7 so far).

It’s felt quite good to be able to identify a target customer to the point where I can know where they exist on the internet and even get an email or Instagram account I can actually reach out to.

Right now our focus is on validating the core pain point and seeing if there’s enough of a pain or value-add that’s worth pursuing.

I’ve left it vague so you don’t steal my idea because I’d rather talk about data and action than ideas.

What’s Next?

Don’t expect a whole lot of travels and new places 😂

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