-Where were you born?
I was born in Melbourne, Australia.
-In which country and city are you living now?
I am living in the north of Bali, Indonesia.
-Are you living alone or with your family?
I am living here with my wife.
-How long have you been living in Indonesia?
I have been living here for about 2 years.
-What is your age?
I am 38.
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Indonesia?
I have been traveling to Indonesia for a number of years and after meeting my wife here, I decided to make my home here.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
Visas are never easy in Indonesia. To save yourself some effort you can use an agent, but their fees are several times the actual cost. It's possible to get any kind of visa yourself, but you will need to make several trips to the immigration office. If anything needs to be copied or sent of to Jakarta for approval, you need to do it yourself.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
I just had travel insurance when I arrived, which is easy enough to buy online.
-How do you make your living in Indonesia? Do you have any type of income generated?
My wife and I have a small hotel in Lovina. It's not easy running a business in Bali and you can't really expect to make a lot of money. The easygoing lifestyle however makes it worthwhile.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language? Please add your thoughts on local customs and whether it's important for expats to respect/observe local customs.
I am still learning and I agree that it is extremely important to learn the language of the country you are living in. It is absolutely important to follow and respect the local customs of the country you are living in. I see a few expats who think they can do want they want and not only is it disrespectful, it can land you in a lot of trouble.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.
I have lived most of my life overseas now, so I rarely feel "homesick". I feel that Indonesia now is my home. We live near the beach, so you can go swimming, snorkelling, fishing. I enjoy trying to find new places to visit that aren't listed in the guidebooks.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
I think our next big plan will be starting a family. More travel in Indonesia and in Asia.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
We bought our place after renting for the first couple of years. It's almost impossible to even give a ballpark figure of how much a property will cost. Foreigners cannot buy freehold property in Indonesia, so for most people they would be better to rent or lease their property.
-What is the cost of living in Indonesia?
The cost of living is typically lower than most western countries. The north of Bali tends to be cheaper also than the popular tourist areas in the south. The more you live like a local in your shopping habits, the cheaper it is to live. Imported alchohol and food is much more expensive than in my home country.
-What do you think about the locals?
I love the people here and I think for many foreigners it is one of the great things about living in Bali. Most people are very friendly and we have made many great friends here. Balinese tend to be quite welcoming to foreigners. The only one negative thing I can think of, is that they try to charge foreigners more.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Indonesia?
The positive aspects are the warm weather, beautiful scenery, friendly people and the culture. The negative aspect is probably the bureaucracy and the difficulty of finding information on the various laws and regulations.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Indonesia?
Bali is a great holiday destination but not an easy place to live permanently. The hassle with visas and the many restrictions foreigners have on buying property and owning a business, can make it difficult. The important thing is to take things slowly. If you want to start a business, it is a good idea to start small and build it up slowly. Don't rush into anything.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Indonesia?
Bali Expat Guide - http://www.baliexpat.com
Bali Expat Forum - http://balipod.com
Living in Indoneisa Forum - http://www.livinginindonesiaforum.org
Indonesia Expat - http://www.expat.or.id
Bali Blog - http://www.baliblog.com