Bali Diaries - 0 - Before the journey
It all started in January 2016 in Florianopolis, Brazil.
I was there with a bunch of friends having a really good time, we rented this crazy huge house with 5 bedrooms, 10 minutes away from the beach. We were just loving life, surfing every day, eating awesome food and meeting local people.
One of us was actually working a few hours here and there for a project back in London. The idea came naturally, can we actually pull this off? Rent a villa in a paradise island, and work from there for few months?
We discussed about it enthusiastically, dreaming about where we could go, practicalities, time difference with Europe, would it be paid work or personal project, and all of that. But then, like all those holiday dreams, it died in the moment we touched down in grey London.
...but not for everyone.
That was it, I wanted to move to paradise. Not forever, just few months. Not for holiday, I wanted to try and live a ‘normal’ life in a tropical island. Another of the guys from the Brazil trip was totally sold as well and he suggested Bali as our destination. Good enough for me, paradise island in south east Asia, quite cheap to live there, civilised, good internet, good surf, good life. That was my dream since forever. Timeline: one year from now.
You need to understand that my tolerance for cold and rain is really low, and I could easily spend 365 days a year wearing just flip flops and a pair of shorts. You may ask, what the hell re you doing in London then? Well that’s a really good question that I’m asking myself quite a lot lately.
Anyway back to the main story. So how do you go and live in a paradise island? I had two main issues I needed to solve: time and money. My full time job wouldn’t allow me to take a long break, and I needed enough money to go there and survive for a bit. And the solution for both of them was the same, resign and start to work as a freelance developer.
If you are decent developer in London, you can land a good contract and get payed a pretty damn high daily rate. And that’s exactly what I did. Fast forward 6 weeks and I was working as an iOS developer for Canon.
Meanwhile me and my trip partner started to talk about possible ideas for start-ups, lot of ideas passed by, nothing sticks around, but we never gave up trying. I mean we had a destination, a rough plan on how to go there and how long to stay, now we needed to find something to do while we were there... beside enjoying life.
Probably my biggest passion is food and cooking, so I started to investigate ideas around the topic. I went around and around, tried to validate a few ideas with people around me, but still nothing.
Then I approached the problem from a different angle, the problem was not what to build, the problem was to identify the problem I wanted to solve. So I started to look at my habits, and at my flat mates habits, and my girlfriend (at the time) habits. Everyone faced the same problem, when you go home after work, the question that come to mind is always the same, what am I gonna eat tonight? I went through one million possible ideas but nothing seemed to work. But one thing all of those ideas had in common was that I needed loads of recipes.
So I started to write down the recipes I was cooking every night, and take pictures of them. At first with my phone, then with a compact Canon camera, and finally with a DSLR... that’s the ‘issue’ to work for a company that makes cameras, you end up buying a good camera and slowly making photography one of your passions.
Meanwhile our trip idea start to spread and the reactions we were receiving were quite mixed. Faces looking at you like you are totally mad; people smiling in a condiscending way ‘suuuuuuure you are going to Bali’; others with the usual ‘I’d love to but....’; someone else with admiration; and a small handful look inside of you, ask if you are serious about it, and say ‘ok I’m coming’.
By September 2016 the group of people is defined: we are gonna be 3 couples, 6 people. We bought the flight tickets, our arrival date in Bali would be the 1st of March 2017 and we would stay for exactly 2 months. Mainly cause the visa is maximum 60 days. I would then fly to Vietnam after that and come back to Europe the 17th of May. After a quick search we found 2 places we would stay, one month in Balangan, the second month in Canggu.
S**t was real now, no going back.
The last few months passed by very quickly, a lot of preparation on finding the right gears, backpack, clothes, insurance, vaccines, and all of those things you freak out about for your first long trip in a totally alien environment. You start to read weird stuff about criminality, friends of friends have been there and they have been robbed, or someone else was beaten up, car accidents, diseases. All the worst case scenarios were starting to pop in our heads.
Well let me give you a sneak peek of my future posts: NOTHING bad happened to us, 6 people for 2 long months, we have been absolutely fine, and I can assure you, Balinese people are absolutely innocuous, way more peaceful than most Europeans. Just use your head and be smart... don’t drive your scooter blind drunk without an helmet please.
But I was still without an actual plan on what to do in Bali. I was slowly building a personal database of recipes. I was slowly progressing with my camera. But still nothing on my project.
Then one of the guys come to me with an idea, why don’t you build a community of people passionate about food as you are, something like Medium. Boom that was it, that was the seminal idea behind Dispensa, a portal for people to publish and share their recipes and talk about food.
Well if you are wondering, I did build it, just go to http://www.dispensa.recipes and if you are passionate about food as much as I am, create an account and start to publish your recipes, I’m desperately looking for collaborators.
So that’s it. The 28th of February 2017 I left left my flat in central London with a backpacks, flew for 16 hours to Singapore where I spent one night. And the 1st of March I landed in Bali.